Two retirements were announced in the past few weeks by two gifted SLPs whose reach extends far beyond their own caseload. These women started blogging early on and shared countless ideas and resources, free to anyone who could use them. I have always admired their generous spirit and creativity; to me, they represent the best of our profession.
Cindy Meester’s Blog, “Speech Therapy with a Twist,” is a delightful compendium of ideas for making every aspect of school-based therapy fun, functional, and motivating. Cindy knocks herself out with amazingly creative theme units. The photos of her room decorations, the way she incorporates technology and literacy, and the many ways in which she builds multiple therapy lessons into a single theme are nothing short of inspiring! Just look at her posts! How could her students and teachers not love Cindy’s “twist” on therapy? I’m not sure how long Cindy has been blogging, but it seems to me that she was one of the pioneers who has been around at least as long my site. To maintain this high level of energy and enthusiasm for so many years — that should be the goal of all SLPs. Cindy has set a wonderful example for all of us and, through her blog, has left a detailed roadmap of inspiration for SLPs to follow into the future. Cindy will be retiring at the end of this school year, but will be maintaining some part-time involvement in private practice. This seems a wise move for Cindy; I can’t imagine this energetic SLP going cold turkey into retirement.
Ruth Morgan is another pioneer in blogging. On her blog, “Chapel Hill Snippets,” Ruth describes herself as “a mentor, speech pathologist, mom, wife, and technology junkie.” But that hardly says it all. Ruth has dedicated her energies to students who have significant disabilities. In post after post, year after year, Ruth has created and generously shared visual materials to support even the most challenged students in communicating and engaging in literacy activities. In addition, Ruth has shared lots of ideas on using the iPad in therapy, created easy-to-follow tech tutorials and data forms, and much more. While she has a great fondness for using books in therapy, she also sees potential lessons in everyday life, such as the social skills lesson she built around this funny political ad. As Ruth prepared herself for retirement, which took place about 2 weeks ago, she wrote a post for her replacement, but the message is one that we all should heed: Helpful Tips for Teaching a Language Group for Students with Severe Communication Challenges — outstanding advice to read and share. Those tips give us a glimpse of the insight, compassion, and dedication that Ruth brought to school each day. Like Cindy, Ruth is more “easing out” than cutting ties abruptly. After a vacation in Florida, she’ll join the board of New Voices Foundation and promises to keep blogging and creating.
Cindy and Ruth, I am sure I speak for countless SLPs when I thank you sincerely for your outstanding contributions to our field! You’ve certainly earned a very long and happy retirement. Congratulations on your wonderful careers. You are leaving a legacy of creativity and generosity that will continue into the future.
With best wishes,