Sunday, June 3, 2012

Thing Number Fifteen | 9:15AM

9:15AM and I’m already three groups into the workday.

Thursdays are my earliest days. The bell rings at Coombs (5th and 6th grade intermediate school) at 7:45AM and by 8AM I’m teaching an in-class lesson in the SDC. After that, I start pulling groups for speech therapy at half-hour intervals. By 9:15AM, I’m half-way through Group 3, an articulation, language, and fluency group.

Today was unusual because it’s the end of the school year, so there are more special events during the school day. J (lateral lisp, gliding of /r/, and misarticulation of voiced and voiceless “th”) usually comes to group with C (stuttering) and G (rapid rate, low volume, articulatory imprecision, and telegraphic productions), both of whom were at a music practice this morning. So J came by himself, which was fine. He’s a two-session kid (one group and one individual). I flip-flopped my lesson plans and would try to pick up C and G during J’s usual individual session.

I had pulled Syntaxercises—Adverbs and we were working on generating sentences, given an adverb. Even strong language kids seem to struggle with adverbs. “Nicely? She was very nicely to me today?” Yeah, adverbs—they’re a bit of a problem. But the actual target for J is moving his lips and mouth when speaking. He speaks through a perpetual smile (wide, narrow lips with minimal jaw movement) and, although that makes for a seemingly cheerful conversation, there are many phonemes in English that cannot be correctly produced with wide, narrow lips and minimal jaw movement. We’re working on over-exaggerated movements (tightly pursed lips for /p/ and /b/, wide open jaw for open vowels) in addition to remediating his specific articulation errors. If you ask J what he’s working on in speech, he’ll sigh and say, “Moving my mouth more.” Hopefully, he’ll say it with tightly pursed lips for all those /m/ sounds.

The photo was taken from my desk in my office at Coombs. I love my room at Coombs. It’s just big enough for a desk, a kidney table, a small rectangular table against the wall, two filing cabinets and a book shelf. That’s it and that’s all I need. You can see my materials in the bookshelf and part of the bulletin board my SLP-A put up. I don’t usually do bulletin boards. Snacks are on the table, kids get pretzels or goldfish crackers at the end of a session if they’ve done a good job.

You can’t see it, but at 9:15AM I’m wearing a navy blue and cream diagonally-striped skirt with a navy blue sleeveless shell. I’ve got a fitted jean jacket on, too, because I don’t like to go sleeveless at work and because a jean jacket adds just enough edge to keep me from looking dowdy. I’m wearing dressier clothes because the kids at Coombs are older and I won’t be crawling around on the floor. Also, I like to set an example of professional dress and conduct with this population.

At 9:15AM, I’m already three groups into an eleven-group workday.

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