Summer Break for a School-Based SLP
When you think of summer break, you likely think of vacation time. Opportunities to rest, relax, and recharge the batteries all come to mind. Unfortunately, if you’ve recently become a school-based speech-language pathologist or considering making a career switch to working in schools, summer break might look a bit more like work than the vacation time you had intended.
Some SLPs might believe that working in schools is settling instead of a more exciting speech pathologist role. The truth is, for many school-based SLPs, summer break can be an opportune time to take advantage of many things you may not have been able to do during the school year.
Take on Additional ESY Hours
Not every student can receive all of the speech therapy time they need during the school year. For this reason, many students have Extended School Year hours built into their IEPs. Without ESY time, some students regress over the course of a three-month summer break. School-based speech pathologists who take on ESY time with students are able to keep their own skills sharp and work with a caseload they may not have been able to during a typical school year. It’s a win-win for both SLP and student.
School may be out for students but for school-based speech pathologists, school may only be getting underway. Summer break is a great time to schedule your own continuing education summer classes to brush up on skills, learn new techniques, or renew any additional certifications. The school year sometimes includes some professional learning days, but is that really enough time for you to benefit from all the continuing education opportunities available to you? Bonus: Many courses can be taken via the internet so you can spend more time at home during summer break.
For some school-based speech pathologists, summer is the time to take on some private speech therapy clients. Whether you meet face-to-face or provide teletherapy, summer break is perfect for picking up additional private speech therapy patients. This is a great opportunity to work with a variety of patients, from young to old.
Many organizations are in dire need of trained professionals, like speech-language pathologists, but due to funding or budget cuts are unable to employ them. This means thousands of people in need of speech therapy services go without getting the help they need. Volunteering your time as an SLP can be rewarding not only for the people you’re helping but personally rewarding as well.
Once again, working with a different clientele and making strong networking connections with the organizations you volunteer with can offer new adventures and opportunities you may not have thought about before.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take any time for yourself during the summer but finding new and interesting opportunities can be a great way to tell your students what you did on your summer break.
Do you have any helpful suggestions for summer break? Share with us in the comments section.