This year for our annual fall professional development offerings, we came together in new ways – more often, in new combinations and on new topics!
All the growth we’ve seen in our cohort of school psychologists meant that we were able to host two very different presenters, targeting multiple audiences within our Hello specialist group! We invited Amy Graham, an SLP out of Colorado Springs with extensive knowledge and experience in the treatment of speech sound disorders, to talk with our SLPs and SLPAs hungry for new ideas on the treatment of residual speech sound errors. The very next week, school psychologist Dr. Byron McClure spoke to a mixed group of Hello school psychs, SLPs, and SLPAs about a strength-based approach to mental and behavioral support in the schools.
The topics were a good fit for our group, and participant feedback following the events highlights the breadth of information our school-based specialists are looking for. There is always a strong interest among THFers in evidence-based strategies for treatment, ideas for collaboration and staff education campaigns, and self-care techniques. Following each of these presentations, Hello specialists were invited to a brown-bag lunchtime virtual debrief session. Attendees from the events continued the learning by discussing reflections, takeaways, and connections they made at the presentations.
Some of the comments I heard:
- “I absolutely loved how practical this entire presentation was. There are so many specific, direct takeaways and strategies.”
- “I’m looking forward to exploring Amy’s website and other resources she provided.”
- “This presentation helped me reframe my thinking on how to best support some of the students I’m working with. They have a lot of people telling them what they’re doing wrong, and I can offer them some support by pointing out what they are doing right.”
- “While the concept of focusing on strengths over weaknesses isn’t entirely new, this was a much-needed reminder of how important it is and how pervasive and significant the problem of a weakness-based perspective is.”
- “The speaker was a warm, genuine person, and his engagement with the group was wonderful. It felt interactive.”
As important as these topics are, the act of gathering together carries equal importance for us. Our professional development events are based on learning, along with building connection and engagement. For specialists based in schools across multiple states, this learning community is warm and welcoming. We can acknowledge the challenges we all face in our buildings while providing support, understanding, encouragement, and tools.
Dr. McClure provided a quote from Dr. Christopher Peterson: “We must be as interested in building the best things in life as in repairing the worst.” Our Hello community for professional development is certainly one of those best things in life. We’re always looking for fresh new ideas and presenters, so please reach out if you or someone you know would be interested in presenting to our group.