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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Chicken Soup for the SLP Soul - Blog Hop!


* 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.
 I've always had good luck with number 13 and am passing good fortunes on to you in your blog hopping adventure.  

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.  
Or if you're a regular follower of my blog (thank you) and are starting here, go to the First Blog to find out all of the details on how to win some awesome prizes! 
Participating Blogs:


9 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Such a sweet story! Thank you for sharing! Making that connection with students is so important. During one of my practicum placements, I had one session with a 9 year old boy, where most of our session was spent with him confiding in me about being bullied at school. We talked about what had been happening, what he had already tried to do, who he could talk to, etc... When I told my supervisor that I didn't have any data from that session because of it, her response was "Well, you could have taken data on articulation carryover in conversation" ..

    Truly, it felt like a slap in the face, to both me and the boy. I felt like listening to him was more important than taking data that day. It makes me sad that sometimes people lose sight of the big picture and what's really important. Thank you for sharing your story, and making the excellent point that making connections is what makes the most meaningful results!

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  3. Oh my, what a sweet story and such an incredibly important message! Making communication functional is the whole point, right! Good for you! Thanks for sharing! Emily
    thespeechpathforkids.com

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  4. What a great memories and a great idea! I had a student who also lost their mom and your post inspired me to do something similar! Thank you!

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  5. What a beautiful story! I am sure that the time you took with Matt stuck with him, and he will always remember what you did to help him. Thank you for sharing!

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  6. This story brought tears to my eyes. The scrapbooking was such a great idea; I would say that you were his angel who helped him through an especially difficult time in his life. I wouldn't be surprised if he still thinks about you.
    oldschoolspeech.blogspot.com

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  7. Wonderful story. I remember creating a scrapbook with a 7th grade student who had recently lost her father. We worked on vocabulary, sequencing, sentence structure, love, grief, and healing. I'm fairly certain Matt still has his scrapbook and will likely hold it dear to his heart...and you as well.

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  8. Such a great story!! We have the ability to offer support in such a unique way! Thank you for sharing!

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  9. If we are able to make a difference in the life of even one child, then we have done our job! I think your story is proof of that. Such an inspiration.

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