Lots of Language

Join an SLP as she discovers what it means to do her job

Chaos, Mayhem, and two days of Fun!

on September 14, 2014

Thursday and Friday this past week, at my school, was assessment day.  This is when each child is scheduled to attend for half a day one of the two days and is assessed in the area of literacy.  My school uses the DIBELS Next program, I know nothing about this assessment so have no opinion either way regarding whether it’s better or worse than other assessments, it’s just what we use.  Each teacher take one student at a time and administers the test, while the remaining students are carted through stations throughout the school.  We had a movie room, an arts and crafts room, and others.

The OT and I were concerned because I was going to be in the Cafeteria “babysitting” (for lack of a better word) students in there while the OT was going to be testing 4th graders.  The reason we were concerned was because we both felt that, while important, neither of these jobs were within our scopes of practice nor were they a good use of our time and expertise.  Plus, both of us had planned to use those day to administer screeners for the 60+ kindergarteners, the OT for handwriting and me for speech/language.  These screeners are not required of us but we both feel strongly about early intervention and that while not directly related to the DIBELS Next testing it was directly related to literacy and the achievement of the kindergarteners within the school year (in that if we identify a need we can serve it, thus increasing the chances of the students success); which was kind of the whole point of the assessment.

The other issue was; I’m the new girl.  I don’t have any bargaining chips.  The OT had the ability to say, “I have never refused to do anything for the school, but I need to refuse to do this.”  I couldn’t say that.  They don’t know me.  They don’t know my work ethic.  They don’t know that I was willing to do what was asked if absolutely necessary, I just didn’t think it was absolutely necessary.  I also knew that if I didn’t stand up for my practice now I would be roped into doing these things for the rest of my time at the school and each time it would be harder and harder to say no.

So what did we do?  Well, the OT and I went and talked with the woman in charge of scheduling the two days and came up with a win-win situation in which the kindergarteners would be in our room for the two days and we would take turns doing the screening that we needed while the teachers did the assessment they needed.  And that is how I ended up with 63 kindergartners in my room over two days.

They really were fun days, and the kindergarten teachers were a big help.  The students were amazed that they got a day of pure playing and showed their enthusiasm with all the energy they could muster.  We had a couple different stations set up and it was a crazy free-for-all.  They could paint, jump on the trampoline, do somersaults, play with the kitchen, bean table, or farm toys.  We had puzzles and musical instruments.  It was pure chaos.  It was pure joy!

I used this screener and it was fabulous.  Very easy to use and easy to make clinical judgments based on the information provided.  I based my rescreen list off a 80% accuracy on the screener, i.e. any student below 80% will be re-screened in January.  I also hope to use some of this data as my artifact for my evaluation…

Anyway, this experience was definitely an exercise in standing by your scope of practice and your ethical responsibilities, but also being a team player and making sure that everyone’s needs are being met.

What experiences have you had with this?  Would you have done it differently?  Let me know!


One response to “Chaos, Mayhem, and two days of Fun!

  1. debfern says:

    I love it that you came up with this win/win situation. Way to go with the problem solving. And I love it that you have so much pride in your profession and yourself that you understand how important it is to find a solution that works for you and others. You definitely supported your colleagues and accomplished you goal for those days. Keep up the great work! You are awesome.


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