8 In Outside the Speech Room

How I Survived My CF in the Schools {Top 10 Tips}

Top ten tips for speech therapists working in the schools. Includes TONS of resources for SLP's (new and old)!

On the last day of my internship in grad school, I literally packed up my car and drove over to a small town in Western Washington to start my CF at an elementary school the very next day. The beginning of the year was definitely a crazy and stressful time, but I made it through (and you can too)!

I was thinking about what helped me survive my CF. (I’m not going to lie–it definitely felt like survival mode at times! Overall, though, it was an amazing experience.) Here are some of my top tips for new CF’s…

1. Consider Joining a Few SLP Groups on Facebook

They are a great place to ask questions. It was also helpful to see the kinds of questions that other people were asking. Here are three Facebook groups that I follow:

  • SLPeeps
  • School-Based Speech and Language Therapy
  • Preschool Speech Language Pathologists

2. Follow Other SLPs on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest

All three platforms are a little different, but they are great sources of therapy ideas, materials, and freebies. Jenna Rayburn has a LONG list of SLP Bloggers on her website (click here) and Meredith from Peachie Speechie also put together this wonderful resource (click here).

3. Stay Organized

Figure out what works for you. If you need ideas, there are TONS of organizational materials on Teachers Pay Teachers (and here on my blog!). It’s also helpful to ask other SLPs in your district what strategies work best for them. If you can stay organized, it will make busy IEP/progress report months much easier.

4. Make Friends with Your Janitors and Office Staff

These people can be incredibly helpful. Get them on your side. I definitely was not above bringing them treats a few times.

5. Get to Know Your Teachers

It makes such a big difference if you can get teachers on your side. Consider starting the year off on the right foot by involving teachers in the scheduling process with a Speech Scheduling Party. Join them for lunch. Participate in some school activities. Check in on how they (and their students) are doing. I promise it’ll make a difference!

Speech therapy scheduling overload? Check out this FREE kit for SLPs with all that you need to set up your own scheduling party!

6. Consider Joining SpeechPathology.com (or Find Other Ways to Get Help)

I used this resource A LOT. Whenever I got a new student on my caseload that I wasn’t quite sure about, I would look up a webinar or two and play it while I was prepping materials. I got great therapy ideas and updated evidence to back up why I chose a certain approach. Since I’m more of an auditory learner, this was much more palatable than digging through research articles (although I tried to keep up with some articles, too). It is $99 per year, but it’s worth it!

There are some FREE resources out there too.

  • SLP Summit – A free online conference for SLPs!
  • Autism Internet Modules – Fantastic autism resources. They have videos on hundreds of topics (e.g., social groups, the Incredible 5-Point Scale, video modeling).
  • LEADERS Project – There are SO many model evaluations and video modules on this website. It’s amazing. Check it out.

Another strategy is to talk to other SLPs. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Set up meetings with other SLPs in your grad school cohort (or in your district) to share ideas. No one says you can’t meet over dinner and wine!

7. Don’t Feel Like You Have to Buy All the Stuff

I definitely bought WAY too many materials last year. I probably didn’t even really use half of them.

Check out this membership for SLPs. It will save you so much time. It includes TONS of resources, as well as support from other awesome SLPs.
Are you a new SLP worried about surviving your CF? I share my top 10 tips for how I survived my CF in this post, which includes lots of links to TONS of resources that will help you find success, too! Get all of the tips and links inside.

8. Take Advantage of Freebies/Giveaways

Here are a few resources to take advantage of…

9. Make Time to Have Fun

It’s easy to let your new job take over your life, but sometimes you just have to stop (even if everything isn’t perfectly done)! You’ll be a much better SLP for it.

10. You Can Do This!

You just spent so many years studying all this speechie stuff. You had intense clinical rotations/internships. You got through it all (alive, at that!), and you got your degree! If you are working in a school, you will likely know more about speech and language than anyone else on staff. Even if you don’t feel like it now, you are an expert. You know A LOT!

Now I have some questions for you!
For the CFs: What are you most nervous about? What are you most excited about?
For the CCCs: What advice would you give to an incoming CF?

Hey there, awesome SLP! Check out this library of FREE tools that I made just for you!

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  • Reply
    Heidi Britz
    August 23, 2015 at 11:54 am

    As a CF mentor, this is fantastic advice! I will be sharing your blog with my new group of CFs this week. The only thing I would add is for CFs to be kind to themselves that first year as your learning curve is HUGE!

  • Reply
    Tanya Godbold
    July 18, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    I wish I would have read this sooner! Great advice!

    • Reply
      Marisha (Road to Speech)
      August 6, 2016 at 11:12 pm

      Thanks, Tanya!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    #5 is probably one of the most important to remember. I am an old SLP and you can not believe how many times I have heard from teachers “you are the first therapist that has ever talked to us and asked us what we need from our student”. #4 never forget they these people really run the school when it comes to supplies or replacing a broken chair or changing a light.

    • Reply
      Marisha (Road to Speech)
      August 6, 2016 at 11:14 pm

      I completely agree! Thinking about those little extra pieces is easy (and usually fun), but it can make a big difference.

  • Reply
    September 17, 2016 at 1:03 am

    Hi! Im a new speech therapist and I think what scares me the most is setting the treatment goals. To know exactly what he needs snd not miss important parts

    • Reply
      Marisha (Road to Speech)
      September 17, 2016 at 6:15 am

      I know the feeling! I promise it’ll get easier with time! In the meantime, SLP Toolkit (slptoolkit.com) is an AMAZING tool. They have comprehensive assessments and progress monitoring tools that help me feel more confident about my goals.
      Also, remember #10. You learned a. lot. in grad school. 🙂 You know more about communication than the majority of people you’ll be working with. You’ll surprise yourself with how much you know/remember!

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