Category Archives: Uncategorized

Welcome to The Chatterbox

The limits of my language are the limits of my world. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

I started this blog mainly to keep track of speech and language therapy activities that I have tried and want to try again, so I don’t have to re-do lesson plans each year.  But it’s also a topic that I’m passionate about and sometimes I feel I don’t do a good enough job of representing.  (For example.)  I truly do feel that speech-language pathologists make a difference, and it’s exemplified by the quote above.  If my kids (and adults) can’t communicate their basic wants and needs, let alone tell us their emotions or opinions, order a pepperoni pizza, or cheer for their favorite sports team, then their world truly is limited.  I know it’s not the most important profession out there by any means, but I chose it in the hopes of helping at least one person achieve at least one of those things. 

Anyway, welcome!  Sorry about the terribly lame blog name.  Blogging about speech pathology is certainly nothing new, so I didn’t have much to choose from.  Much of this blog will be about speech and language activities, but I’d also like to use it as a soapbox/advocacy area from time to time as well.  If you’re reading this as a friend or family member (HI DAD!), feel free to use it as a way to see what I do all day and why I ask you weird questions like, “Would you mind collecting all your empty toilet paper rolls and giving them to me?”  (Or feel free to not read it at all.  No offense taken here.)  

If you’re reading this as a fellow SLPeep, I hope some of these activities will inspire you, and I hope you’ll leave your ideas for activities as well!  One of my favorite things is emailing back and forth with a group of grad school friends about various SLP questions and issues,  I am always so impressed with their skills and knowledge, and I love being able to bounce ideas off of them.  As I’m a relatively new SLP, I’ll take all the advice I can get.

And now, I’m going to take a break from speech path to kick back with a Boston Lager and enjoy the most recent episode of Parks and Rec.  Cheers! 

A Tribute to Asheville

Sorry for the hiatus, y’all.  I don’t even really have a good excuse.  Hopefully no one missed me too much.  Anyway, I’ll be changing blogs soon.  When I took notes in school, I was incredibly OCD about it.  Everything had to be put under the right heading, and nothing was more frustrating than a professor who went back to a topic and there wasn’t enough room to add in notes under that heading.  Which is to say that I feel weird categorizing my new life changes under the blog I started to document my time in K-Town, so I’m going to scadoot on out of here after this post and create a new blog.  I’ll keep you posted.

What doesn’t feel weird, though, is ending my time here by posting about Asheville, NC.  In the short 10 months that I lived in Knoxville, I visited Asheville 3 times.  I had been hoping to go back at least once more before leaving, but I’ll have to settle with some memories for now.  I had a complicated relationship with Knoxville (libaries! aggressive conservatives! homogeneous neighborhoods! diabetes-inducing food!), but just 3 hours down the highway, I formed a loving and stable relationship with Asheville.  (Artists! breweries! delicious food! mountains!)  While I don’t know that I’ll travel back to Knoxville anytime soon, I will definitely be vacationing in Asheville

The most recent time we went there was with my family for a homebrewers’ festival.  The sun shone all day, the night was breezy, and the beer was flowing.  I’m so lucky to have found my own little southern niche there.

Easter

Easter went fabulously!  Much as I missed the family, it was nice to be able to celebrate with friends and then relax the rest of the day with a dollar show movie (Argo).  (Side note:  I’m behind the times on this but Argo was so very good, and also incredibly stressful.  I laughed, I cried, I sweated a lot.  Go see it at your local dollar show, or maybe Redbox.)

Brunch went off without a hitch, except for a lack of chairs.  You know you’re at a classy party when your guests sit on ottomans and exercise balls.  Most of the food was able to be prepared ahead of time, so the only things I had to make the day of were potatoes and bacon/facon.  The menu, with links for those interested in recipes:

Asparagus, caramelized onion, and Gruyere quiche – I used this formula with 4 ounces of Gruyere and 2 ounces of ricotta

Sweet potato and Russet potato home fries with chives

Fruit salad

Bacon and Morningstar fake bacon

Chocolate orange biscotti and pink grapefruit cake with homemade whipped cream

I fully intended on taking a picture of actual humans, but I forgot and only took pictures of food instead.  But don’t worry, photographing your food for the Internet is a thing now.

Home.

You guys, I’m officially an old person.  It’s Saturday night, and all I’ve been doing is cooking, cleaning, and listening to Carly Rae Jepsen.  I have an excuse, at least:  we’re hosting an Easter brunch tomorrow for friends who also live too far from home to make it back for the holiday.  The apartment has been a disaster zone for a while, so it was nice to finally get it straightened up.  I figured since I cleaned, I might as well play around with my camera and take you all on a tour of our apartment, since most of you will probably never see it.  It’s nothing fancy, but we’ve tried to spruce it up with our own little touches and reminders of home.

Now watching:  Flight of the Conchords:  Feel Inside (and stuff like that).  New Zealand comedy duo interviews kids to help write lyrics for a fundraising song.

Now listening:  Bombadil – Honeymoon

Now reading:  Sitting is the New Smoking

Now on to the tour!

Spring.

Finally, finally, the storms cleared on Friday and gave way to clear blue skies and a balmy breeze that whispered spring’s name.  I spotted some daffodils outside my apartment while I drank my coffee on the deck with a book in my lap.  Murray enjoyed his share of the weather, too, and joined his friend Knox on a romp at Ijams Nature Center.  The weatherman’s predicting snow on Thursday, but I’m not complaining.  I’m too busy celebrating the arrival of spring.

Now eating:  Sloppy tempeh Joes and cumin-dusted carrot fries

Now playing:  Kacey Musgraves:  My House

Now reading:  Musicophilia:  Tales of Music and the Brain

Therapy Gems

I follow a Twitter account called Preschool Gems, where a preschool teacher posts all the ridiculous things she overhears all day.  My days are pretty similar, only I hear even weirder things because I work in the boonies of Tennessee.  Here are some of the more ridiculous things I’ve heard in therapy….

On social skills

“I like your shirt….and your whole body is beautiful.” – T., age 6.  My all-time favorite.  I would like to point out that she doesn’t have autism or any other disorder involving poor social skills.

Student:  “You look really weird in the picture on your nametag.”
Me:  “Why do you think that?”
Student:  “I don’t know, you just have a weird face.” – Also from T., 6

“Did you see that colored boy?  He’s my cousin.” – S., 8.  Oh, I didn’t realize that when I drove to Huntsville, TN, I actually teleported back into the 1940s.

After practicing for weeks exchanging information about what we did over the weekend with a student who has autism:  “Miss Annie, I’m gonna ask you how your weekend was now.” – G., 11

Along the same lines, after months of practicing how to give compliments with another student who has autism, while sitting in a little kitchen area:

Me:  “D., this is my friend Miss Renee.”
D:  “Hi Miss Renee!  I like your microwave!”
Me:  “I like how you complimented her, but let’s think of something else you can compliment her on.”
D:  “There’s another microwave right there.  I like your other microwave, Miss Renee!”

On categorization

Me:  “How are a penny and a quarter different?”
“A penny is a dollar and a quarter is 10 cents.” – J., 11

Me:  “Name 3 seasons.”
“Football season, hunting season….and snow.” – K., 7.

Me:  “Name 3 states.”

Various answers I’ve gotten:
“Disneyland, Nashville, and Florida.”
“Knoxville, Nashville, and Scott County.”
Student:  “…..”  Me, trying very hard to get the student to name just one state: “You live in the state of Te…..”  Student:  “Texas?”

On concepts

Me:  “I’m thankful for my mom, my dad, and all my friends.  What are you thankful for?”
“Breakfast.” – J., 6

“Miss Annie, am I a pretty girl?” – G., 11, who is a boy.

On stellar reasoning skills

“That your brother?” – J., 6, while looking at a picture of the school’s football team.
Me:  “No.  My brother doesn’t live here.”
J:  “Where he live?”
Me:  “He lives in Missouri.  That’s where I’m from.”
J:  “He in jail there?”

On connections

While talking with a student who was convinced/trying to convince me he was Santa:

Me:  “Is my dog on the nice list, Santa?”
Student:  “Mmmm, I’m afraid he’s on the naughty list.”
Me, horrified:  “Get him off of there!”
Student:  “That’s harder than you think.  I’d have to talk to Elvin the Elder Elf, and he is not very nice to deal with.”
Me:  “Santa, what do you want for Christmas?”
Student:  “Oh, I just want to spend some time with Mrs. Claus.” – B., 10.

On teachers who have said ridiculous things

Teacher:  “What is your name again?”
Me:  “Annie.”
Teacher, confused:  “Annie??”
Me:  “Yes, Annie.”
Teacher:  “Are you saying….Annie?”
Me:  “Yeah, my name is Annie.  Like the orphan.”
Teacher:  “I’m sorry, you just have such a thick accent!”

Sign language interpreter:  “Where are you from?”
Me:  “Saint Louis…Missouri.”
Interpreter, looking dubious:  “Oh.  Whenever I see Joyce Meyer on the tee-vee, I always just think….WHY would someone want to live in Missouri?”  Thank you.  I think the same thing about Tennessee every time I drive through downtown Morristown.

A janitor, while discussing his back problems:  “I mean, I can’t even squeeze a fart out!”

Teacher, yelling at her rambunctious kindergartners:  “If yer daddy was here, would he be bustin’ yer tail right now??!”  (For a full image of what this looked like, watch this video and skip to 3:12.)

That’s all the gems I have saved up for now, although I’m sure I’ll have some more by the end of the school year.  Stay tuned!