5 Tried-and-True Ways To Pay Off Student Loans As A Therapist

On February 7th, 2019, I paid off my student loans that I accumulated in college from 2009-2016. I have two advanced degrees: a Bachelor's in Communication Sciences and Disorders from an out-of-state public school, and a Master's from an in-state public school. At graduation from graduate school, I had close to 80k in debt to private and federal student loans.

It took me from May of 2016 (graduation) - February of 2018 to pay off all of my debt, including student debt. That is less than two years.

I had $73,783.00 of total debt in October of 2017, which is when I went crazy on my student loans and car debt. Before October 2017, I was paying off around 12k/year on my federal student loans and private loans. However, I was still accumulating car debt in the meantime, and using credit cards (I paid off the balance each month, but it is debt, nonetheless).

So, How Did You Pay It All Off?

This is a long answer, but I will try to be succinct. I credit Dave Ramsey and his materials of The...

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5 Ways to Implement Core Vocabulary in the Classroom

Core vocabulary. You've probably heard about it. You may know the benefits it can provide to people who use AAC (augmentative alternative communication). But using it?! It can be difficult to wrap your head around using core vocabulary in the academic setting. Let me help you with that!

Here is a definition of core vocabulary: Core vocabulary refers to the small number of words that make up > 70-90% of what we say on a daily basis. These words are relevant across contexts and can have many meanings (Core Vocabulary Studies and Core Word Activities, www.prentrom.com). 

An example of core vocabulary include: help, stop, go, I, you, me, want, drink, eat, like, feel..... the words go on and on!

What core words are (generally) not: nouns, names, proper nouns, some adjectives (that we don't use frequently). 

Why do we AAC SLPs often like and recommend core vocabulary? Because it's giving people who use AAC access to words that people with typical speech use the most....

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How To Do AAC For Free


One of the things I pride myself in is my ability to do AAC with no cost to myself. I mean... AAC is worth spending money on if you need to. But, sometimes it's just not possible. If you're a speech-language pathologist (SLP) like me, or a teacher, spending money on devices, apps, or materials isn't always an option. Here are the ways I've done AAC with $0.00.

Get a Free iPad

You heard me right. Get yo'self a free iPad, people! It's totally possible. Here are the four ways I have gotten a free iPad in the past:

1. Donor's Choose: If you work in a school as a teacher or SLP, go to Donor's Choose and register with them. Choose an iPad and a case. Share the link on your social media pages, and you can fund yourself an iPad! The first time I funded one in less than 24 hours. It's not difficult and totally worth it! 

2. Apply for a grant: While working in the schools, I applied for a grant for a free iPad through a local organization. I used HEAL (available to you...

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5 Tips For Parents to Implement AAC at Home

Parents' and guardians' participation in AAC is crucial for the child who uses AAC. Communication using augmentative alternative communication cannot be taught 30-60 minutes a week in a therapy room. It can be implemented in therapy, but the best outcomes occur when the AAC device or system is implemented across settings, throughout the entire day. 

Easier said than done, let me tell ya!

Here are 5 tips to help a parent or guardian implement AAC with their child:

1. Implement the AAC system during a daily routine

There are common things every child does throughout their day. A wake up routine, a bedtime routine, and mealtime routines (or feed routines if using a feeding tube). 

These times would be a great place to implement some expressive language and AAC! Think of language a speaking or typically developing child would want to say. For example, "get up" or "wake up" for the morning routine. "Put on shirt," "choose shoes," "make breakfast."

Choose a few words or phrases...

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