What do you do if you are an SLP but you can't talk?!
Working with kids in a public school, I knew it would only be a matter of time before I caught something. This year, it took five weeks. I got a little cold on Wednesday and by Thursday morning my voice was GONE. I put myself on vocal rest. I didn't feel bad enough to take a sick day. I had lots to do at work. I just couldn't talk!
But what about therapy? What about meetings? How does a school based SLP go about her day and do her job when she can't talk?
It caught me by surprise. I hadn't been talking too much. I wasn't that sick. I don't usually get so hoarse with a cold. So I had to scrap the lesson plans for the day and come up with something I could do with the kids that didn't involve much talking but still targeted their objectives.
While I was thinking of what to do, I wrote this message on my white board:
"Oh No! Mrs. Avren lost her voice! We will be doing a quiet craft today"
I pulled out my stack of magazines, some scissors, glue, and construction paper. I decided I would have students cut out pictures of things that had their speech sound and take their projects home for weekend speech sound practice with their parents.
I modified the activity slightly for the students with language goals. Some of them wrote down adjectives to describe their pictures. Some of them said a sentence about each picture using past tense verbs. My fluency students made sentences about each picture using easy onset.
(note: The students that just couldn't do this activity were penciled in for make-up sessions next week)
I quickly typed up a little cover sheet and made an example for the kids to look at:
Fortunately, I had just purchased a bunch of little dry erase boards at the Target dollar spot! I carried one of these around all day to communicate. (I was going to download an AAC device to my iPad and use it just for fun but I didn't have time!)
However, many of my students cannot read. So, I used a lot of nonverbal communication as well. :)
Overall, things went pretty smoothly! The kids loved the craft.
I did have two IEP meetings, but I typed up a bunch of information before hand for the general education teacher to say for me as we discussed speech present levels and goals.
I drank tea with honey throughout the day and plan on getting a lot of rest this weekend!