Community Involvement and the SLP

Happy, happy summer, everyone! Here in Georgia, the heat and humidity are sweltering, but it is nice to have some time to rest and relax. I am a bit of an introvert, so it is sometimes hard for me to work full time in a very social setting and profession and then participate in social activities outside of school. Often, I need time alone to recharge. Summer break offers plenty of time for me to recuperate after the hectic school year.

As an introvert, I periodically have difficulty getting involved in community activities. On the other hand, I have seen how important it is for my students (and their parents) to see me in our small community and know that I support them both inside and outside of school. One of my goals for the next school year is to become more active in the community where I work. I have taken part in several things on and off, but I want to be more consistent. In the fall, I attended a Down Syndrome Buddy Walk which was coordinated by one of my girls’ mother. My sweet student was so happy to see me there, and I know her mother appreciated that I took time to come. I have joined students whose parents were unable to attend their Parent Day Lunch, and I have also lent a hand at class parties. I have cheered students on during Field Day, at parades, and at ball games. I have attended funerals and visitations. I have taught Bible School and church classes. The kids always light up when they see me, and any positive time I can spend with parents is great! They know I am not just someone who works on speech skills, but I care about the whole child. This summer, I am invited to a birthday party for a precious five-year-old with many debilitating conditions. I don’t think I’ll know anyone but the student and his mother there, but I am going to go. They need to know me, and they need to know that I care. So I will be there, even though it is hard for me, because I DO care, and because I have seen the positive difference community involvement makes. My own personal challenge is to keep making these connections on a consistent basis.

I hope you are able to see these differences in your own community, whether you are another educator or an SLP in a hospital, private practice, or school. It may take a little more effort, but the results are worth it!
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