What tools do you really need when you are working as a speech and language therapist? We have written before about resources, games and assessment, but what are the other go-to things we use day in and day out? These are the bits you find out about along the way, and that I find myself having to explain to my accountant!
- Laminator. A good quality laminator. I hate to think how many hours I have spent feeding sheets through one! I have been very lucky and still have my first lamintor that my in laws bought me when I qualified. It has a few battle scars and has survived 2 house moves! Buy the best one you can afford. On that note, also try and buy the thicker 250micron laminating pockets – this will save you hours of re-making resources after they have been chewed and bent!
- Dice. Now, you obviously get dice with games, but I have a range of different ones that I use for different purposes. I have a 7-12 dice for working with older children when you want them to think of more ideas. I have big squashy die for children that are likely to throw them off the table, so they don’t get lost. I also have die where you can put pictures in each side. There are lots of options!
- Stickers. I am always on the look out for new stickers. We all know that speech therapy doesn’t work without stickers and bubbles! Star Wars and Frozen are still very popular at the moment.
- Pens. I LOVE stationary, so I will happily try out new pens. I love the friction pens that are ink, but that you can rub out. I have them in lots of different colours. This is great for mind maps or colourful semantics work. I have one young lady who insists I use a different coloured pen each week to make my session notes! It’s also amazing how easy it is to leave pens in different places. So make sure you have more than one!
- White boards. I have a few of these as well. I have ordinary wipe clean ones and also magnetic ones. I use these for now/ next boards that you create on the spot, recording words/ ideas/ sentences so you can work on them, teaching new vocabulary – the list goes on. Top Tip – take a photo of the work you have done with the child before you clean the board!
- Printer. This is similar to the laminator however I have been through lots of these! I now have a business user ink deal, so you pay a little each month and they send you new ink before the cartridges run out! Fab and much cheaper than buying them individually. One day, when I have the room I’m going to buy an A3 printer so I can print out game boards and bigger images!
- Sat Nav. Now I spend nearly every day driving around the country side, so I find a Sat Nave invaluable. I just have an app downloaded on my phone, but I couldn’t be without it! Just make sure you have a charger in the car so you don’t kill your phone battery.
- Bags/ boxes. Storage in general. This has become more of an issue now I am self employed and not only have children’s files, but also all my resources to deal with. I feel like I am always buying pockets and folders so I don’t loose pieces of puzzles and bits of paper! I also have a few young children who recognise me by my big bag with an apple on! I used to have a marvel iPad cover and now have a similar bag. You can start up some great conversations with these – either children being surprised that I can name all the characters or a few girls telling me that those are for boys!
- Game counters. Now this is something I am forever losing! Just the small, flat discs. They are useful for so many games and tasks. You can use them to mark syllables in words, or words in sentences. To keep track of the score or as markers on a game.
- Lunch box. This isn’t a necessity, but it is nice to have! I always feel silly going into staff rooms with my squashed sandwich in a carrier bag! So I now have a real, grown up lunch bag! Although to be fair my water bottle currently has storm troopers on, so not so grown up!
What other non speech therapy things do you use all the time?