Now that I’ve had about a week off from school, I can safely say that I survived the spring semester. This was by far the most emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausting semester of my life, and I’m pretty sure it’s only going to get more chaotic. Thankfully, I had fantastic clinic placements. Like I mentioned before I was in an elementary school twice a week. After Spring Break, I took on the full caseload on those two days and did therapy with about 20 kids. This was seriously the most fun ever. The preschoolers were probably my favorite simply because I love that age group. I had a three year old who came in first thing in the morning for individual therapy (which sometimes turned into group). He was perfectly behaved and started talking to me SO MUCH by the end of the semester. My supervisor said that she noticed improvement from session to session and that he really seemed to enjoy coming to speech. I absolutely LOVED working with this little dude. His speech problem was definitely phonologically based, so we mostly worked on initial consonants and built in some medial and final consonants that should be emerging as well.
My most challenging group had four first grade boys. One in particular had emotion regulation difficulties, so getting him to participate was sometimes a challenge. They liked to compete, and some even got mean about it. I mean seriously, who cheats at Candy Land? But these were also my sweetest kids. One told every day, “I love you with all my heart, Miss Lindsay.” When I gave them their end of the year gifts (just pencils with a gripper and a note saying “You’re SHARP!”), he said, “This means I’ll never forget you!” I just about broke down and cried right there. Another of the boys in the group told me that he liked coming to speech class more than his regular class. I really miss my boys. They probably made a bigger impact on me than I did on them. It was so awesome seeing them meet their goals and make such progress in their understanding.
I also learned a lot from two of my nonverbal clients. My happiest moment with them was when one of the kiddos used his PECS sentence strip to request a toy accurately four times in a row. You could see he knew exactly what he was doing, and he was so excited that he was able to ask me for that panda bear. It absolutely made my day to see him make that small bit of progress. And on my last day at the school, the same kiddo saw me leaving. He stopped in the hallway and turned around to give me a hug. He had never done that before, so, once again, the waterworks just about started right then and there.
One of my preschool groups included a little boy who was just working on articulation. He’s quite shy and quiet, and he hates to be wrong. He takes everything very seriously, and he’s super polite and sweet. The first few weeks I worked with him, he barely spoke to me. His little face was so serious. On my last day, I told him and the other little one that someone else would be working with them next. He hugged my arm as we walked back to his teacher and said, “I’m gonna miss you.”
All the kids I had the pleasure of working with taught me so much. I loved listening to their stories, hearing about their birthday parties and field trips, and helping them make progress on their /th/ sounds and grammar structure. I also had a fantastic supervisor who provided me with specific feedback and trusted me with her kids. This placement once again confirmed that I’m going into the right field.