Why you can never move (and why your SLP deserves a Christmas gift!)

Screenshot 2013-12-27 13.49.55Clipart by: Kari Bolt and Creative Clips

Dear Parents of the FIVE children that are moving this week,

I know you don’t see me very often, but I want you to know how involved I have been in your child’s education. You should know that before anyone else in the school had even uttered your child’s name, I knew it and had a file on her. ย I had contacted her previous school and knew her current levels. That was before she even had a name tag on her desk.

And even though you couldn’t attend all of her IEPs, I wrote you letters. I made phone calls. I tried to figure out your current phone number when you had changed it. I worked with her teacher to figure out how she was doing in all academic areas and functional areas. I developed goals that I thought would be appropriate for her levels.

Although I only worked with her twice a week, I did so in a small group and really got to know her. I knew her favorite colors. I knew her brother’s name. I knew about the vacation you took last summer and how she fell on the sidewalk and cried.

I made games specifically with her favorite character in them. I put that character into visual schedules. I posted it around her classroom and my own. I may have even bought a few of those stickers for her once. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I worked with your child for (up to) six years. I saw her go from a tiny little thing to a pre-adolescent. I noted every single strength she had. I praised her accomplishments over the years, even when her classroom teacher couldn’t see the progress that had been made.

When I did her re-evaluations, I got down to the nitty gritty and tried to figure everything out. I wanted to know how she “ticked”. I wanted to know what areas were real strengths and what areas needed significant improvement for her to be successful. I wrote pages and pages about her.

And the meetings. You probably never realized how much time I spent talking about her in meetings. Hours and hours of meetings about your child: Meetings about ways that the school could work to help her better; Meetings about behavior support plans; Meetings about Meetings.

Please know that your child has a big place in my heart. I have cared about her and fought for her and thought about her far beyond the small amount of direct therapy time that is on her paperwork. A piece of my heart is being ripped out by her move. I will miss your child greatly.

Love,

Your child’s Speech-Language Pathologist

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15 Comments

  1. You pulled my heart strings. This happened to me just last week and it devastated our team that had worked so hard for this one child. I hate it when it happens ๐Ÿ™
    Jenn

  2. such a heart felt letter! I haven’t worked in the schools that long, but once I had a rehab patient for over 100 days. I brought that person from NPO to eating a regular diet throughout that time! We spent SO much time together! I now am very good friends with her family and I visit her at her nursing home a lot. Our hard is job emotionally and I think that is an underestimated part of our job!

  3. I just shared this on Facebook! I feel this way every June- it’s wonderful watching them move on and horrible letting go.

  4. I love thispost! Living in a low income area my students move ALL time. If they move one or two streets away into a new apartment, they are placed at another school. Due to this many of us SLPs in the district find kids “ping-ponging” back and forth. Frustrating as some even move back to Mexico where they don’t get services or school at all. We spend so many hours trying to figure these little kids out that it’s hard to let them go and hope someone will care as much as we do!

  5. Love this! I definitely feel you on this one. Kids seem to move in and out like a revolving door in my district. Right when you get attached, there they go…
    Lauren
    BusyBeeSpeech

  6. I love this. I am a CF, but I work at title 1 schools that have a large military presence. So far this year I have had a few students leave very suddenly and have been both sad and frustrated after working with them for just a short time. I can only imagine what that would be like after years and years.

  7. When you love what you do it’s because the people you work with take and hold a piece of your heart.

  8. Over the past 5 years I have worked on an infantry post which has yearly deployment rotations meaning children are coming and going faster than you can complete the testing. So as heart breaking as it is for you to see those students who you have invested so much time move, I celebrate your accomplishments. Even if the parent may have no idea how many times you’ve thought, worried, wondered about their child, we SLPs who have experienced it know what you have and will continue to go through. And in spite of it all, I say “Thank You”…to you…to all the SLPs out there that are willing to keep pushing, keep fighting, keep trying for their kiddos no matter how long or how short a time they have them on their caseload. Thank you and never give up!

  9. Thanks for sharing a situation in such a touching way. I hope that the new school recognizes the time and effort you’ve put in and takes good care of her.

  10. Please pass the Kleenex. And how I wish you were part of my godson’s team. Your kind of caring is beyond amazing.
    xo jj

  11. I echo all the above comments–and also want to say, all your effort isn’t for nothing. Something came out of those hours spent with that child.

  12. Ohhhh – love it!!! I so wish you were my son’s speech therapist!!! I may have to move!! ๐Ÿ™‚ I know good came out of all your love and care for this child and all the others you serve. Thank you for taking the time to really figure her out, what motivated her, what helped the most – for buying her special stickers – for giving her hope and confidence. Speech therapists like you are worth your weight in gold. I am grateful for you – for her!!! Thanks for doing what you do!!!

  13. Thank you so much for putting this into words. I too have had students grab those heart strings, make “huge” but largely invisible progress, then vanish as the family moved with little to no warning. It is sad and frustrating

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