By Leslie Lindsay
(image source: www.damselsinsuccess.com)
You may be super-organized and well ahead of me–and that’s great! But in case you are scratching your head as to how to honor your child’s SLP this holiday season, look no further!
Here’s how my search began about 5 years ago: a crowded suburban mall. Two kids under three. Sticky, pudgy fingers caked in candy cane residue from having just seen Santa. A weary mommy and an impatient daddy. I thought all of our gift purchasing was done. Until I remembered we had a very special person to buy for this year: Miss Jen, my daughter’s then speech-language pathologist (SLP). I bit my lower lip and looked out at the sea of mall kiosks. Flat-irons, scarves and mittens, hand lotion, and ornaments clouded my view.
I wheeled the double strolled to the personalized ornament stand. My eyes glazed over as I scanned the kiosk covered with every imaginable ornament: nurses, doctors, police officers, teachers, pets (a groomer!) video gamers…even hair dressers stared back at me. I cleared my voice and approached the cashier, “Um, excuse me…do you happen to have a speech-language pathologist?”
“A what?” The woman lowerd her glasses and looked at me like I had two heads.
“You know, a speech therapist? SLP?” I tried again.
She completely dismissed me. “Uh, no. Don’t think I do.”
I sighed, “Well I see you have lots of caregiver-type ornaments here…I just need one for my daughter’s speech therapist. How about one about talking? A big speech bubble or something?” I was desperate.
She handed me an ornament with a pink cell phone. Um, no.
So I culled the shelves again. Something had to work. I ultimately chose one in which there were two little girls in an embrace. They had red hair.
On the small space in which the ornament could be personalized, I had the woman enscribe, “Miss Jen, thanks for giving us the gift of voice.” (I had to come up with that on my own; the cashier/artist apolgizing, “I’ve never had this request before…I can usually come up with catchy sayings pretty easily.”)
And so it began: the yearly task of finding something unique for my daughter’s unique treatment of childhood apraxia of speech (CAS).
In the meantime, I did find some SLP-related ornaments on-line.
- Cafe Press http://www.cafepress.com/+speech-pathologist+ornaments?cmp=knc–g–us–occ–seasona–search-b–speech%20pathologist_ornament&pid=3607873&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=occupations%20seasonal%20-%20us&utm_content=search-e&utm_term=speech%20pathologist-ornament
- Several here…just scroll down to see them all: Advance http://shop.advanceweb.com/index.php/gifts-novelties/holiday/ornaments.html
Here are some other ideas for you to borrow, steal, or put your own spin on as you prepare for the holidays:
- Offer to donate a toy (new is best) to your child’s speech clinic. You can ask around and find out what toys are particularly good for speech purposes–the front desk staff or your child’s SLP can offer some good ideas.
- Give your SLP or her clinic a subscription to a magazine or journal. Make it a waiting room gift for all children and families to use like Highlights or People, or make it a little more personal (a bit more pricey) and give The Journal of Speech, Lannguage & Hearing Research http://jshd.asha.org/. Likewise, the American Journal of Occupational Therapy may be a nice addition http://www.aota.org/pubs/AJOT_1.aspx as well.
- Present her a gift card to a local teacher’s store or educational supply company. Like teachers, many of the activities and things your child does in speech therapy come out-of-pocket.
- Cater lunch for the staff. This works especially well if your child sees several professionals at one location, like a PT, OT, and ST. Lunch doesn’t have to be fancy–a footlong sub, chips, and drinks can feel like a feast for busy-no-time-for-lunch therapists.
- Send in morning coffee and bakery items from a local coffee shop or donut store. Many deliver.
- How about something like personalized stationary? A personalized mug or calendar? A bag/tote to carry all of her treatment plans and hand-outs.
- A heartfelt card explaining all of the reasons you are thankful for his/her services?
- Give her a book that has helped you along your apraxia/special needs journey. Here are a few to stoke the fire:
“Here’s How to Treat Childhood Apraxia of Speech” by Margaret (Dee) Fish, CCC-SLP. While this is mostly a text book written for students in an SLP program, your SLP will still gather some really great tips for use in the clinical setting. It’s a little on the spendy side, but well worth it. (http://www.amazon.com/Childhood-Apraxia-Speech-Plural-Publishing/dp/159756589X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355161689&sr=8-1&keywords=here%27s+how+to+treat+childhood+apraxia+of+speech)
Okay, shameless plug….