(Wenger, E., McDermott, R., & Snyder, W. . Cultivating communities of practice. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press. p. 10)
This time of year is frenzied; closing up the school year, planning for next year. I have students moving up to middle school, and little ones coming up from preschool. When my brain and emotions start to wonder, I make a conscience effort to slow down. Stop. Reflect.
I thought this would be the perfect venue to pay thanks to the professionals whose collaborative efforts made my days a little lighter this year.
So here it goes (in no particular order):
Thanks to my colleagues, the inclusion facilitators,and special educators who made sure communication goals were an integral part of each student’s IEP, and owned by all staff. Thanks for making me feel a part of your teams, even if I was traveling between buildings.
Thanks to my colleagues, the general education teachers who shared materials gave me curriculum to reinforce key concepts, and implemented language-based strategies that helped not just one child, but an entire classroom with narrative language development. There are many more examples that I could give, but suffice it to say, the art of teaching is alive and well.
Thanks to my BCBA colleagues, who understood how our disciplines can (and should) overlap in all areas of behavior, communication, academics, and even eating.
Thanks to my colleague, an English Language Learner teacher. She helped me support a language-impaired child who moved in late in the year and didn’t speak a word of English. We tag-teamed and figured out the difference between fundamental language skill deficits (word retrieval, vocabulary), and the typical obstacles expected for acquiring English. She outlined a plan and approach sensitive to the family unit and culture, which was invaluable in my decisions around goal-writing and intervention.
Thanks to my colleagues, the paraprofessionals, who sat in on all of their students’ speech and language sessions, translated my words into Spanish, asked questions, made visuals and PECS books, programmed devices, and worked hard to make sure generalization could happen.
Thanks to my colleagues, the social workers and psychologists, who helped me understand keenly the role of emotional stability, learning readiness, and effects upon communication.
Thanks to my colleagues, the teachers for the visually impaired, who helped me set up a communication book made completely of tactile symbols, and engaged in healthy dialogue on cognition, cortical vision impairment and communication.
Thanks to my OT and PT friends, kindred spirits of the related services world who understand the value of co-treatments and interdisciplinary input for kids with complex medical and physical needs.
Thanks to my SLP colleagues who helped me keep a sense of humor in a way that only another SLP working in a public school can understand.
Finally, thanks to the administrators who continue to believe in inclusion, and supported my time this year in each of their buildings. Leadership doesn’t happen in a bubble, and has transformative affects upon the school culture and inclusion.
So thanks. Happy spring…..fewer than 40 days to go!
Kerry Davis, Ed.D, CCC-SLP, is a city-wide speech-language pathologist west of Boston. Her areas of interest include working with children with multiple disabilities, inclusion in education and professional development. The views on this blog are my own and do not represent those of my employer. Dr. Davis can be followed on Twitter at @DrKDavisslp.