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Lately with various kids I have been working with, I have been thinking less about what I am teaching, and rather how I am teaching it.

First off, before I jump on my soap box, this is not to say that what you are teaching is not important.  I have suggested in earlier posts that I do think there are better ways of teaching a child the sounds in the English sound system that others (e.g., teach later developing sounds rather than earlier developing sounds).

On the other hand, there are somethings like colors or basic concepts where I think, Wait, what am I doing? Not as in, Why am I teaching this? But rather, Why am I sitting here drilling them on this stuff? Isn’t this how they are being taught in the classroom?  The point is, I have the luxury of sitting down with him or her one-on-one. Shouldn’t I take advantage of that? Shouldn’t I be looking at how my patient learns best and try to teach them, if at all possible, through the method that works best for them?

Too often lately, I’m finding myself strapping them into a chair and showing them flashcard after flashcard. While increased number of repetitions of a skill is obviously part of how they learn (since they haven’t learned whatever skill after the same number of repetitions a typical child is exposed to), but shouldn’t I be incorporating how they learn into my skilled intervention as well? Where’s the creativity I had in grad school? (Or maybe that’s just the graduation goggles talking.)

A lot of my kids now seem to be tactile/motor learners. Time to bring out the scavenger hunts! The manipulatives! The crafts!  This giant mess for me to clean up between patients somehow…. (Sounds like a future blog post for how I will manage the chaos.)

Well, at least in baby steps. I can’t get all that together in one night. But it is something I need to be mindful of and begin to incorporate into my therapy.

What about you guys? How do you incorporate your patients’ learning styles into your therapy? How do you figure out their learning style? What type of activities do you do to incorporate these different learning styles?

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Having just got off the phone speaking to a human resources representative, I feel I should take a moment to nail home an important point about phone calls. (Which actually one of the SLPs at my hospital internship tried to drill into me weeks ago.  You can lead a horse to water, I guess….)

Sell yourself.

I completely just failed at that.  Reflecting on the conversation I just had, the rep was giving me plenty of opportunities for me to extol my virtues and I did not take the opportunity.

The plan? I’m going to write down what I consider the highlights of my resume; what I think makes me a unique candidate.  I am going to have this list handy so I can throw in as many as possible during my conversation with an HR rep, or leave as many as I think I can in a message.  The one near the top of my list?  That I am looking for a CFY.  If it turns out the job I just applied for is not open for CFYs, there may be a CFY position available that they haven’t posted yet and that they can tell me about.

Lesson learned.

So Friday was my three-quarters meeting (THREE QUARTERS!) and it went something like this.

CI:  So this is last 3 weeks of your internship.  On Monday, it’s all you.  You’re going to be a like a clinician starting your first job.  I’m just in the background if you have questions.

Me:  …. (Imagine a deer-in-headlights look)

CI:  Okay?

Me:  Um, sure!  Great!

And so it begins.  I have been running around crazy working on 1) the thesis 2) the job search (when I feel like I have it down…or at least most of it down, I will write up some tips.  I feel like I’ve made a million mistakes so that might be a loooong post.) and 3) trying to be an AWESOME independent clinician. (Note: This is always an ongoing process.)

Not much else to report on that I can think of…but if any readers wants me to write a post about some aspect of my internship experiences, post a comment and I will do my best.  Otherwise, you’ll have to wait for me to have a spare area of brain cells to sit and think about what I have written about and what I think might be interesting to write about.

  1. Recognize I get nervous/anxious in places with a lot of people and neutralize panic by realizing I only have to actually talk to maybe 3 or 4 people in the room/area (my client, the client’s nurse, and client’s physician).
  2. BE ASSERTIVE.  (I’m going to get this tattooed somewhere and maybe I will always, consistently be assertive.)
  3. Just say my plan for the client with confidence.  I might be wrong (been there before!), but I look stupid when I was right but said it without confidence.
  4. Fake the confidence! Maybe a few years from now (hahaha) I’ll actually feel it.
  5. STOP looking at CI. JUST STOP.  Give myself a moment to think about it.  The answer might actually come.
  6. Think about what I am going to say to the doctors and then say it.  (Think ‘A’ section!)  Organize my thoughts.

This weekend, I need to:

  1. Edit my thesis.
  2. Re-write and edit the Discussion section of thesis so it’s ready to turn in on Monday.
  3. Edit my write-up of my externship experiences so I can email it on Monday.
  4. Fill out the stupid paperwork for the stupid review board.
  5. Figure out the number for and plan what I’m going to say when I call RIC.
  6. Identify new approach for contacting / impressing the places I have applied for jobs and will apply for jobs.
  7. Game plan for the final 30 days of my internship to ensure I am AWESOME and ASSERTIVE (the later probably leading to the success of the former.)
  8. Take a hike on the south trail.
  9. Soak up the sun.

And…go!

Have I mentioned I love the brain?  Because I love the brain.  Love it in a way that probably disturbs other people who don’t love the brain.  More accurately, I love cognition, an important part of which is understanding the neuroanatomy of the brain.  That’s why I love aphasia and cognitive-linguistic disorders:  because they involve the brain.  (Reason #639 why I SLP.)

Some exciting developments in the past 48 hours that relate to my love of the brain:

  1. I have a case presentation topic and it has to do with aphasia!  (I thought for sure it would be swallowing because, well, we do a lot of swallowing.)
  2. I got to spend a wonderful half an hour with a fabulously generous-with-his-time neurologist who gave me a crash course in reading the brain MRIs and also some tips on how to navigate the program that stores the images on the computer here.
  3. I saw Awesome Neurologist again while waiting for my ride home and he offered to take me down to radioneurology to learn more about brain imaging and that they all love to teach about the brain.  I told him I would absolutely take him up on that offer.

The reason why the dogs are barking in your neighborhood?  Is because of the high-pitched squealing noise I keep making.  I have got to make sure I hunt Awesome Neurologist down to follow-up on this.

I lucked into this.  (I am feeling very lucky right now.)  For those of you interested in the brain, I highly encourage you to hunt down your nearest neurologist or radioneurologist or your own SLP if they are knowledgeable about it (brains and MRIs aren’t my CIs thing) and ask if they can find some time to show you the ropes with MRIs.  So.  Awesome.

So, I finally got to spend a day in the language preschool.  It was awesome.  It’s days like these where I think, “Why do I not want to work with children?”  And then I remember I could not possibly do it day after day, week after week.  I like my adorableness fixes in quick shots!

This is actually the second language preschool I have had the opportunity to participate in, so it was interesting to compare and contrast.  For example, there were not clinicians for every child to stalk follow around and work language and articulation goals into each child’s every play moment.  However, there was a circle time that was similarly enriched with some sort of language activity.  Today, that activity happened to be rhyming.  Another similarity was that the children were encouraged to use as complete and grammatically correct sentences as was appropriate for their current level of development.  My favorite aspect of the preschool I visited today was that they cooked their snack, which is something they do pretty frequently.  I think it provides a good, hands-on activity, plus the opportunity to practice sequencing and following simple commands.  In the preschool at my grad school, I wish we had more more cooking activities!  The kids love it and it can be such a language-rich activity.

All in all, I had a fabulous time.  The two groups of kids in the preschool (the morning class and afternoon class) were a friendly bunch and pretty much assimilated me right off the bat, so I got to participate and interact with the children quite a bit.

Coming up:  final day of therapy, final day of evals, Praxis II, writing the thesis, getting read to leave for my hospital externship, really starting to hit those job applications.  I think the reason why my brain feels like it wants to explode is because my brain somehow thinks I should get these all done in the next week.  Not happening.  Now if only I can convince the panicked part of my brain to believe that.

Ever since I posted explaining the kinds of games my supervisor frequently uses, I’ve been going crazy preparing some of my own.  I had really been enjoying the time off from making materials, but suddenly, the seriousness of preparing for the many sessions I am now leading hit me.  And I aim to be a pretty awesome intern, not a terrible one, so off I went, prepping like mad for my sessions and finding stuff to print and color for activities.

This weekend, I have made matching frogs, colored sequencing cards, made simple commands cards, created a simple rhyme PowerPoint, and printed about four other activities that need to be colored and cut (I plan to color the umbrellas today).  Whew!  I really need to start laminating this stuff.

I secretly think I’m trying to channel the nervous energy I feel about 1) my thesis (I have no idea where it’s going right now), 2) getting ready for my hospital externship.  My hospital is out-of-state, and while I now have a place to live (a major victory!) I’m trying to get everything else in order for it although they have yet to finalize the contact (I try not to think about this), and 3) the PRAXIS II.  I went ahead a scheduled it for March because I want to get it done before I leave for my hospital externship and who knows where I’ll be going when I get back.  (Hopefully I will have a job!)  I’m now trying to force my brain back into study mode, when it quite happily went on no-study mode for Christmas break and externs.  Whoops.

I will take this moment to generate a To Do list for next week.  (I’ve also stopped consistently making a To Do list since going on extern.  This is probably another reason I feel stressed when there’s actually not a lot to accomplish.)

To Do:

  • E-mail my thesis advisor
  • E-mail my future landlady
  • Buy a plane ticket (???  I keep waffling on this)
  • Laminate all finished materials
  • Continue typing up school notes
  • Continue studying for PRAXIS II
  • Re-post my desk as For Sale
  • Clean and re-organize my room (losing furniture really increases the chaos)

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