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A day in the life

Susan Ebbels, speech and language therapist

"I am in school three days a week, and usually arrive for a staff briefing at 8.45. Next is the school literacy programme, when all staff read with the children for 20 minutes. On Fridays, for example, I join in with a key stage 3 class, their teacher, support assistant, one of the residential care staff, an IT technician and a nurse. It's good that all the staff are involved, so the children see it's not just the teachers and therapists who read.

I spend at least an hour every day helping in English lessons, and in personal, social and health education. Today, for instance, I was teaching grammar in a key stage 3 class, using shape coding to explain the past tense.

The rest of the time I take individual or paired sessions, or work with groups of children. One of my larger groups is a social skills group, and I am teaching them interactive skills: eye contact, listening and conversation, and friendship skills. I also have a large key stage 3 group; I am introducing them to Thrass and cued articulation.

I work with my own case-load of five children, assessing their needs, maybe pairing them with a child with similar needs.

I co-ordinate the electropalatography work across the school, and train other staff in this.

Then there is lunch duty, administration - writing up assessments or annual reviews - and meetings or phone contact with parents.

Every week I liaise with my class team. Once a term, I run a meeting of a special interest group from the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.

When I worked in the community as a speech therapist I had a couple of hundred children on my case load. It's amazing that now, with only five, I still feel just as short of time. You never seem able to give them as much therapy as you would like.

But they are a lovely group. I find them rewarding and intellectually stimulating: they are so complex, and there's always something you've never seen before."

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