I am currently on maternity leave through January, 2021.  Adrienne Parker will be the SLP filling my absence. 

She can be contacted at parkera@issaquah.wednet.edu.

Do a Feelings "Check-In" This Week!
It is no secret that this is a crazy time for all of us.  Make it a point to check in with your kids and their feelings at some point each day.  This visual support may help.

Tips for Working With Your Child During the School Closure
If you are anything like me, you are feeling a lot of pressure to "home-school" and keep on top of academics for your child during this unexpected break from school.  When it comes to their speech and language goals, here are a few tips to keep the work low-stress, fun, and easy to fit into your ever-changing routine:

  • Keep it informal!  Practice speech sounds while reading a book aloud!  Ask them to demonstrate "slow speech" while going for a walk together. You don't have to use a worksheet for it to count as practice!
  • Ask away!  Take advantage of as many opportunities as you can to slip in a WH-question.  As you're looking out the window, "Where do squirrels live?" or as you're getting ready for bed, "Why do we brush our teeth?"  There are endless opportunities to practice this skill!
  • Follow Directions! So many of my students are working on following directions, whether it be formally (as in a goal on their IEP), or informally.  Try giving you child two or three-step directions throughout the day.  Take note of the complexity and see how they do.  For example, "can you go put Lizzie's shoes on the rug, feed Rover, and then help me cut these carrots?"
  • Model how it's done! If you are noticing that something is hard for your child, do not feel the need to over-correct.  Simply model the correct way to do it, and move along.  It is not helpful to practice sounds or concepts incorrectly.  In fact, this may make it more difficult for your child upon returning to school.
  • Have fun!  And ask (ME) for help! Please, above all, try to make the most of this time home together.  Do not feel the stress of "needing" to constantly be working on their skills.  Your children are learning constantly, whether they are in school or not.  I am happy to be a resource as we navigate these next few weeks.  Please reach out with ANY questions at any time!

Communication Tips for the Using Distance Technology
(Like FaceTime or Skype) to Communicate
During the school closure, the CDC has recommended limiting face-to-face social contact to reduce the spread of the virus.  This lack of social interaction can feel isolating, especially to our children who are used to practicing their social skills daily at school.  Distance technology can help during this time.  Here are a list of ideas to improve video calls with friends during this social distancing period.

  • Decide who you will be calling.  Will you use video?  Who will hold the device?
  • Brainstorm a list of possible topics to cover.  Maybe write a list of questions ahead of time.
  • Discuss polite behaviors to use during a video chat
    • Eye contact
    • Steady device holding
    • Facial expressions
    • How to end the call appropriately
  • During the call, monitor your child's behaviors and offer suggestions.
  • Praise your child for any pro-social behaviors noted during the call.
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For students currently receiving Special Education services:

  • Progress reports come home with report cards three times per year for elementary and middle school.
  • If you would like to discuss your student's progress or program at another time, please contact me and we can set up an appointment!

For students not currently receiving Special Education services: Regardless of special education status, I am still available for consultation.  There are several ways to do this --the most efficient way would be approaching your student's teacher with your concerns.

What is a Speech-Language Pathologist?

Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) are professionals who are responsible for evaluating and treating children with challenges in speech and language. 

Speech and language skills are essential to academic success and learning.  Learning takes place through the process of communication and the ability to communicate with peers and adults in the educational setting is important in order to achieve success. Some children who are experiencing problems with reading, writing, gesturing, listening, or speaking at school, may have a speech-language disorder.  Some examples of these disorders include:

  • Speech sound disorders- difficulty pronouncing sounds (articulation)
  • Language disorders- difficulty understanding what they hear as well as expressing themselves with words
  • Cognitive-communication disorders- difficulty with thinking skills including perception, memory, awareness, reasoning, judgment, intellect and imagination
  • Stuttering (fluency) disorders- interruption of the flow of speech that may include hesitations, repetitions, prolongations of sounds or words (i.e. stuttering)
  • Voice disorders- quality of voice that may include hoarseness, nasality, volume (too loud or too soft)

Speech Language Pathologists are required to have a Master’s Degree and an Educational Staff Associate state certificate.  Most of the Speech-Language Pathologists in the Issaquah School District are also members of our professional organization, the American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA).  Membership in ASHA requires an additional year of supervised clinical practice beyond the master’s degree.  Many of the Speech and Language Pathologists in the Issaquah School District also have state licensure through the Department of Health. To maintain our credentials SLPs take continuing education classes.