Friday, April 27, 2007

As it should be

The main goal of therapy for a group that I used to see was functional communication.  During one session, the clients were playing with toy cars on a mat. One of them used his talker to tell the others what to do with their play. He then laughed this infectious laugh when they did what he said to do. It was really adorable. Later in the session, we were going to play with a large ball that I had on top of a cupboard. I asked who could get the ball down. They all answered that they could. I then asked each one to get the ball down. The first child tried. He couldn't reach. One of the children ran over to the talker and hit the "oh no" button to say "oh no! We can't get the ball." He did this repeatedly. So, after about 5 minutes of this, I helped them figure out that only I could reach the ball. We then played ball and again one boy used his talker to direct play and comment. That is how augmentative communication therapy is supposed to work!


I think everyone needs to hear how they are doing on the job. In many jobs, people hear if they aren't doing things well. I think managers have more difficulty saying when people are doing a good job. Sometimes people really need to hear, "wow, great job on that." Well, and feel like it is sincere as well. :)

Some jobs have a lot of extrinsic rewards and praise. Others have more intrinsic rewards. Speech/Language therapy is a profession with intrinsic rewards. We get paid a livable wage but it isn't stellar. We are supposed to be motivated by the feel good factor or our patients/clients/students making progress and knowing that we are helping people. However, when working with people with severe/profound cognitive impairment, the progress is smaller and can be difficult to see at times. Therefore, it can be harder to get that feedback and intrinsic reward. I think that is part of why the field of cognitive impairment has such a high burn out rate. However, when someone does something for the first time, that really is the feedback that makes me happiest.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Confidence boost

On Tuesday, I had an important meeting so I decided to dress a little nicer than usual. On Sunday, I went shoe shopping because I don't have any shoes that look good with brown skirts. I went to three stores. I didn't see what I was looking for in the first two. In the third, I found the perfect pair. They were adorable. I asked for them in my size and they fit! Not only did they fit, but they were comfortable. I couldn't believe a pair of pumps could be comfortable but these were. Of course I bought them and then went on to look for a new blouse. I wasn't as lucky there and didn't find what I was looking for (not that I knew what I was looking for).

So, eventually I went home and on Monday I planned my Tuesday outfit. On Tuesday, I got dressed and put on a bit of makeup. It felt nice. I was in a meeting all morning and during a break in the meeting, I talked to a mate on the stairs. While talking about my outfit and new shoes, someone walked by and said that I looked elegant today.

When walking from one bus to another after work, I felt myself walking differently. I stood taller. I felt better. I felt more confidence. At knitting, a fellow knitter oohed over my shoes as well. It is funny how a little change such as a pair of shoes and a skirt can make you feel better, more confident. I may just wear more skirts to work.

Monday, April 23, 2007


One of R's and K's favorite parts of their trip to Ireland was the sheep that we encountered on the side of the road on our drive from Galway to Letterfreck. It was fun to see them wandering around on the side of the roads. It reminded me of Norway at times.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Kylemore Abby

On our last day on the west coast, we drove up the coast to through some "mountains" up to see Kylemore Abby. It is near Letterfreck and quite pretty. Kylemore castle was built 1867-1871 by Mitchell and Maragret Henry. The grounds have a Victorian walled garden, castle, and Gothic church. It set on a small lake in the mountain side which makes it quite picturesque. It became the home of the Irish Benedictine Nuns since 1920. The gardens are quite nice and it would be lovely to spend a good part of an afternoon there having a picnic enjoying the sun sitting on one of the many benches.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Aran Islands

Since the weather was so wonderful, we decided to go to the Aran Islands. R and I looked through the guide book and talked about what we wanted to see. We also decided that spending the whole day on the island probably would be too much for K. So, we took the ferry in the afternoon and then started hiking. And hiking. And hiking. We managed to see two of the 4 historical sites that we wante to see. We got back by the town 30 minutes before the ferry left to go back to the mainland and did a blitz shopping. Gotta have time for shopping...

Cliffs of Moher

Yep, this means yet more pictures. And there is even one attempt at a self portrait of the three of us. :)

Since we were on the west coast, I decided that R and K should see the Cliffs of Moher. I had seen them before and have posted pictures before but this visit was different because the visitor centre is now finished. I know that doesn't seem like it should make a difference, but it does. It does because they also expanded where you can go, and therefore you can get a better view of the cliffs. Overall, I like that you can now see a bit more of the cliffs.

West Coast

I know I came back from Galway a while ago, but I am still posting pictures. :) These are of the west coast of Ireland. While in Galway, we drove through the Burren to the Cliffs of Moher (I'll post them separately), Connemara, and a bit further north. It is amazing how much the land changes along the coast, especially since Ireland is such a small country. Small, but very varied.