Developmentally Speaking – Metro Atlanta Pediatric Speech Pathology Services

Introducing…

Developmentally Speaking, LLC

Developmentally Speaking is a new speech pathology private practice, utilizing a developmental approach to language acquisition and remediation. We are conveniently located near Old Fourth Ward, Inman Park, Cabbagetown, Reynoldstown, Grant Park, Candler Park, Virginia Highland, Morningside, and Piedmont Park. Click the Services tab to learn more about what we provide.

We are currently taking new clients and would love to talk more with you about your needs in a speech-language pathologist.

Thank you!

-Christina

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School update

Well, an entire month of school has gone by already. THAT is hard to believe! It’s been so great to see all of the smiling, returning faces and get to know the new faces. We have such a broad spectrum of personalities and ideas within both the student body and the staff, it makes every day interesting! I am currently kicked out of my office due to construction. That makes things a bit interesting but everyone is being so flexible and letting me pull kids in other spaces that they normally use, so that helps alot!

So with the new year comes new ideas, right? One of the things that I love about working in the schools is that summer break (not just for the pools, vacation, and time off!) and the inevitable return to school in the fall provides and built in “reset” button and a wonderful refresher. Summer is a great time to read up on techniques and strategies that you would not otherwise take the time for during the school year. I love the feeling of excitement that the kids have each day when they come to school. I love the fact that we get to experience each of them finding that “sense of wonder” through learning. At this point in the school year, the kids are eager and ready for whatever you bring with you and I am taking full advantage of that!  A few of the things that I am going to try more of this year are:

  • Lindamood-Bell’s Visualizing and Verbalizing – I tried this a few years back right after I went to the training in Orlando. At the time, I thought that many of our students weren’t ready for it. In hindsight, I think that it was possibly more that I wasn’t ready to figure out how to incorporate it into the DIR/Floortime philosophy and framework. Now that I have a few years of that under my belt, I am ready to give it another try and see how our students react. So far, I am seeing a huge difference from when I first tried it out.
  • Developing a framework for my speech/language practice, specifically within the framework of DIR/Floortime model. Obviously, I have been doing this a few years so I understand how and where speech/language fit into the levels but at this point, that is all in my head. I haven’t yet read a good book that lays out a good speech/language program within this model. Ideally, what I would like to do is have a database of targets and concepts that a student should acquire within each developmental level. While that feels like somewhat of a daunting task, I think it will help tremendously in choosing goals for each individual student. This may make a large appearance on this blog!!

I’m hoping that these goals aren’t too lofty (the second is what I’m worried about!) because I hate to have to go back on what I said I was going to do! Anyone else have new or adapted ideas on how to better address your student’s needs?

Professional Learning Networks – the evolution

As I embark on my sixth school year since graduating with a Master’s degree in speech-language pathology, I have become increasingly comfortable doing what I do. However, I get nervous that I am missing out on something new in the profession without having consistent SLP supervision and feedback. Specifically, I have never worked closely with another speech pathologist within any of my school settings. While it is nice to do your own thing and make your own way, it can get a bit lonely (professionally) and it’s very easy to feel stagnant and get into ruts in your practice and thinking.  Don’t get me wrong, I work with some amazing professionals (OT, counselors, floortime therapists, etc), but I am careful to not lose focus on what my specific profession is.  So how do I stay current and up to date in the world of speech-language pathology?

Enter Professional Learning Networks (PLNs)…

Traditionally, my understanding of PLNs is a group of professionals who meet to discuss ideas and issues within practices.  These groups meet as frequently or as not so frequently as they have time for.  And there is the significant piece for me – “have time for.”  I would love to say that I am super motivated to make a group work.  And yes, part of me is.  However, I am one of those people who has to be VERY careful about overcomitting herself.  And at this point, I have plenty of things going on outside of work.

So where does that leave me…

This is 2011.  People carry their smartphones everywhere, wifi is prolific, iPads have become common in education. I think most schools have begun (or continued) a conversation about the place of technology and tech devices (and if they aren’t, then they should be). Technology and internet competency have become an important part of education and therapeutic practice.  I have always been drawn to blogs.  I started with my friends’ family blogs and moved on to food blogs as an addiction.  Not long after that, I found a speech therapy blog (I can’t remember specifically which one) and began down a rabbit hole of SLP blogs that eventually led me to Twitter and the amazing #SLPeeps.  “Was this it?,” I thought, “Was this the answer to the PLNs of the future?” Maybe?  Maybe not…  I spent quite a long time just “admiring” the #SLPeeps from a distance before I really decided to jump in a make my own twitter handle.  So far, it seems like a great place to share ideas, discuss issues and give encouragement.  Isn’t that what a PLN is for?

So, I’m curious…what do you do to maintain a PLN?

Back to school, back to school…

Today is the last day of pre-planning.  The kids come back Monday.  I cannot believe how quickly the summer has gone by!  It seems like just yesterday that we were saying goodbye and looking forward to vacations and pools.  Well, vacations have been had, pools have been attended and lots of fun has been had by all.  It’s time to get back into the swing of things!  A few things that I have been thinking about this summer which I would like to incorporate into my practice this year:

  •  This article about pronouns and why autistic people often confuse them. Very interesting stuff. They say that this pronoun confusion is related to an impaired sense of self and subsequently an impaired view of the social world.
  • Lots of talk about gray matter in the brains of people with autism. Specifically,Lindamood Bell put out an article about recent research that shows that there are gray matter volume changes following specific reading interventions for children with dyslexia.

What both of these studies conclude is that gray matter can adapt given specific instruction, such as intense behavioral therapies.  Now…seeing as though I am a developmental, Floortime therapist, I am not always on board with strict behavioral techniques. However, the beauty of my approach to therapy is that I am SURE there is a way to get these same results using concepts from behavioral therapy while doing this in a Floortime way!  Stay tuned for updates on this throughout the year!

Make sure you have your pencils and rulers!  It’s time to go back to school!

HI!

Hello everyone!  Welcome to my blog!  I am a speech-language pathologist working in a DIR/Floortime elementary school in the south.  I wanted to start a blog not only to share ideas but also to bring some light to the developmental approach to speech and language therapy.

So, how did I get here?

Many things about that story are funny.  As a little history, I finished my undergraduate degree in the midwest and my graduate degree in New York City.  During those years, I was dead set on the fact that I would NOT be working in a school as a career.  I mean, yeah, I was good at working with adults right? I thought I was, my supervisors thought I was.  And those kids with their refusals and talking back… who needs that? Well, didn’t I know it all?? Throughout those years, I was also told that I was really good with kids (and secretly enjoyed working with them). Well through a bad experience at a hospital internship (and I mean BAD, like, quit the profession, bad) and subsequently a great experience at a children’s rehab clinic, I realized that working with kids may actually be in the cards for me. Meanwhile, my midwestern self also swore that I would never live in the south.  And that brings me to where I am now.  After graduation, I ended up moving down here for what was supposed to be a “short few months”.  Needless to say, five years later, I am still here AND working in a school with kids (did I mention married to a Southerner?).  Moral of the story?  Never say never.

I am hoping that this space will be a place to share ideas and research, network and blog about the spontaneous, wildly fun days that I have doing the job I have come to love!