During my speech pathology graduate internship at Ridge Zeller Therapy, I was given plenty of opportunities to learn and practice with an endless support system. Each piece of advice has been given to me through various supervisors, learning experiences and resources–all provided by incredible, knowledgeable SLPs.
When I started my speech pathology graduate internship, I searched high and low for a guide. Because I would be working in three different schools and a clinic, I wanted to be prepared. I sifted through tons of graduate school internship resources to prepare for my new caseloads, and to get a grasp on the unknown. I found a few Pinterest links to use as a guide, and they were definitely helpful and encouraging. Search around and find what will work for you!
Here are my top five recommendations for starting your speech pathology graduate internship:
1. Get to know your caseload.
It’s overwhelming when you don’t know the names, faces, and goals of your students. Take some time to read their files and get to know them. It’s okay to have an introduction session that helps you associate names and faces. Many schools also have a database with school pictures to help you get more familiar.
2. Track and record data in a way that best suits your needs.
Personally, I like to keep my therapy data written on my daily schedule. I use five columns:
– In the first column I write the therapy time.
– Within the second and third columns, I write my student’s name and their classroom teacher’s name.
– For the fourth, I write their goals.
– Lastly, I keep specific record of therapy notes and data.
In this way, all of my information is together and “at a glance”. Finally, I transfer my information to their individual data sheets at the end of the session.
3. Make templates.
It is important to start fresh with each IEP you write. Having an outline or guide can help make sure you aren’t leaving out any information. Print off a blank IEP form and highlight the boxes you always need to fill in. Use these prompts to make yourself a checklist. Ask your supervisor if they have any other resources to help you get started.
4. Stay organized.
A “to do” list won’t get done if you can’t remember where you put it! As such, use a digital calendar, a notebook planner, or whatever works for you to keep track of deadlines, schedules and notes. For example, I like to use a free printable calendar, which allows me to write things down and give myself a heads up for deadlines coming within the next week. I also keep a binder with tabs separating each of my schools, and I place a calendar in the front of each school section. Lastly, I use a simple clasp on the top of the binder to turn it into a clipboard. I never left my office without it!
5. Keep your most frequently used materials handy.
In my binder, I always keep the following:
– A school calendar
– My planner pages
– A simple “what is a speech-language impairment?” informational handout
– A normative scores graph to reference in IEP meetings
– Some artic strategies
– Some simple language guides
Putting these things in page protectors helps me to keep them organized nicely, and easy to access over and over.
Below is an example of the five-column schedule I mentioned in step two. Just like our kiddos, we each learn and function differently, so it’s important to find what methods and resources work best for you!
Enjoy your speech graduate internship and make the most of each experience. This isn’t a time to be perfect, it’s a time to learn and grow and become the best you can be!