5:30 AM - My alarm rudely awakens me. I hit snooze at least 3 times.
6:00 AM - Roll out of bed and hit the shower. Get dressed, do my make-up, dry and style my hair, and eat toast with peanut butter and honey for breakfast. Possibly drink a cup of coffee if I feel I need it.
6:55 AM - Grab my class bag, my therapy bag, my lunch box, and any other random therapy tools I need (last Monday I was carrying around a Bernstein Bears game all day. I felt cool.) and head out the door.
7:00 AM - I'm headed down the highway with Pandora blaring, and I'm singing along. It is a relatively peaceful ride most days, unless I get stuck behind a school bus, or a bajillion semi trucks on the freeway cut me off, trying to pass other semi trucks. Come to think of it, it is rarely a peaceful drive!
8:00 AM - Pull into the elementary school parking lot. Head inside, trek up to the 3rd floor where the speech room is, and get all of my materials for the day ready.
8:40 AM - Head back down a flight of stairs to the computer room, which is ironically, absent of any computers. It is not set up yet as a computer lab, so we are using it as the speech room until we get kicked out.
8:45 AM - Head out and get my first articulation group of kids. There are three students in this group, and we are working on "th" and "s" sounds. This group is fun, as most of these students are working on their sounds in structured conversation. This means we get to play fun games while they work on their sounds, like Hedbanz, Would You Rather..., and 20 Questions. As we play the games, I give feedback about their sounds, and keep track of every correct or incorrect production.
9:15 AM - I get a break! I usually work on lesson planning during this time. I wish I didn't have a break, and was doing therapy at this time, because it would mean more hours for me. I need 400 before I can graduate. But the extra planning time is nice, too.
9:45 AM - Go out and find the 3 girls in my language group. They are all working on different skills like vocabulary, reading comprehension, writing, and following directions. That makes planning for this group very challenging. Last week we read a book about libraries, and answered a bunch of questions about the book. Sounds boring, but the girls seemed to like it, and were very engaged. They are such a great group!
10:15 AM - Send the language group back to their classroom, and head to the resource room where I'll do my last therapy sessions of the morning. My first session there is with an awesome little guy who is working on a bunch of different articulation goals. For example, last week he was working on his "k,g,f, and v" sounds in sentences. So we looked at a Halloween I Spy book, and searched for words containing his targeted sounds. Then he would use the words in sentences. He LOVED this activity, so the whole session was great.
10:45 AM - Last session of the morning! By this time, I'm usually looking at my watch and wondering how the morning flew by so quickly! My last session is with a little girl who is also working on a bunch of articulation goals (I somehow got matched with a bunch of artic groups this semester. Not my favorite, but at least I'm getting a ton of experience in that area! My area of interest right now if Autism, so hopefully down the road I will get more experience with that). Last Monday, the student and I played the Bernstein Bears game I mentioned before. She was working on multi-syllabic words, so she would spin the game spinner, it would land on a picture, and she'd have to tell me a story based on what was happening in the pictures. We focused on multi-syllabics while she did this. This was another fun activity that she loved! She is so sweet, and so happy. So I guess she is easy to please!
11:15 AM - Gather up all of my materials, and head back to the speech room to put everything away, copy my data for the day and turn it in, and chat with my supervisor and a classmate, who is also at this placement with me, about how the morning went.
11:45 AM - Jump back in the car, and make the 20 minute drive to campus, all while listening to Pandora and inhaling a quick lunch (usually a sandwich on wheat bread, some fruit, cheese, and maybe something else thrown in there, and a Diet Coke).
12:05 PM - Arrive at the parking garage at the Polsky Building, where the speech clinic is. On good days, I find a parking spot without having to circle around the garage more than once, but it is usually on the very end of one of the last rows. Noon is a high-traffic time on campus. Most days I have to circle around a few times, waiting for someone to leave for lunch so I can take their spot.
12:15 PM - Arrive on the first floor of the Polsky Building and use my ID card to enter the speech clinic. I usually spend a few minutes in the materials room, looking for inspiration or ideas for therapy the following week, and returning materials I used that morning. Then I usually head to the grad room for a few moments (that's kind of like our study hall, I guess) and look through my lesson plans for my afternoon clients, and gather any materials I need.
12:30 PM - Enter the Telepractice Lab where my 1:00 session is held. We use a program similar to Skype to do therapy through the internet, so the client does not even have to leave his home. Anyway, I'm with two other ladies for this therapy session, so we spend about 20 minutes before our session just chatting and shooting the breeze, and the last 10 minutes preparing for the session. What can I say? We are speech ladies, and we are all very verbal and like to talk!
1:00 PM - The therapy session begins, and we swap the headphones/microphone back and fourth as we each take a turn leading the session. We each get to lead for about 20 minutes, since it's an hour-long session. This client is the cutest little boy in the world, and has the most supportive, awesome mom in the world, so this session is always a joy!
2:00 PM - We all chat with my supervisor about the session, and divvy up the lesson planning assignments for the following week.
2:30 PM - I begin preparing for my final session of the day, one I co-lead with one of my classmates (one of the same girls from the 1:00 session). We usually have enough time to take a quick bathroom run, (barely, though. ha!) grab the next client's chart, prepare our materials and our game plan for the day, and take a deep breath and pray that the session goes off without a hitch! (This is our most difficult session for various reasons. I'll just leave it at that!)
3:15 PM - My classmate and I are hovering beside the clinic entrance waiting for our client since this is when the session is supposed to start. But normally because of the drive, traffic, and just getting out of school, we are waiting there until...
3:30 PM - Our client and his family arrive. We usher him into the therapy room, and on a good day, we get him in there without any problems. Most days we lead him through a bunch of engaging therapy activities, trying to be as animated as we can, and involving play-based therapy as much as possible. This usually involves things like playing with the old-school Fisher Price car garage to work on prepositions, or a box full of wind-up toys to work on critical elements, or maybe a follow-the-directions coloring activity, or a fun book to work on sequencing. It really is fun to plan for, and usually the client loves it too. Unfortunately, the past few weeks we've been working on assessments instead of therapy, so it hasn't been quite so fun! (This client doesn't think so either!) But luckily that will be over soon! I can't wait to get back into therapy with him (although I'm NOT looking forward to writing the diagnostic report/treatment plan when testing is complete!)
4:15 PM - We lead the client out of the therapy room, and to the observation room where his family, our supervisor, and an undergrad student who has been matched up with this client for a case study, have all been watching our session through a 2-way mirror. (And no, that's not nerve-wracking at all. #sarcasmfont). We chat quickly, and lead everybody out through the waiting room.
4:20 PM - Chat with our supervisor about the session. Then quickly gather our 18-million toys, tools, folders, papers, books, etc, because there is another session in our room at 4:30. Usually my classmate and I head to the materials room to regroup and discuss next week's planning. We went to the grad room once, but then got locked in, and now we're terrified to be in there anytime close to 5:00, which is when the grad room closes. Anyway, our brains are both completely shot by this time, and we end up saying things like, "Do you want to....." "Next week should we....." And other unfinished, trailed-off sentences like that because seriously, our brains are beyond DONE for the day. Somehow we throw together some plans, and head out like zombies to the elevator, then parking garage, then our cars.
4:45 PM - Finally I am heading home! I crank up my Carrie Underwood Pandora station one more time, but have no energy left to sing. Traffic in Akron is usually not great, but also not horrible at this time, and once I'm on the freeway, I can just cruise-control it most of the way home. Unless, again, semis cut me off left and right. Grrr. This is a huge pet peeve. God wants to work on my patience, I think.
5:30 PM - I pull into my glorious driveway! The pumpkins and mums on my porch welcome me as I stumble up the porch with my bags and therapy tools that seem to have multiplied by 10 since the morning when they were all nicely and neatly organized and put away.
5:35-8:10 PM - This time is spent differently every week, but it usually involves:
- Making a quick and easy dinner, or going out to eat like we did last week.
- Packing a lunch for Tuesday
- Completing any homework that needs to be finished before Tuesday, which is a full day of classes.
- Writing and submitting my lesson plans for my elementary school for the following week, because my supervisor likes to get our plans a week ahead of time.
- Picking out my outfit for Tuesday
- Printing out power points for Tuesday's lectures and snapping them in my binder
- Maybe a second cup of coffee to spur me on
- Writing my SOAP note(s), which are basically a summary of the sessions at Akron's clinic for the day.
- Hopefully loading/unloading/washing the dishes and cleaning the litter box. But let's be real: this doesn't happen 100% of the time.
8:10 PM - Throw on some comfortable pajamas, grab a fleece blanket, and curl up beside Luke on the couch while we watch How I Met Your Mother. We start it a few minutes late so we can DVR it and fast-forward through the commercials. Yeah, we are those people. Sometimes JC is there too (on those nights I do not have my pajamas on yet. haha). Usually one or both of the cats jumps up to cuddle with us, because we are their favorite beds, I think. I live for this part of the day.
8:30 PM - Go back to working on my to-do for tomorrow, listed above. I have yet to have a Monday night where I'm done before 10:30 or 11.
11:00 PM - Jump in bed, and know that I have just survived the craziest day of the week. It's all downhill from here. Fall asleep before my head hits the pillow.
I am so glad Mondays are my most hectic days! Actually, my week is set up so each day is a little easier than the last: Tuesdays I have classes from 8:30 - 5:40, Wednesdays I just have therapy in the morning,and have the afternoon off! ...And Thursdays I have classes from 7:45 - 3:15, but those tend to be easier days because everyone is in a good mood since it's our last day of classes for the week!
And even though these days are CRAZY, I am so excited to say that I have just over a year-and-a-half left! If you count my 1 year of undergrad classes, which I took last year, I am halfway done with my 3 years of school! It is flying by. I am enjoying these days, but I have to say: I can't wait until life will resume normalcy again. I can't wait to have a real job with regular hours, to get a full 7-8 hours of sleep at night, to stop accidentally skipping meals, and to have time to breathe! ...Just keep swimming!