* Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.
"A good teacher is like a candle-it consumes itself to light the way for others." - Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
It was my first year working as an SLP in a school setting. The rehab settings provided a transitional atmosphere when working with patients struggling with medically based speech and language disorders. While these interractions provided me with valuable experience, nothing could prepare me for the lasting relationships I would experience with my students. The deep, emotional connections I'd come to make with my students, would leave an indelible mark on my heart that would not soon be forgotten. I'd like to share a story with you about a very special student named Matt, and how our sessions took speech therapy to a whole new level!
Matt was a fourth grader with a mild to moderate stutter. The year I worked with Matt, his loving and devoted mother, lost her battle with breast cancer. In addition to this trauma, Matt's father was suffering from a medical condition that rendered him physically impaired. Matt was only in fourth grade; far too young to be able to cope with the anguish and upheaval in his life. I made it my mission to not only give 100% to Matt as an SLP, but to also do my best to offer him a sense of stability and security, while providing him the comfort and care he desperately needed. I made sure that his group time with his friends was fun and focused. But it was during one of our individual sessions, that true magic occurred! During my personal sessions with Matt, I could see through the pain in his eyes, that he was yearning for someone to confide. After a small ice breaker, in which I told him that I remembered feeling the need to talk after a loved one passed away, I asked him if he felt the same. This gave Matt the opportunity to share what was on his mind and in his heart. The floodgates opened and he shared with me his heartache, his fears for the future, and the beautiful stories of his beloved mother. It was at that time, that scrapbooking had started to take off and become popular. Matt was a gifted artist, which gave me the idea to start a scrapbook, which we titled, "Memories Of My Mom." The special scrapbook we created, became the focus of our therapy time. I understood the importance of capturing Matt's memories of his mom before they faded with time. I assisted Matt with his speech, while he shared stories about his mom and documented them in his scrapbook. Matt shared a story about a special necklace that his mom often wore, and even brought it in to showcase some of his mom's favorite things. His spirits were lifted as he recalled humorous anecdotes and highlighted some of his mom's favorite things. We both became emotional as he input the poems and lullabies that she used to sing.
Matt made tremendous progress that year, largely due to our personal connection. During our sessions, he felt free to be himself; to open up and share a special piece of his heart. The bond we created helped give him the motivation needed to succeed. We drill, collect data, and endlessly assess students. But it's the personal connection and bond you create with your students that really makes the difference. When you make that connection, it is THEN, that you will see the greatest and most meaningful results.
I am now a married mom of three girls, the eldest being the same age as Matt was when I worked with him. The time I spent with Matt continues to hold a special place in my heart. When I think of Matt today, I hope he is doing well, and still has the scrapbook we made together. Even more, I hope that our time together made a memorable difference in his life.
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Thanks Dabbling Speechie for putting this heartwarming blog hop together. Click on the image below to get you to your next blog and thanks for visiting me.
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