18/ 01/ 17

A Day in the Life: Teletherapist

A lot has been happening in our household. A new year brought a new part time job for me and a new name for the blog.

As far as the name goes, Miss Morgan Aliana seemed to fit the style of the blog. You can continue to locate the blog in both locations www.slpcaravan.com and www.missmorganaliana.com. I wanted all my social media to be cohesive to make things easier for my readers so now my Facebook page missmorganaliana and my Instagram handle is @morganaliana. All together now!


Ok, enough on the PSA. I started a new part-time job as a Teletherapist this year with DotCom Therapy. I am loving it and wanted to give you a glimpse into my day. What’s a Teletherapist you ask? A Teletherapist simply provides therapy via a licensed therapist using a video chat platform.

7:30am: Make breakfast, start laundry then send GI Joel and Waverlee off to start their days.

8:00am: Make my morning commute to the office a.k.a. my living room. Set up for the day. I compile all electronic materials, apps and tracking sheets on my desktop to be ready for sessions. Check e-mail and correspond with school personal as needed. I have 2 baskets of materials/papers and that’s it. The computer is actually sandwiched between my kitchen and living room so being minimalistic is key.  (Most therapists use an extra room as an office, but no room in this tiny house.)

8:30am-11am: Complete morning sessions with students ranging from Kindergarten-High School. Same articulation and language sessions you are thinking of, just using a different platform to present them. I use my desktop and the iPad, iPad apps are very engaging and work cohesively with my video chat software. I also use a whiteboard feature or can share my screen with my students.

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11am-11:30am: Take a lunch, let out the dog and throw dinner in the crock pot. Switch over laundry and return to the “office”.

11:30am-2:30pm: Continue with afternoon sessions and plan for the next week. Begin making a visual schedule for a student.

Photo on 1-20-17 at 11.53 AM

2:30pm Rush off to my other gig to finish out the day.

The beauty of working from home is that I don’t have to leave. I am cutting out the stress of a commute and have complete control of my environment. I can work from my tiny town and service kids across the country. I love the flexibility and working with students again. I love being part of a company that allows me to grow independently as well as grow with their team. Most importantly, I am providing a solution as a speech therapist, not a last resort. For more information about DotCom, their mission and job openings visit their website www.dotcomtherapy.com.


18/ 04/ 16

It’s ezpz: Therapist and Mom Perspective

Recently, upon accident really, I stumbled upon the ezpz company. Their line of feeding products are fantastic. From mats for beginning eaters, to “middle of the road” big kid eaters there is something for everyone. When I say everyone, I mean everyone, I recently used a mat in therapy with one of my adults. Plates, bowls, specialty mats oh my!

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What am I looking in a feeding product?

Mom to Be: as a Mom to Be there are so many items on the market. They all look pretty good and promising. Enter glazed over eyes and gaping wide mouth. I phoned messaged a friend who is very much in the heat of the feeding frenzy (thanks Clarissa). I asked her honest opinion about what she likes using with her kiddos. She enjoys products made from silicone because they are easy to clean and gentle on teething mouths. She also likes products that suction to the table so her son doesn’t have to “chase” the food.


Therapist: Feeding therapy is very visual for a therapist. Positioning, texture, and food set-up are considered when preparing a patient to eat. I want an item that is visually easy to see, is weighted or suctions so if a patient has a tremor or visual impairment they can still “find” their food and is going to support the patient’s diet texture.

So why ezpz?


Mom to Be:  I have a mini mat ready for mini Chapman already. They stack easily, are dishwasher and microwave safe and suction to the table. Like for real, it’s hard to get them up without releasing from the side. I love the cut of the mini mat for the high chair and the ounce sizes of the happy mat (looks more like a placemat) as portions get bigger for my kiddo. I think the colors are fantastic and the mat fits awesome in my diaper bag. Fewer things to travel with and will support store bought and home made food.

 *lunch was not the most appealing the day I took this photo.
Therapist: These mats work with all kiddos including those with special needs, and adults too! Several pediatric therapists are using this product for food sensitives and dysphagia. I love that it’s easy to generalize to home for parents to use and that it’s very much like a normal “plate” that everyone at home is using. (Maybe that’s just me, I have very colorful Fiestaware in our kitchen). The mat is set up like a face so it’s easy to cue “left eye” “right eye” or “smile” for foods.

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These cues work for adults too, especially my friends with lower cognition or visual impairments. There’s just nothing like this available for adult therapy right now, really the whole world of feeding assistance items is lacking. A COTA and I spent 30 minutes finding the proper spoon and cup one day. 30 minutes! I feel that the mats are priced comparably (if not less) than other assistive feeding products.

The silicone dividers or “lips” allow for food to stay separate and patients can use the “lips” for extra support with fingers or utensils. The divided sections support puréed, mechanical soft and regular diet consistencies.

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On a side note, I don’t recommend the mini mat for adults, the largest portions are 4oz. The Happy Mat would be more appropriate ranging from 4 oz. to 10 oz. Here’s the good news, ezpz is launching an adult/geriatric line in the Fall/Winter of this year!

Pediatric therapist? Be sure to check out the ezpz blog, the company has a full time SLP on staff that has helpful feeding tips through blogs and vlogs (video blogs).

So get out there and join the ezpz bandwagon. Mom, therapist or kid at heart. Click the link  below and see all of their fun products AND receive 10% off your purchase!!!

http://wwwezpzfuncom.refr.cc/R4W3NSC





12/ 05/ 15

How I Track: Free and Paperless Method

Ok, I promise that I will put my tracking method down below, but I need to discuss something really serious. How does everyone feel about Disney renaming Cinderella’s Castle to Elsa’s Castle? I am not part of the Elsa generation, however I am a fan. This being said, I feel a little partial to the queen of “rocking a glass slipper”. I mean sure, she’s aged a bit, but? Ok. Now to explain what has been magic for me this year.


Here are some disclosures. I use Google Drive. I have internet and an iPad with me all day at my job. If you don’t have Wifi or an iPad, this is still a useful way to track.  Stick with me, you may just need to adjust a few things.

If you don’t use Google Drive, you will need to set up an account. I love Drive. I can access all of my work documents from home, my phone or at my job. I use Drive to write out my daily schedule as well.

So, once/if you have an account go ahead and create a form. Click new in the left hand side and select form.

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I create a separate form for every kiddo on my caseload. (Side note: I plan on using this same tracking method in the SNF I will be working in starting this summer.)  I title it with their name and then add their goals in the appropriate area of the form.

I love all the question options you have. You can type in a kiddos whole goal or partial goal, and then choose the way you want to track it. For attendance, I use the multiple choice feature and add “other” if I need to type in a note. Attendance is important to track if a parent or someone in the district ever questions you.

So, now you can duplicate the goal or add a new one and explore. You can do multiple choice, check boxes, text or more. I use text so I can easily add a percentage or a note.

If you have more goals to add, click “add new” or click “done” if your form is complete. If you need to share the form with someone you can, or if you’re ready to track you have a couple of options. Now you must be wondering, where does this all go? Glad you asked. This is important, click on view responses. Create a new spreadsheet and your responses will appear after you track something in the “view live form” mode.

Click “view live form” at the top bar of the form. The live form, is the form you will use to track. If you are going to input information after a session, this is where you enter everything you want. If you are using an iPad and want to pull up each individual form as a button or app (like when you press on Safari or the Facebook button) you can follow the link below to add the specific form link to your iPad or iPhone homepage. Make sure you add the “live form” version. Ok, now you have your live form pulled up either from your desktop or iPad. I keep a folder on my iPad, open up a group as as I see them and track appropriately.

http://classroom.synonym.com/save-desktop-ipad-15269.html

The photo above shows what it will look like after you track something, just be sure you set up your spreadsheet in the responses before you start tracking. In the above spreadsheet you can insert formulas, edit errors you may have typed in, etc. like similar spreadsheets softwares.

Now you can track paperless and have everything stored on Google Drive. I have a folder created for all of the live forms and a separate folder for responses. I look up responses throughout the semester to see progress. This makes tracking quarter progress really simple and efficient.

This is the screen you get after you submit a response. If you need to add something, click the link and submit again. As you add forms, the form and response page will be found in your Google Drive home page.

These forms are password protected, unless you choose to share them with someone. I really appreciate that feature too. It’s been awesome not keeping up with tracking sheets and a binder all year. I also use this method for screeners and share my information with other colleagues this way.

Lipstick Welcome Box

Julep has other offer for you, click the picture above to see the free products they are giving away!

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05/ 05/ 15

The Right Questions to Ask in a School SLP Interview: 5 Tips From Someone Who’s Been There


It was close to this time last year that I was feeling the frantic butterflies and uncertainties of my SLP future. I had completed the requirements to graduate and yet, I was torn between leaving graduate school and starting out in the real world. If you know me personally, you heard me grumble about graduate school one or twice (or a lot, whatever). Graduate school was tough, but I made some of my best friendships there. They get me, were alike, we shared tears, laughter and many trials and errors together.

So when it came time to leave our little graduate school nest, as excited I was, I was faced with a lot of change. I kicked off the Spring semester with Joel deploying. Change number one. Change number two, my friends were farther than a desk away. Change number three, I had to make real-world decisions that not only affected me, but also GI Joel. Which leads me to, interview advice. Now, I’m pretty much an expert by now after having a whole year of experience in the SLP tool belt. (Did you catch the sarcasm there?) But, there were a few questions or pieces of information I wish I would’ve know or asked.
SCHOOL SLP INTERVIEW TIPS:

1. Numbers matter.

  • Ask for salary, bonuses, and if certification is paid for. See if the district will compensate you for Medicaid billing if they participate in doing so.
  • Look and see what insurance is going to cost and what the plan covers you for, even down to copays. Insurance may be free, but it may not be the best plan.
  • The one thing I didn’t ask was how many after school activities I would be required to attend. What monthly or weekly meetings are required? Do I have to be on any committees? Do I have to stay late for theme nights or community screenings? In most cases in the schools you are paid salary, so you don’t get paid extra if you have to stay late. Deal-Breakers? Maybe or maybe not.
  • What is the caseload and what is the average evaluation number you will do a year. I evaluated all year long because I serviced early childhood and K/1. Consider evaluations, etc. when choosing an age group.


2. Daily Logistics.

  • Will the district provide you with a substitute? How do you make up hours you’ve lost during the week for testing or meetings?
  • Who sets up meetings for evaluations and IEPs? Do you get to choose how to schedule for therapy?
  • Do you see children outside of the school building? If your district has itinerant students and you don’t want to travel, this is something you should ask about upfront.
  • If you do travel, does the school provide you with a car or cover the cost of your mileage?
  • What school duties are you required to do?

3. What’s the Spread?

  • What materials are already available to you?
  • What is your material budget?
  • Who pays for tests if you need one and what tests does the district already use?

4. Supervision

  • This is probably a given, but if you’re a CF, make sure your supervisor is current with ASHA certification. I would ask to meet them the day of the interview if possible.
  • Figure out where your supervisor is centrally located. If they aren’t in your building, figure out the best way to reach or see them.
  • For ASHA and state requirements, figure out your system for keeping tracking of hours early on.
  • Your CF supervisor may not be your only supervisor. Check and see if the school has a mentor program for new teachers and if your principal has specific requirements or expectations for you.

5. It’s about you in the end.

  • Figure out the equation that bests fits for you and whats going on in your life. For me, the commute and supervision led me to choose the district I worked in. I worked in both school and medical this year. My CF experience was great and I am thankful for all the help I received. I was lucky! The above questions would’ve been helpful for me as a new graduate though. Stay tuned for the medical interview edition.

20/ 05/ 14

Graduation!

I met Joel in the Spring before I started graduate school. Had he known the tears, emotional break downs, and “moments” of grumpiness that I would express….I’m not sure if he would’ve stuck around. 🙂 My graduate school experience was a life lesson on sacrifice, priorities, learning patience and finding the career of my dreams. I honestly didn’t know much about speech language pathology as a college freshman, but man, God knew it was for me. I get to work with all ages, use my “black and white” side and my creative side to help change people’s lives. From brain injury, Aphasia, swallowing trouble to correcting a kiddos speech, it may not seem like much but it’s an incredible experience to watch people progress and get better. So here’s to the professors, supervisors and classmates that became like family to get me through. They’ve taught me everything I need to know to start my career, to accept each other’s differences and that you should never be the smartest person in the room, because you’ll never learn anything new.

Love these people!

To GI Joel, thanks for letting me cry and take out my frustration on you. Thanks for waking up early 7,000ish miles away to watch my graduation and sticking with me from the beginning to the end. I feel like I’m returning the favor with this deployment thing.

Thanks to Blake and Syd for being great siblings who let me practice tests on them and listen to me gab about “speech” stuff that doesn’t make sense.

Mom and Dad. Thanks for encouraging me to be my best. From financial help, to prayer and always being there for me. You made my journey much less stressful by taking care of the hard stuff so I could succeed. Your sacrifice was worth it!

Last to family and friends whom I’ve snubbed due to thesis writing and studying, thanks for sticking around. Thank you all. Each and everyone of you. Here we go! (again) Reeds Spring Primary…get ready.



About Me

Welcome to Miss Morgan Aliana! I'm Morgan, Mom to Waverlee and Wife to Joel. I'm a speech therapist, hobby farmer and lifestyle blogger. Follow our adventures here, be inspired and join the caravan.

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