Substitute SLP

blogEntryThumbnailFor the past month, I was a substitute SLP at a local speech clinic in San Diego, CA. I covered for a couple clinicians while they were out. It was interesting because I never substituted like that, plus I was asked to provide therapy to different age groups and do it in a private practice setting. One of the age groups is two-year-olds.

It had been a couple years since I provided therapy to two-year-olds, and even then, I only worked with them for a year during my six years as an SLP employee of a school district. Prior to that, I received some experience with two-year-olds during grad school, but I usually gravitated to working with older children. So, I felt the need to prepare for the little guys.

After reviewing goals, I realized that I needed to practice signs and phrases appropriate for fun activities. I went to YouTube almost immediately to search for child-friendly ASL signs, and discovered great video demos from a woman with a business called My Smart Hands: The real-life and animated videos reminded me of signs for finished and fish, but also taught me signs for farm and songs like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Viewing the signing videos led me to thinking about activities I would do, and what I would say during the activities.

During the speech sessions, I targeted signs in activities with toys, songs, and books as I sat on my cushion with the child nearby on the ground. I also found myself modeling words with VC (Vowel-Consonant e.g., “up”), CV (Consonant-Vowel e.g., “go”), and CVC (Consonant-Vowel-Consonant e.g., “pig”) combinations in 1-3 word utterances. It all came back to me as I demonstrated self-talk (talking about what I was doing) and parallel-talk (talking about what the child was doing) strategies to facilitate communication. Despite occasional tantrums, it was very fun and rewarding therapy with the two-year-olds. I also liked sharing strategies with the parents during or after sessions, so they could enhance progress at home.

Preparing in advance for the sessions seemed to help me a lot. Overall, I enjoyed my substitute SLP stint that consisted of a fair amount of therapy with two-year-olds. I look forward to upcoming opportunities as a substitute SLP. Luckily enough, I was recently asked to cover again at the private practice in April.

Image source: YouTube page for My Smart Hands.
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