Bridge to the IEP

Before I had my own blog to share ideas, I did some guest blogging with the help of my colleague and AT guru – Jim Tignor. I wanted to explore the topic of related services and how we fit into the IEP. Here’s what I think:

Basically, the IEP is a bridge to close the gap between where the student is functioning and the Common Core standards (in most cases). Related services (including SLP, PT, OT, and AT) are needed when a student can’t even access the bridge. These services are the on-ramp to the bridge. Once a student is on the bridge, these supports can be removed. A student may still have language deficits, but these deficits may not keep him/her from getting on that bridge.


Check out the full-length feature (with pictures!) here:

I’m curious as to how other school based professionals view related service supports. Are there any other theories out there?

Getting Started…

I’ve been talking about doing this for a while. I even went so far as to purchase the domain name and talk to some superstar bloggers about my plans (,, but this list of doubts kept playing in my head. Things like: “you have nothing to write about” (not true – I’ve been keeping a running list of things to write about for weeks), “you don’t have enough experience or knowledge to compete with the many AMAZING speech language pathology and AAC blogs out there” (that was never my intention), and lastly, “I don’t know how to start.” All very weak points, so I’m getting started.

I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in the spring of 2011. Being from Michigan, I never intended to stay in NC, but we had made some amazing friendships and I thought I had a pretty good shot at getting hired in Chapel Hill Carrboro City schools (CHCCS) – a good gig for a new graduate. There were three openings that year. One position was a split position: part-time traveling between a high school and middle school and also working as half of the assistive technology team in our district (working with I enjoyed my AAC class in grad school, but I had no idea what direction my career would go. During the interview, the lead SLP explained that the middle/high/AT position would not be ideal for someone completing their Clinical Fellowship. The interview progressed and I detailed all of my “AAC experience.” This consisted of observing and working with my awesome mentor – Ruth Morgan ( and bringing copies of reports and goals I had written in my AAC class. The interview went well, but I was ecstatic when CHCCS called to offer me an interview for the middle/high/AT position!

Fast forward 2.5 years and I truly believe I have found my passion in all things AAC. This blog is a way for me to share what’s worked for me and what hasn’t. I’m also looking forward to any constructive feedback and resources. Who knows where it’ll go?