Friday, December 17, 2010

Advice for Medical SLP Newbies part 3

It's Kristin.

Well, if you've been following the blog, you kow that a few new SLPs or grad student readers have asked some specific questions re: how to get things started. My previous post covered "Planning." This one's going to be about carrying out the session itself. Hope it helps! Feel free to add your own comments and advice!

The Session: I personally like to start sessions by asking a few questions first.  Before I just jump in and start drilling them I want to see how they've been since our last session, how they're feeling, if they think speech therapy is helping, if they understand what we're working on, if they did any
"homework assignments" I gave them, etc.  This may seem obvious, but sometimes it's easy to skip this stuff when you get into automatic mode.

Then as we get going on our therapy tasks, I try to remember that if I'm bored, so is the patient.  I like to keep things interesting and meaningful for them.  I let them know what we're working on and why.  I try to switch activities every 10 minutes or so (but that can vary depending on their attention span).

Well, that seems really brief, but many of the other things I thought of mentioning seem too obvious and boring: taking data, dealing with different personalities or family.  Comment if you think I'm missing anything!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What a long crazy trip its been

Well, again I don’t know if you missed me or not, but I’m back and it has been one heck of a ride. I’m sure that there are some of you out there that have no idea what I’m talking about.

I decided to take up the challenge from National Novel Writing Month otherwise known as NaNoWriMo  to write a novel in one month, thirty days, with at least 50,000 words.

I started the first day, just me and my computer starring at each other, no ideas were coming to mind, nothing was flowing, but then I started typing and I just kept going. The story kind of created itself as I went along. I had to have plenty of brain storming sessions and discussions with my wife, but the story seemed to come out the best when I just kept writing. When I just let is flow and gush out. Maybe gushing wasn’t the best word right there.

Did I make it? Did I finish the challenge of 50,000 words? Well, those of you who follow me on twitter already know.

Yes and no.

I ended up with a word count yesterday of 83,100 words, so yes, according to NaNoWriMo I made it. And no, my story had not yet been concluded yet. That was my main goal, to have a completed first draft of my novel. Having had written over 150 word document pages means I have quite a bit of this novel written. Yet every good book needs three components, a beginning, a middle, and an end. Mine seems to be lacking that last part. I’m not quite sure how it’s going to get there, but I’ll keep trudging along, just not at the same crazy intense pace that I have been doing for the last 30 days. I told my wife yesterday that she has permission to nag me to finish this. I give you all the same permission.

Speaking of my wife, she is invested. She deserves me to finish this silly project of mine because bless her heart she has read every single word that I’ve written. Yup, every single word, if you can believe it. And not only that, she’s let me write while taking the kids, doing dishes, putting up with me talking about nothing else, etc, etc. Yes, my wife deserves a trophy I dare say. She has been wonderful while I have been putting myself through this literary madness exercise. I love her for it. Well, I loved her before it as well, but I love her even more.

I can hear the whole lot of you yelling from your computers and fancy smart phones as you are reading this.

“What the heck is your stupid book about??!!???” I’m sure some of you used even more choice language than that.

Well, what I thought it was going to be about in the beginning has evolved. I’ll tell you some things that it’s about, but don’t expect it to make sense.

It entitled Harvest Wind.

It’s about a teenage boy coming to grips with his stuttering disorder.

It’s about a young blossoming teen romance. (Yeah, I especially didn’t see that one coming either).

It’s about a murder mystery.

It’s about a people, a city, who live dual compartmentalized lives in a dream like world completely separate from their reality when they are awake.

It’s about a people fighting for survival.

It’s about a young boy coming to believe in himself as he tries to find his place in the world.

Is that enough to confuse you at least? The book took so many unexpected turns as I was writing it. There were many moments while I was writing that I laughed out loud by what one of my characters said or did. There were other times I could feel the love sickness that often times infects the hearts of those who are young. And there were times that I felt heart broken at the things that had happened. It was seriously an emotional roller coaster, not just feeling all the feelings of the main characters of my novel, but I also had all of the feelings of inadequacy come at me at times. There were several times throughout the month that I was attacked by, what the NaNoWriMo people call, my “inner editor”. This evil little thing often told me that my writing was crap, that this was a stupid idea, and that I should just call the whole damn thing off. I mean seriously, what was I thinking anyway? I got myself down several times thinking about the heap of rubbish that I attempted to call a novel in progress.

It very well maybe a big heap of … rubbish, but at least I proved that I could nearly write a novel in 30 days (over 80,000 words strong!). And if I can write a novel in thirty days I can do just about anything. Such as write a blog post at least once a week! Ha!

I’ve already had several people ask if they could read it. I want to at least finish the first draft before letting anybody touch it, but then I really need some people who have a good editing eye. Right now the book is untouched, riddled with inconsistencies and typos. I hope that some of you will please read this and help me make it better. If you would like to read a draft of this to help improve it, email me at pathologicallyspeaking (at) gmail (dot) com and I’ll add you to a list. Don’t hold your breath as to how long it might take me to complete the first draft. It feels like it still needs at least 10,000 more words, its kind of hard to tell.

And yes, I totally plan on doing this again next year, but I hope to enlist some friends in real life and on the web, to join me in this crazy challenge. Maybe you could join me next November.

Thanks for letting me ramble on this topic. I promise to shut up about it for a good year or so unless I really just want to tell you guys about one thing or another.

Now back to your regular scheduled blog program.Yes, I'm actually going to be writing about speech therapy stuff again.