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"Be nice to your secretaries and custodians."

That's my advice to every CF and grad student I've supervised.

It may seem weird. They are probably expecting pearls of wisdom about working with mixed groups, how to implement behavior management, or encouragement or affirmation.

And I  just toss out those words - "Be nice to your secretaries and custodians."

They are the words my own mother told me 23 years ago. They've held true.

Today, I'm focusing on the unsung heroes in schools - the custodians. They clean for not very much money. And they clean yucky stuff. That alone is enough to boost them up on the pedestal. They will do so much more for you. Last year, a glass-framed picture above my chalkboard fell to the floor. I don't know how. It was up when I left in the afternoon and then laying shattered on the floor when I returned the next morning. I went to borrow a vacuum. The custodian wouldn't give me her closet keys - instead, she left her breakfast post to vacuum for me. And when I forgot to take the frame home to try to fix it, another custodian fixed it for me and hung it back up. Custodians have our backs.
Here are 5 tips that don't cost anything and go a long way in establishing a relationship.

1) Learn your custodians' names

Say hello and good-bye with their names. Say "thank you" with their names. It's common courtesy, but it is so appreciated.

2) Show interest in the custodians

If I have their children or grandchildren, that's a powerful common bond. And it seems to mean a lot when I ask about their children who are older and are in secondary or even graduates.

3) Place the trashcan next to the door

If I have to set it closer to the other side of the room for an activity, I try to remember to move it back before trash pick-up. Seriously, they are emptying so many trashcans. I can try to make it a little easier for them.

4) Show the custodians respect in front of students

Point out how we need to use the rugs to clean our shoes so we can help keep the floors clean. Teach students the names of custodians as part of back-to-school or vocabulary activities. Say hello to the custodians in the hallways.

5) Share with the custodians

For example, I don't keep play-dough over the summer because it gets hot and melty. Instead, I offer it the custodians, who are usually more than willing to take it to their children and grandchildren. I learned sharing the hard way when I threw away an empty gift basket. I didn't think anything about it. The next day, the custodian approached me shyly with the basket and asked if she could have it. Now, after cleaning out my room at the end of the year, I keep a stash and give first dibs to the custodians before putting it in the "share pile."


If you work in a school, you know what I mean. If you are new, follow this rule. No questions. Even if you go to school when no one is there, you will be tracked down and become the subject of an email sent to the whole school. Even worse, you'll be on the custodians' bad list. You really don't want that.

And now, here's some kindness for you from the Frenzied SLPs! We are sharing kindness this month the way we know best! We have collaborated to create FREE materials for use with your students centered around a kindness theme. Target a variety of speech and language skills with these products!

Pronouns, Places and Possessives: Kindness focuses on friendships and working together in the classroom while also targeting pronouns, prepositions, and possessive /s/.
Check out The Frenzied SLPs Sharing Kindness Blog Hop for more freebies by starting at Talkin' with Twang.

 The Frenzied SLPs Kindness Blog Hop

To continue with the hop, click below to go to Speech Sprouts.

We graciously thank you for downloading and using these materials with your students/clients. If you would be so kind, please leave feedback in our TPT stores if you find a few spare moments!
SLP Commitments. They can be so overwhelming. IEPs, testing, therapy, supervision - the list goes on and on. And between the demands of my district, my schools, ASHA, my state requirements, and my own personal standards, I could be exhausted - and it's only January...

This year, I commit to NOT STRIVING FOR BALANCE. Huh? No balance? All work? Not exactly.

I've determined that balance does NOT exist. How can I work towards balance if I don't know what my end result should be?

I will follow all of the guidelines to the best of my ability. I will keep students and their needs first. I will do my best to make all timelines. I will strive to serve, treat, and comply. To clarify, I have an experienced and wonderful licensed assistant. My caseload is more than some of yours, less than others. It doesn't matter because it's what I'm assigned. And it's enough that I can roughly follow 8 hours of work, with some days being more. I refuse to take work home - I'll stay later at school - because home is home.

I'm not a perfect SLP, wife, mom or daughter or person. I can't be. I can try my best to live out this life God has given me. For me, life is not perfect balance. It's more real, some things happening more than others at different times. Instead of striving for balance, I'm going with God's will for my life. He's a lot smarter than me.

I can hear the bells.... 

The Christmas break school bells that is!

I must say, I LOVE this time of year! I love the excitement, activities and everything December entails. Over the past few weeks, my PreK team has been very busy little elves. To celebrate all of their hard work, I've gathered some goodies that I know they'll love. On Black Friday, Amy, Laura & I went shopping at Bath & Body Works. They had a buy 3 get 3 free special going on that made our teacher hearts very happy! Needless to say, we filled up several bags. 

I plan on giving my team, office staff and janitors Christmas scented soap with a very cute tag attached. The best part is.... I'm sharing to tag with you! Just click the image below to download this freebie: 

We have also put our ENTIRE store on SALE for two days! Head on over to our neck of the TPT woods to check out some great deals!

 Click on our logo to go to our store: 

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind and I am definitely running on caffeine and Christmas spirit. Stay strong my friends! The break is almost here!!!

When your coworkers are your friends, you like to treat them extra special at Christmas.

This year Laura, Lisa and I quickly dashed over to Bath & Body Works amazing buy 3, get 3 free sale on Black Friday.

We scored BIG time.

If Mint equals Joy for you, click here to download the tag.

Merry Christmas to All!

The Frenzied SLPs are here to talk about work relationships. I've had many wonderful licensed assistants who I've learned a lot from. Here are 5 tips in working successfully with licensed assistants.
5 Tips for Supervising Licensed Assistants in Speech and Language Therapy by All Y'all Need

1. Learn their story

When first meeting a licensed assistant, keep the focus on THEM. What is their goal in working as a licensed assistant? I've had some who wanted to make sure the SLP field was for them before grad school and some who are happy being a licensed assistant because they enjoy the therapy. How did they end up in this field? What is their experience and what do they hope to accomplish for your district or practice? What are their areas of strengths and interests and what do they need to learn more about?

I always share my story, too. I received therapy from a young age until 4th grade (when that lingering /r/ finally popped in), went to college, worked in journalism, then got jealous of the school breaks that my sister, mom, and aunts had, so I went back to grad school and became an SLP in the schools. I wouldn't recommend going into a field for just that purpose, but it's my story, and it's worked for me.

2. Ask what they need in a supervisor

Sadly, it took until my most recent assistant for me to learn to ask that question. She is not new to the field, and someone who is just starting out may not know what they need. But this question gets them thinking.

In the case of my current assistant, she wanted to be able to bounce therapy ideas off me and get my input on what I think would work and would not. That one question has been the basis of defining our work relationship. I'm not making her into a version of me. I'm giving her guidance in being a great therapist for the students.

3. Communication

Ah, another area I've learned a lot in, and I'm still learning. Before annual IEP meetings, the two of us talk about what a student needs. The IEP happens - and I forget to print out the new goals and objectives for the assistant. It's a small step that means a lot to the assistants, but I get so caught up in finishing the paperwork, I often forget that step.

Learn how your licensed assistant responds to supervision. For example, I don't like words I perceive as shouting. I really don't like emails that go out to everyone to address a few people. You know - follow the dress code, show up to work on time... I always think it's me when it's not. So I try to communicate with assistants by asking questions and then giving them my perception. I need to know how they think before I give suggestions.

I also try to communicate what the next week will look like and where I'll be on different days.

4. Be willing to learn yourself

I often tell my assistants that I'm jealous of them. They get to do therapy all day. I don't. Through the process of supervising, I've learned that licensed assistants are passionate and creative about therapy activities that meet students' goals. I've learned about new books, different ways of behavior management, and all kinds of creative lessons.

5. Be their advocate

I really don't like the term "licensed assistant." In the school system, it implies "parapro." Our licensed assistants have to have 24 hours in communication disorders classes in college.

A few years ago, a teacher at the school I worked at became a licensed assistant. There were several teachers who then stopped by to ask how they could be my "aide." I explained the process, and it wasn't as simple as they had hoped.

I also make sure my principals and parents know the qualifications of a licensed assistant. In Texas, we have to send out a letter every year telling parents who will be providing services, and it's a good opportunity to outline the requirements and qualifications.

I have had a few parents question the ability of a licensed assistant to provide services. In most cases, the parents have later expressed appreciation that their child is receiving more consistent services, weekly homework, and that their child really likes the licensed assistant, the points I make when parents ask. At IEP meetings, my principals often stress the same points and are able to talk about how the arrangement has worked out well at our school.

Being an advocate shows so much support and strengthens the relationship with my licensed assistants.

Since I started supervising 10 years ago, I've had several licensed assistants, and I've learned from each one. I truly hope my mistakes and tips help you in your journey. To read more, click on the links below:
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