The school year is coming to a close and we had our final session of “Circle of Friends”. The group came together for a final shaved ice party. “D” was excited to have a party and asked about members that hadn’t arrived yet. He wanted to make sure everyone was there. He seemed really comfortable with the group and they were comfortable with him. To see them interacting with each other made this venture all worthwhile for me. There has been a lot of growth for everyone involved. Its amazing to me what can be accomplished in 16 sessions. “D” has really benefited from their caring and accepting attitude. They have benefited from knowing they can make a difference in another individuals life and not to be afraid of other people who may seem quite different from themselves.
This group is going to middle school so there is a lot of reflecting and reviewing as we remembering their elementary years. The students want to know if the group will continue in our building next year and in middle school as well. We’ve let the staff at the next building know it was a worthwhile group and worth continuing. Hopefully some of the group will still have interaction with “D” in middle school. We took a picture of the group that we will hand out to them later.
The speech pathologist in this district, and a lot of places, have been hit hard with budget cuts for next year. In the giant scheme of things, administrators and school boards are not always aware of what role speech pathologist play in a school building or how our jobs are managed. Many people still have the idea we take children into small little rooms and drill for articulation. Over the years, this has expanded greatly into classroom supports, consultation for the teachers, and working with increased numbers of children with autism. We often see these students when they need help and a place to go when the classroom is too overwhelming. The fact of the matter is, it is hard to continue programs like this when the speech pathologist is scheduling therapy for children in multiple buildings and programs. Also, it often means giving up a lunch break for the adults involved. Although I feel it is a worthwhile program it may not be possible to continue it next year. However, I hope people have enjoyed reading about the possibilities and if you are not an SLP have had a glimpse of what we do in an elementary building.