Top Tips to Start the School Year Right

Top Tips from SLP for starting a new school year
Top Tips from SLP for starting a new school year

Top Tips from SLP for starting a new school year

It is officially ‘Back To School’ time. Some of you may have started back a couple of weeks ago, and some may be waiting for Labor Day, but in general any of us who either have kids in schools or work in them, it is time to get up, gear up, and get on with it.

Back at New Year’s I wrote a post that appeared on the News2You blog about starting the new year right by backing up your AAC users’ speech generating devices and printing out their pages to make sure they have a paper back-up copy of their vocabulary. You can find it here in the January 2016 Archive.

One take-away tip: “Assign someone to be responsible for backups to the system on an agreed-upon schedule.  This doesn’t need to mean connecting to a computer for a high-tech backup.  It can be as simple as making extra copies of the communication books, laminating them and storing them until needed.
Have a backup plan that includes a well-structured equally robust paper option with multiple copies and frequent electronic backups if appropriate.
Running a classroom or caseload with multiple AAC users can be a big undertaking.  But it doesn’t have to be a lot of work with the right strategies and a little planning.  Start 2016 off right:  Plan for AAC to work everywhere.”
I’ll amend that here to “Start the 2016-17 school year off right. Back. Up. Now.

I recently asked my fellow speech and language bloggers for some of their “Back to School Made Easy” tips for getting off on the right foot. Here’s what they had to offer you:

“I always leave a little goodie on their desk on the fist day of school saying I’m looking forward to seeing them in speech this year.
This year I’m doing small bags of popcorn saying, “Just popping by to say I’m excited to see you in speech soon!” Ashley Douglas Rossi

Collette Tovee, who is responsible for all the visual cues, reminders, schedules, & AAC for her program says she tries to get these things all set up before the kids start, so that things are ready to go from day 1.

“When it is a new caseload, I make a quick master list with the students name, grade, teacher, area targeted, duration and frequency. Once I have that, It helps me plan my schedule later and it also gives me direction when I go around to the classes to determine additional needs students may have that I can support their teacher with ahead of time.” Tamatha Cauckwell Fishler

“my plans this year are to prepare a new progress note from the summer sessions I held this year for the students/parents to share with their school based SLP. I hope it will be nice for them to know what we’ve been working on all summer.”
Ashley Gibson Bonkofsky

Ashley also suggests making a calendar for the upcoming year with all of the IEP and evaluation dates, so that she can start planing early.

Just like Tami and Ashley, Jennifer Bradley likes to make spreadsheets and lists to help her plan her schedule and up-coming caseload events.

Linda from Looks Like Language says: “I use a master sheet of general goal areas with students’ names to see who has similar goals and figure out groups. Once scheduling is done, I like to make folders for each student with pre/post probes to determine their current functioning levels. Then I get out a few emergency worksheets/activities for each goal area and place them in the folders so I have something quick to grab whenever it is needed.”

If you have some tips for getting the school year off to a smooth start, we’d love to hear them. Leave us a comment below.
Thanks for reading, and….Keep on Talking!

kids learn language

kids learn language


About Susan Berkowitz
I have been a SLP for more than 35 years, working predominantly with nonverbal children, children with autism, but also with children with significant language disabilities. I own a private practice where I primarily perform AAC evaluations and do consultation, staff training, workshops. I also own Language Learning Apps, LLC, and sell curriculum materials on TPT