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Early Intervention Speech Therapy

Off to a Good Start: A Personal Reflection and Checklist

Published September 20, 2011 9:21 AM by Stephanie Bruno-Dowling

How is your school year going so far?

The past 2 years have been very challenging for me with regards to organization. Early in 2010, I switched jobs after returning from maternity leave. When I moved into my current position in February, not only was it the middle of the school year, but the caseload was hefty. I inherited a group of about 40 little ones.

Later that year in September and October, I was suffering with severe carpal tunnel in my dominant hand, which significantly hindered my typing and writing abilities. Most of last year I felt as though I was always a step or two behind, trying to catch up on paperwork and therapy lesson planning.

Needless to say, as the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year approached, I made a promise to myself that this year would be different! This year, I would be organized and on top of my game. I have learned through years of experience that although it is never too late to start fresh and create a new beginning, it is much easier to simply begin on the right foot and move forward steadily right out of the gate.

So, over the last three weeks I have worked hard to lay a strong foundation for this school year. Here is a checklist I created when school began and have slowly chipped away so that now I am into therapy mode and things are moving along nicely:

  • Create a realistic schedule that works!
  • Contact all parents, especially new ones to introduce myself!
  • Read over all IEPs and write goals on my data sheets!
  • Observe and informally assess all the new children!
  • Clean out and put away folders of all the children who graduated!
  • Create new folders for all my new children!
  • Consult with colleagues -- talk with the teachers about their schedules, collaborate and coordinate with other therapists -- OT and PT!
  • Put time aside each week for testing and report writing and drafting IEPs!
  • Put time aside each week to plan for upcoming therapy sessions!

Believe it or not, it is actually working! Taking the extra time to pay attention to little details and really create an effective system that works for me and my caseload, is making all the difference and helping this school year to look extra bright!

Join me over the next few weeks as I share some fun "apple" based lesson plans for 3-5 year olds. I have begun co-treating more with our OT and we have some dynamic therapy sessions planned!

3 comments

Are you ready for the first day of school? Do you have all your ducks in a row, T’s crossed and I’s dotted?

September 3, 2013 5:27 PM

It's tough to be prepared for the unexpected. I'm glad to hear you finally feel like things are coming together....hang in there, make your to do list and try to check off a few tasks each day. Just take it one day at a time....:)

stephanie dowling, blog author September 24, 2011 9:57 PM

I need to make that kind of list.  My school year started off with a bang--make that a flood. 10 minutes after the preschool classes arrived a pipe burst and flooded our floor (basement of a church -our IU prek inhabit that space).  What followed was mass chaos, a horrid smell (old old carpet) causing classes to be cancelled a week later while the powers that be decided whether to move us or replace the carpet.

I finally feel like I am "starting" the school year.

But all the chaos caused my limited organization to go backwards...

Lisa September 23, 2011 7:50 PM

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About this Blog


    Stephanie Bruno Dowling, M.S. CCC-SLP
    Occupation: Speech-Language Pathologist
    Setting: Early Intervention in Delaware County, PA
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