A School-Based SLP's Start to the Year
Are you a school based SLP about to start the new year off? This is my 9th year to do this and I wanted to share what my first month & 1/2 of the year looks like.
Work week before students arrive:
This week I get all of my logs/data collection paperwork ready to go.I keep a binder with all student IEPs and I make sure it is updated. By this time we have received some new students (from registration) and I make sure all of those records have been requested.
I use a specific form and calendar that I created after I was audited my first year. I type the students' goals on the top and then I fill it out by hand during each session. I have tried other methods of documenting daily session notes but have failed miserably. I absolutely love my form and it also works well with Medicaid billing.
I also try to meet with all of my students' teachers on the Autism Spectrum and discuss strategies and go over their IEP/accommodations (I am on the district Autism Team). I find it very beneficial to meet face to face and discuss things that work, student interests, and ideas for their classroom. I collect their classroom schedules so I can get started making visual schedules if needed for the student.
1st week of school:
I do not see students the first week of school. This is specified in each of their IEP documents (direct services begin the 2nd week of school). I use the first week of school for indirect services and scheduling.
The first day of school I typically will check to see if any new speech therapy students have enrolled (our office asks all parents who register if their children have any special education services). I also like to walk through breakfast and lunch and say hi to the students. I really want to ask the secretary for the class rosters and schedules on the first day, but I have learned they really don't get finalized until later in the week (sometimes even the second week). What I can do is get the each grade level's general schedules (PE, Lunch, Music, Recess, etc..).
2nd day of school: First Draft of my schedule: The only thing I can do with my schedule this first week is to schedule blocks for the different grade levels. So my first draft schedule looks something like this:
Visual schedules: One thing I get started on is making my visual schedules for my students on the Autism Spectrum. Typically I have them from the previous teacher that I just adapt with their new schedule for the new teacher. I am on the Autism Team for my district so this is something I do every year. I usually go into the classrooms and put them up too. I will meet with students to go over their new schedules in their classrooms the first week of school. I also get my session schedules prepped too (read about why I use sessions schedules here and download a FREE schedule)
By Thursday, I ask the office for class rosters and make my first tentative schedule with student names (remember I already made a draft schedule with the time blocks for each grade level, this should make it easier for you to plug in student names). When I get this done, I send out an email to the teachers and give them each student's time.
Friday, I adjust the schedule based on teacher feedback from the day before and hope for the best! LOL I usually keep editing my schedule for the first month of the school year.
2nd week of school
I usually do a fun "get to know you" activity for the first day of speech therapy. It is a good way to collect informal data and get the students used to their new speech groups. I have an awesome packet called "Getting to Know you in Speech Therapy" that I love using for this purpose (with 1st grade and up). For my prek/k students, I like using "My Favorites" boards and a game called "Roll N Play" to start things off with.
3rd week of school
This week I really focus on collecting baseline data and see where all my students are skill wise. I have used a variety of progress monitoring tools. The ones I recommend are by Natalie Snyders and SLP Tool Kit.
4th week of school
This is where I start my thematic therapy lessons. Please see my blog post that outlines how I plan therapy with themes.
I list theme ideas and also link to some of my favorite resources and crafts!
Do you have any questions or tips for me for how you start your year off? Leave me a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!