An Interview with our Speech-Buddy: SLP, Blogger and Oklahoma Tornado Survivor Amy Minor
Though she is known as a speech pathologist, blogger at Major Speech Pathology Fun and avid fan of Speech Buddies, Amy Minor is also a survivor of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado. While many Speech Language Pathologists around the country wrap up their school year, Amy and the others in her district are cleaning up the pieces the tornado left and figuring out how to rebuild. As you might imagine, the tornado left little of the schools, let alone their supplies. Today, Amy tells us a bit about Moore, the recovery, her experience as an SLP in Moore, how to help and why Amy considers Speech Buddies an essential tool kit to keep in the Moore Schools.
1.) Tell us a bit about your position, the school, your caseload etc. and anything you’d like readers to know about Moore that may not have already read your blog.
My name is Amy Minor and I am a speech pathologist at Moore Public Schools. Last school year, I was at an elementary school and a junior high, but this next school year I will be at two junior high schools. Although I love all ages of students, junior high students are my passion. We have many special programs for students with autism and intellectually disabled students. One of the two schools that were destroyed had a pre-kindergarten class for developmental delayed students and a classroom that specialized in autism.
2.) How did and will the tornado affect Speech Language Pathologists and students in your district?
The tornado not only directly impacted the teachers and students at Plaza Towers and Briarwood Elementary Schools. The tornado impacted all of us on a big level. In Moore Public Schools, our faculty and staff are very close. Many of the teachers live in the same neighborhoods as teachers from other schools. Since the tornado hit a large portion of Moore, there were many teachers and students that were ok when they were at school, but when they went home there was no home. In that case, this tornado affected our community to a big extent. Our district administration building was hit during the tornado and we just recently were notified that the building will have to be rebuilt due to structural instability. They will be moving the administration building to empty classrooms in one of are largest elementary schools in Moore. The administration also made the decision to not separate the faculty and students that attended the two schools that were destroyed. Those faculty/staff and students will go to school at nearby churches so they can stay together as one instead of dispersing them among the other elementary schools. I think this will be closer to what those people know as “home” within their school and will help return some normalcy to their school day. The tornado will continue to affect our district for some time. We had a tornado come through Moore in 1999 and people STILL talk about that day and the changes that the ’99 tornado brought. I believe May 20th, 2013 tornado will bring about the same continued conversations over time. By talking about it is how we heal and move on though.
3.) How have you used Speech Buddies in the past and how will you use the Speech Buddy Starter Sets?
I have used Speech Buddies with my elementary students and my junior high students. I think they are a tool that helps the student find that “ah ha” moment on where to place their articulators when attempting to produce a precise sound. I used them with my student with intellectual disabilities, students with articulation disorders and students with apraxia. Here is a blog post on my review of Speech Buddies previously. The four Speech Buddy Starter Sets donated by Articulate Technologies will be given to each of the four therapists that were directly affected by the tornado at the two destroyed elementary schools. I intend to do a little demonstration at our first monthly speech meeting to show how Speech Buddies work and how the speech pathologists can use these special tools to aid their students with articulation development. These Speech Buddy Starter Kits will be a wonderful addition to the two schools that have lost everything. These will continue to help students for a long time.
4.) Why was Speech Buddies was one of your first calls after the disaster?
Speech Buddies was one of my first calls after the disaster because I knew from the communications with Articulate Technologies in the past that the staff were very caring and understanding. I thought right away that Speech Buddies would be a great addition to replacement of materials at the two schools as the Speech Buddies can be used to help students with various types of disorders. As Moore has a higher amount of special education students than most districts, I knew Speech Buddies would be very beneficial.
5.) How can others support or donate to the school/speech department?
We have received a large response from speech pathologists all over the country wanting to donate some of their gently used materials to help the Speech Language Pathologists who lost everything. We are part of such a giving profession that truly cares for one another. I am blessed to be a part of this profession and be served by companies like Articulate Technologies that have offered generous donations. We recently raised over $19,000 through Teachers Pay Teachers and Fundly, so we decided to take down the links and put them up again in July to help raise money for Shawnee, OK, another local town that was affected by the tornado. If you would like to donate speech materials to the speech pathologists or special education teachers in Moore, e-mail me and I’ll provide you with an address to send your donations.