There are so many things we know that people outside our field don’t know or understand – sometimes I think I’m in a “speech” cult or something! My husband is always giving me funny looks. Here are some words he has learned over the years:
- Spectrummy — First and foremost I am not able to diagnose autism. Don’t worry, I don’t even try! But “spectrummy” is a code word I use with other speech paths when we talk about certain behaviors students display. Whether it’s a lack of appropriate eye contact or rigidity during transitions, but there are lots of behaviors that come with autism that you see across the spectrum of students at school — many of which wouldn’t meet the criteria for autism, but I can describe in a shorthand kind of way with the word “spectrumy” when I problem solve with the other speech paths in my building.
- Pick up and drop — This year I share a space with two other speech paths. We talk about our caseloads and I’ll say “I’ll pick him up” or someone else with say “I’m dropping her.” Others might be confused by these terms — they only refer to managing our caseloads and speech eligibility!
- Eval — “Eval” can be both a noun (evaluation) or a verb (“I’m going to ‘eval’ him.”) I use this term *all the time.* I know it’s not grammatically correct, but I use it when I’m “talking shop” with my friends in special ed.
- Oral Mech — What a weird combo of words? “Oral mech”? What the what? All it means is an oral mechanism exam or when a student is getting an eval, I will also check out muscle strength and tone during my evaluation (lips and tongue primarily).
- Stimming — I remember when my husband first heard me use the word “stimming” he was totally confused. It refers to a behavior exhibited by a student with autism that helps him or her calm down their nervous systems. It might be flapping, waving hands or an object in front of their faces, or focusing on an object or character (many students “stim” on a cartoon character meaning they focus and perseverate on it too frequently.)
I pulled back the curtain to share some of the terms we use in our field. If you love someone who is a speech path, now you know some more insider vocabulary!
Bonus word by me: Therapize – Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like there needs to be a word for providing therapy. So that’s why I want to make up and use the word therapize. I don’t want to say I “gave that student therapy” or “provided that student his/her therapy minutes.” I need an all-in-one word!