I am a DCPS Educator: Tinesha Williams
Tinesha Williams is a speech-language pathologist for both Aiton Elementary School and Drew Elementary School.
Speech-language pathologists identify children with specific disorders and delays related to language and communication, and provide therapy to help these students overcome the impact of these challenges on their academic success.
We asked Tinesha about her work at DCPS.
What should parents expect when they meet with you or when their child is receiving services from you?
I like to tell parents that it may take a lot of time to see progress. I also tell them it takes a team to help their child accomplish their communication goals and objectives.
This means that they have to be willing to work together with their child’s speech-language pathologists and teachers.
I like to encourage parents to self-educate themselves on their child’s communication disorder and about typical speech and language development. It is very important that they learn as much as they can about their child’s disorder so they can practice the things that are targeted in school, at home.
Parents should work with their child as much as possible. There are numerous opportunities to expose children to language.
Parents can play board games, read, sing and rhyme with their kids. Parents can take a trip to the zoo or grocery store and talk about the things they see. Language is everywhere.
What is your day-to-day like?
I have about 40 kids on my caseload, but this fluctuates throughout the year.
Throughout the week, I am at two different elementary schools, Aiton and Drew. Some days I mainly do paperwork and hold IEP team meetings. I prepare the speech/language section of a student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
I may be analyzing the results of a speech and language assessment and writing the report on my findings. I may be writing session notes or quarterly report cards, which provide information on how a child is doing in speech and language therapy.
When there are meetings scheduled, I collaborate with other related service providers working with the child, the student’s parents and the general education teacher to develop the student’s IEP.
During the rest of my time, I am working directly with students. I usually pull two to three students at a time to work on the objectives in their IEP. When I am working with my students, I try my best to make sure that the students are engaged and are having fun, but most of all that they are working on their IEP objectives.
For example, some of my younger students are working on their articulation skills. They are working on producing specific speech sounds in order to improve their speech intelligibility.
If we’re working on the “f” sound, I may make a scavenger hunt – I put different objects around the room and have them search for the objects.
Then the student names the objects to practice saying the “f” sound.
Can you talk about a time when you have learned from a student or how a student has inspired you?
Last year, I had an opportunity to work with a student who had a significant articulation disorder.
Normally, he was a very shy and quiet child, but he decided to change this. His New Year’s resolution was to participate more in class despite his disability.
I was truly excited for this child. He was determined to change and he did.
His teacher reported that he raised his hand to be called on in class more often, and that was awesome.
The big goal is for students with communication disorders to be able to access the curriculum and participate more in class, just like their peers. This student was beginning to accomplish this goal, and it truly inspired me as a speech-language pathologist.
Are there any online resources you would like to pass on to parents?
For more information about communication disorders, parents should visit the American Speech and Hearing Association website, www.asha.org.