NC State Salary Schedules Released as NC Legislature Reaches Budget Compromise

by Beth Burns, M.S., CCC-SLP, Lead Speech Language Pathologist

The NC House and Senate announced Monday afternoon that they have developed a compromise budget.  Both sides will vote this week and send to the governor.  Because the House and Senate have veto-proof majorities, this budget will in all likelihood become reality.

The charts attached are the state salary schedules for Bachelor’s level teachers.  Local supplements are not included.  For speech-language pathologists and audiologists to calculate their new salaries:

  • Add 5 to the years of experience shown (0=5, 5=10, 10=15, 15=20, 20=25)
  • Add 7.5% to the top salary if you have 25+ years of experience
  • Add 10% for your Master’s Degree
  • Add $126 if you have an Advanced Degree
  • Add another $126 if you have a PhD
  • Add local supplement (differs in every school district)

The calculation is a monthly salary.  Multiply by 10 if you are a 10-month employee.

There is some language regarding yearly bonuses for teachers (we assume SLPs and audiologists) with over 25 years of experience.

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We’re on Break for the Summer

Thanks, everyone for a great school year!  2016-2017 is in the history books.  We’re going to rest, relax, travel, and develop some great new therapy ideas.  (We will also have some new team members in August!)  We’re not saying, “Goodbye,” to Wendy Lybrand and Marianne Boger; we’re saying, “Until next time!”  Tune in to some great articles about speech and language in September!

Until next time!

10 Things to Do When You Don’t Understand Young Children’s Speech

 

Say WHAT?!

By Sarah Michaels, Heather Miller, Phyllis Norwood, Heather Petrusa, and Amy Samuels, Speech-Language Pathologists in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

There are only SO many times you can say, “My ears are old, could you repeat that sweetie?”  Here are ten tips for helping maintain the confidence of your VERY unintelligible student. If you don’t understand the child’s response or question…..

  • Ask them to say it ‘another way: Say, “Can you use some other words to help me understand?”
  • Ask them to “show you” by pointing to something in the classroom or in a book.
  • Have the child use a gesture to help you understand. Encourage them to use speech along with a gesture or sign.
  • Think about the type of questions you are asking your student. If a child is highly unintelligible, it is better to ask a choice question in which you are giving them a choice between two answers. (e.g., Did you stay at home for your birthday or go somewhere special?) Unless you know the context, avoid open ended questions.
  • Have parents share a “talk-about” after the weekend regarding important personal experiences (e.g., Grandma came to visit) so that you can converse and better understand the child’s spontaneous speech. Items parents send can include visuals from the weekend (e.g., photos, artifacts in a bag).
  • Check with parents ahead of time about questions you may ask at circle time or during thematic units so that you can anticipate and understand children’s responses.
  • Learn common words that students will use frequently in their speech including people (e.g., siblings, grandparents), places, pets, toys, and characters.
  • Write down phonetically what it sounded like the child said and the context and check with parents. Parents, siblings, and other children are good at decoding the child’s speech.
  • Work with the family and school team to rehearse phrases/sentences prior to a “sharing activity.” Rehearsals may include reducing language to manageable chunks so that they can be understood (e.g., “I saw the Sponge Bob Square Pants movie.” reduced to “Watched Sponge Bob movie”)
  • Ask another child or sibling (e.g. if in the same class) what child said. Children are adept at deciphering the meaning of what child is trying to say ; )

Norwood wins ECSS Staff of Year Award

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Speech-Language Pathologists are pleased to announce that in her first year serving Carrboro Elementary, Phyllis Norwood, M.A., CCC-SLP won the Exceptional Children’s and Student Services (ECSS) staff member of the year award for that school.  Norwood received a $50 gift for her award.

Photo:  Phyllis Norwood, right, pictured with Jennifer Radzik, Occupational Therapist, and winner of the Pre-K/Headstart award.

Facts about Tweens and Teens Who Need an SLP

by Rolesha Harris, M. Ed., CCC-SLP, Wendy Lee, M.Ed.,CCC-SLP, and  Rhonda Maiani, M.A.,CCC-SLP (Speech-Language Pathologists in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools)

There are a select number of 12 to 18-year-olds who continue to be eligible for speech- language therapy in the schools. Because students in middle and high school are expected to use advanced/meta-linguistic skills, write complex sentences, follow grammatical rules, infer and comprehend figurative language, the support of an SLP is sometimes necessary to access their curriculum.

Speech-Language goals may be related to reading comprehension, vocabulary, written expression, higher-level reasoning, organizational and sequencing skills, problem-solving, and social/pragmatic language skills.

The SLP and the exceptional children’s teacher often collaborate and determine the student’s areas of need and the academic goals that need to be targeted.  The therapist will work in the classroom or co-teach in the student’s various classrooms or pull the student in a small group or one-on-one sessions to target these specific goals. The frequency of service delivery will vary depending on the severity of the student’s needs.

The SLP supports the student by collaborating and consulting with all of the student’s teachers. As students get older, the SLP does not focus on one particular goal but rather supports the student across environments. For example, the SLP may provide support while studying for a specific test, completing a project or end of semester assignment, creating visual/graphic organizers to improve comprehension of class related material, or provide supplemental materials to aid in improving the understanding of specific concepts presented in class.  The Speech-Language Pathologist can provide information to teachers regarding how the student’s receptive or expressive language disorder is directly impacting their ability to perform in the classroom as well as where some of the student’s learning breakdowns may be occurring.

Speech therapy in middle and high school can also present with many challenges. Adolescents are “in the thick” of the maturation process.  Moodiness, raging hormones, and self-concept/self-esteem problems are just a few of the difficulties our students face on a daily basis and may make working with our teens challenging.

SLP’s strive to design programs and choose materials that are both motivating and enjoyable for the students while simultaneously helping them learn the curriculum.

The support services provided by an SLP in middle and high school is essential for the important transition from middle and high school to employment and adult life.

Kara VanHooser Wins Award for Excellence

Kara's Family
VanHooser at the awards ceremony with her husband, Mike Dodge and daughter, Grace Dodge

Kara VanHooser, M.S., CCC-SLP, a speech-language pathologist in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, received the 2017 Lara Jane Parker Award for Excellence along with two other winners.  VanHooser works primarily at McDougle Elementary School in Chapel Hill where she has over 20 years experience and serves as the Exceptional Children’s team lead.  The Lara Jane Parker Award Program shared,”Kara is proactive in engaging a child’s whole team, including families, private therapists, and physicians, to meet the student’s communication and other needs.  She organizes communication during reverse inclusion groups, where students from general ed classrooms join students in the adapted curriculum classrooms for activities promoting social and academic interactions.  Kara invites politicians to meet her students to better understand the challenges they face.  She is in regular contact with them to discuss issues that affect students like hers.”

The Lara Jane Parker Awards are sponsored by the New Voices Foundation (newvoices.org), a non-profit in North Carolina whose mission is to help children with communication challenges maximize their learning potential.

5 Myths and 1 Truth about Stuttering

by Theresa Menz, M.S., CCC-SLP and Rena Dadolf, M.S., CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologists in Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools

Stuttering is a communication disorder in which the flow of speech is broken by repetitions (li-li-like this), prolongations (lllllike this), or abnormal stoppages (no sound) of sounds and syllables. There may also be unusual facial and body movements associated with the effort to speak. A diagnosis of a disorder is more than just the speech characteristics. It involves a thorough assessment of the child’s self-perception and feelings surrounding their speech.

Here are some video examples of children who stutter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rysVhDb3qKM

Myths about Stuttering:myth-fact

Myth: People who stutter are not smart.

Reality: There is no link whatsoever between stuttering and intelligence.

Myth: Nervousness causes stuttering.

Reality: Nervousness does not cause stuttering. Nor should we assume that people who stutter are prone to be nervous, fearful, anxious, or shy. They have the same full range of personality traits as those who do not stutter.

Myth: Stuttering can be “caught” through imitation or by hearing another person stutter.

Reality: You can’t “catch” stuttering. No one knows the exact causes of stuttering, but recent research indicates that family history (genetics), neuromuscular development, and the child’s environment, including family dynamics, all play a role in the onset of stuttering.

Myth: It helps to tell a person to “take a deep breath before talking,” or “think about what you want to say first.”

Reality: This advice only makes a person more self-conscious, making the stuttering worse. More helpful responses include listening patiently and modeling slow and clear speech yourself.

Myth: Stress causes stuttering.

Reality: As mentioned above, many complex factors are involved. Stress is not the cause, but it certainly can aggravate stuttering.

There is no “cure” for stuttering. Speech therapy focuses on compensation strategies and understanding the nature of the disorder and progress toward fluency.

 

Source: The Stuttering Foundation , Child and Adolescent Stuttering Treatment and Activity Resource Guide, P. Ramig and D. Dodge

Does the Spanish Speaking Child in My Class Need Speech Therapy?

by Jennifer Kirschner, M.S., CCC-SLP & Rebecca Fox, M.S., CCC-SLP (Speech-Language Pathologists in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

When native Spanish speakers are learning to speak English, many elements of their speech can sound “wrong” to native English speakers. It is important for English-speaking teachers and staff to recognize what characteristics of Spanish are normal to hear in English. Continue reading Does the Spanish Speaking Child in My Class Need Speech Therapy?

The Power of a Peer

by Jordan Lupton, M.S., CCC-SLP (Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, North Carolina)

Photo credit: Pixabay

INTRODUCTION

Students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often face significant struggles with social interaction, yet they have fewer opportunities to interact with typically developing peers because of an increased need for adult assistance with academics, attention, or behavior. Although these areas are important for improving a child’s quality of life at school, many parents of children with ASD rank social communication and interaction among their top concerns, and many ASD learners themselves desire to learn ways to improve peer relationships at school.

Peer Mediated Instruction and Intervention (PMII) provides a way for teachers and therapists to address this area of need. Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill define PMII as follows:

“With a foundation in behaviorism and social learning theory, PMII involves systematically teaching peers without disabilities, ways of engaging learners with ASD in positive and meaningful social interactions.”

In addition to the benefits for the learner with ASD, PMII also benefits typically developing peers in expanding their social network, developing new friendships, and having higher quality interactions with classmates. Anyone can be trained in the use of PMII. Teachers, therapists, and paraprofessionals should work together to implement PMII successfully.

PMII FOR PRESCHOOL AND ELEMENTARY-AGED CHILDREN

  • Peer Modeling: Teach a peer to demonstrate a target skill to the student with ASD. Target skills may include: requesting, following directions, greeting, or joining in an activity or conversation.
  • Peer Initiation Training: Train peers to encourage interactions with students with ASD, such as maintaining conversations, taking turns, or responding to invitations.
  • Direct Training: Peers and students with ASD are taught specific skills directly.

PMII FOR UPPER ELEMENTARY, MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS

  • Peer Networks: Peers meet and interact with the learner with ASD in a regular meeting outside of instructional time.
  • Peer Supports: Peers support the learner with ASD academically and socially in an inclusive environment.

USING PMII IN THE CLASSROOM OR THERAPY SESSIONS

  1. Identify the goal for your learner with ASD and times when social interactions naturally occur.
  2. Select peers thoughtfully and carefully. The peers should be exhibit good language, social and play skills, express a willingness to participate, and have parent permission.
  3. Train peers to recognize and appreciate individual differences, then review target behaviors.
  4. Develop scripts for peers to use, and role play with them.
  5. Plan for peers to interact with the learner with ASD in scheduled times daily.
  6. Monitor progress and provide peer support and feedback as needed.

SUMMARY

Peer-Mediated Instruction and Intervention is an effective intervention for students with autism spectrum disorder. PMII can be used to effectively address goals in social skills, communication, joint attention, play skills, school-readiness, and academic skills.

REFERENCES

AFIRM Team. (2015). Peer-mediated instruction and intervention. Chapel Hill, NC: National

Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorder, FPG Child Development Center, University of North Carolina. Retrieved from http://afirm.fpg.unc.edu/Peer-mediated-instruction-and-intervention