We are in the midst of April, and I’m keeping up with my theme promoting Autism Awareness. This week is anything but normal–shortened week, IEP meetings, and two days of assisting Kindergarten orientation makes for a busy SLP. In fact, this is my only full therapy day this week.
I am a speech pathologist, a Broadway nerd, a daughter, a sister, a student, a blogger. I am a friend, a bookworm, a makeup addict, a dancer. I’m an employee, a podcast listener, a candy-crush-player, a quote-lover. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is just the beginning of me. I am too many things to pick one word to define me. And guess what? This is also true for my students.
My students are people. They have feelings, strengths, areas of difficulty, joys, things they are passionate about. I can tell you quite confidently that many of my students share some of my qualities above, and some are completely opposite. Some are athletic and savvy, great at math, Minecraft champions–sheesh, I even have one student who is learning how to code computer programs. For fun. In elementary school. There’s a kid who just showed up the majority of the adults around him in that area! And I cheer him on every step of the way.
Allow me to share with you what my students aren’t. They are not the disability written on their IEP. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, they do serves a purpose. Do I necessarily know what it is all the time? No way. My students are making progress every day toward not needing my services. Every time I dismiss a student from my caseload, I get very sad. I will miss working with my student. I am invested in them. The goal, however, is for them to no longer need me, so I am simultaneously proud. And this is all because I can see these people beyond the label assigned to them.
No, I am neither 24601, nor Jean Valjean. I am undefinable, and so are my students. We are all human, and we’re all running this race together.
Keep playing with words and see what your message creates!
–Stef the StageSLP