Student Goal Rings

One of the biggest challenges for me, jumping into a caseload mid-schoolyear has been differentiating between all my clients. We’re all focusing on communication skills, and truthfully, we’re at a bare-bones basic level, but every student has different goals, and I need a way to ensure I’m taking data on the right stuff.

I came up with the idea from my anal-retentive need for organization and my love of notecards, which I’ve sadly had to scale back on since graduating (what grown professional keeps rings upon rings of notecards? Crazytown, right here!). I first developed a beautiful hand-written ring of notecards with each client’s targets and service time and goal benchmarks over spring break. So many hours of hard work and organization, and I was thrilled! They lasted one day. Tuesday after break, I was in a rush, and long story short, my labors were now java-colored.

Luckily, I wised up and chose to type my new set, so if this unfortunate historical moment should be repeated, I’m prepared!

Here is a glimpse and write-up of my system:

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How do you keep track of your students’ goals?

Being alone isn’t lonely.

I had a long, tear-filled talk with one of my best friends tonight. We were catching up on our lives: her’s up north, my new one here in the south, and things started off light (They always do.). Soon, we got into deeper waters, and the tears were rolling. I wasn’t sad, per say, but sometimes you just need to cry out all the emotions you’re feeling: exhaustion, frustration, anger, distress. But one thing I wanted to emphasize was how I didn’t feel sad.

I’ve gotten the question so many times since I’ve moved to Florida: “…but aren’t you lonely?” Truth be told, yes, I do get lonely at times. Mainly, when people ask me this question. But it’s not because I’m brooding over all that remains in Pittsburgh. No, I feel lonely, rather, because of the stigma that word contains. I feel saddened by how the word rolls off of the tongues of those who associate being alone with being miserable.

Right now, I’m sitting alone in my dark apartment, listening to the passing cars, wailing ambulances, and hum of the city nightlife, and yes, I do feel a bit lonely. I miss the quiet little suburb I grew up in. I miss being able to walk down the street and greet all my neighbors whom I’ve known since childhood. I miss the corner deli I could walk to and get a little snack on the way home from school. But I mostly miss my family and friends.  The thing is: I really only get these thoughts when I’ve been provoked. I’m perfectly content with living alone. I don’t have to be home at any certain time. If I want to eat an entire box of Girl Scout cookies for dinner, I can. I can leave my piles of laundry on my couch for a week and a half and nobody is there to tell me to clean it up. I don’t have to cook for anyone or clean for anyone, and it’s blissful.

I’m not a particularly social person (Funny, coming from a girl who’s profession is to improve communication in others…). I’m kind of a happy medium between introspective and moderately outgoing. I can be social when I want to be, but I love my space. I think this is a hard concept for people to grasp. Most people I know are drawn to social situations. They crave human connections. I wouldn’t say I crave them, but it’s nice to be around people now and then.

There is a joke one of my SLP friends introduced to me: “what’s your autism?” (As SLPs, we all seem to have some sort of quirk about us.) Maybe this is mine. Maybe my “autism” is that I prefer solitude. Really, I shouldn’t have to justify, but if this is how I can get others to understand me, so be it. I don’t want to have to justify why I spent my entire spring break alone, running errands, tending to my mini-garden, and watching Netflix. Because it made me happy. I shouldn’t have to justify why I would rather spend my Friday nights curled up with a good book than out downing beer after beer and eating greasy, fried foods that only make me feel Saturday morning regret in a too-loud, smoky bar. Because it makes me happy. And I certainly shouldn’t have to justify that moving to Florida was one of the scariest and most liberating choices I’ve made in my entire life, because I have nobody looking over my shoulder, concerned with whether or not I make friends. Because I like being alone.

If I want to be alone, and that’s truly what I want, why should it be anyone else’s business?

Spring Break has sprung.

Nobody tells you that until you’ve gotten your feet wet for a few years out of school, your first job is just a continuation of grad school.  I really had thought the worst of it was over, (and trust me, it kind of is, because there aren’t any tests to worry about) but it’s a completely different kind of worse that you go through after you get those lovely letters tacked on to the end of your signature.

I wouldn’t trade my decision to race through grad school in a year and a half, without any breaks, for anything. I wouldn’t trade getting a December degree and starting to make money right away for anything. But I would absolutely trade jumping into IEP season (for you non-school Speechies, IEP season is March through June) with minimal experience for just about anything.

Luckily, spring break falls during the most opportune time during the year.  One blissful week of nothing but Netflix and my Microsoft Word to type up these forms.  Only problem? I’m contracted, so I don’t get paid for all this overtime! :/

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^^I gave myself Saturday and Sunday off, and I finally opened my windows to enjoy this.

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^^Yesterday I took a trip to my new favorite store, ever, World Market, and found these adorable treats! My favorite little animals. 🙂

Today, I decided to crack down on those IEPs, which wonderfully coincided with the longest downpour I’ve seen since I’ve lived here.  Whoever named the sunshine state has obviously not spent more than a week here.  Rainier than Pittsburgh, for sure!

I also had a meeting with a potential part-time employer…to babysit over the summer. I’m a bit rusty, but I would rather have the flexibility than have to apply for a formal job just for 3 months…

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^^When I got home, I decided to tackle my desire to do this.  I’ve wanted to do the 52 week savings plan since I saw it on Pinterest a while ago, and now that I’m a money-making professional, I figured why not? Plus, tacking it to the inside of my closet door gives me 0 excuses not to. 😉

I can’t believe this break is already 1/5 of the way over.  It is already flying by, and I don’t want it to end!!! But I’m also excited to get back to work next week (can you believe it?!). I guess that’s a true SLP for you. We are obsessively into communication. Can you blame us? Plus, Better Hearing and Speech Month is coming up soon, and I’m ready to advocate away. 😉

Je t’adore. (An Influenster Review)

I love free stuff, and subsequently, I love Influenster.  This month’s lovely VoxBox was filled with products I loved to sample.

Sense the theme, here? J’Adore VoxBox, ma chèrie!

My review on the Red Rose Créme Caramel black tea. (The short: it’s great. Go out and buy yourself a box or two! 😉 )

My review on the Hershey’s Kisses. (The short: …Like you need to read a review on the best little chocolate snack ever…but I included some recipes I like!)

My review on the Kiss Lashes. (The short: sky high and lovely, but not for your everyday eyelash-enhancing needs.)

My review on the John Frieda Frizz Ease 3 Day Straight Spray. (The short: LOVE. This spray amazed me as each day wore on, and my hair stayed sleek and chic.)

My review on the Boots Botanic Clay Mask. (The short: great product, but don’t use your nice washcloth to wash it off.)

Disclaimer: Influenster provided me with a copy of these products for review. No other compensation was provided. The opinions expressed are solely mine.

J’adore…John Frieda (An Influenster Review)

I pride myself on my curly hair. I embrace the body, the ringlets, the frizz… (okay, maybe I don’t embrace the frizz, but it comes with the package.)

Influenster sent a sample of the John Frieda 3 Day Straight Spray in my J’adore VoxBox and I was ready for the challenge 😉

For those of you with naturally straight hair, a flat iron can be your best friend and your worst enemy. I have to carefully schedule my hair-styling around precipitation, humidity, the temperaments of my students (who have NO qualms about yanking my hair out in fistfuls), but when I do, I love the results. Don’t get me wrong: I love my curls and wouldn’t EVER want naturally straight hair (I mean, who wouldn’t love getting out of the shower & just going out, not having to worry about styling/blowdrying/etc??), but a little variety is fun, too!

Morning 1 was typical.  Straightened my hair with my wet-to-straight iron, went to work, all was good.  That night I also happened to have an evening of flights from Jacksonville to Pittsburgh, and my hair remained frizz-free after 5 hours of traveling!!!

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^^Morning 2. No kinks, no frizz. I’m shocked! This is a first.Image

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^^Morning 3. My curls are coming back, but just around my ends. I loved this look best, personally. Sassy, yet sleek. I’m a fan of this spray.

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^^Evening 3. After 5 MORE hours of air-travel, my hair has just about maxed out it’s beauty.  BUT, and this is a BIG but: it’s STILL frizz-free. If I didn’t feel so gross from traveling all weekend, I would have tested it to see how long I could go without having to shower.

John Frieda, you make a damn good product.

Disclaimer: Influenster provided me with a copy of this product for review. No other compensation was provided. The opinions expressed are solely mine. 

J’Adore…KISS Lashes (An Influenster Review)

I don’t know about you, but I’m NOT a fake lashes kind of girl.  I’m more of your “au naturale” type when it comes to makeup.  That being said, I have always wanted to try the fake lashes, but couldn’t bring myself to spend my own money on a pair.  Entrer Influenster.

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These lashes were outrageous, in a good way.  I put them on Friday morning, in the hopes I could wear them to work. Nope!  Working in a specialized school, I see everything from business casual to flat out sweatpants and scrubs. Work is not the place to pull off these bad boys.

I ended up wearing them Saturday night when I went to dinner with some friends.  I was very excited to also test-drive some handmade headbands I bought at the local arts market that morning.

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Can we just take a moment to reflect on how full and gorgeous my lashes look? Wish I could have full, natural lashes like these 24/7, because…j’adore. Okay, narcissism over.

These lashes were fantastic to wear, but I don’t know if I would wear them again unless I was going somewhere ultra-chic. Like a wedding or to meet my future husband, Ewan McGregor? 😉

Disclaimer: Influenster provided me with a copy of this product for review. No other compensation was provided. The opinions expressed are solely mine.