Mindfulness in the Speech Room (Part 1) - The Mindful Minute

Mindfulness is SUCH a buzzword right now. Sometimes it feel like no one even knows what it means, am I right? The way I practice mindfulness in my own life, it is being present in the current moment, giving your brain a break, and noticing things within and around you. My school and district have created a big push for mindfulness in the classroom. But why is mindfulness so important, especially for our students with disabilities? I would LOVE to tell you all about it AND give you a FREEBIE to help you implement some of these strategies in your speech room or classroom.

When everyone is talking about how important mindfulness and how it will change your life is and blah, blah, blah.... you might wonder why it is worth even a minute of time in your already limited time with your students in speech. As someone with a mental health disorder, I can tell you first hand how life changing regular mindfulness practice is. Yes I said PRACTICE. Have you ever tried to meditate? I do it every morning, and it is HARD. I am literally exercising my brain like i do my muscles. Our brains are so used to being busy, we need to teach them how to rest. Can you imagine what our students' brains must be like. I want to give those little brains a BREAK! Enter my Mindful Minute Sticks. This freebie includes 12 breathing/mindfulness exercises for itty bitty communicators and a cheat sheet for you of how to explain them to your students in kid friendly language.

I put mine on popsicle sticks (actually tongue depressors, speechie problems), stick them in a Target Dollar Spot bucket, and I'm ready for mindful minutes! Depending on the student/group we either select a stick at the beginning of our speech sessions, at the end, or BOTH. To be honest our mindful minutes are approximately 20 seconds, but I have noticed such a huge difference in their focus and the general busyness of their little bodies.

Remember how I said earlier in the post that for me meditating for 10 minutes is HARD and I have to PRACTICE. I am an adult with the guidance of a professional therapist, give your students the time and space to PRACTICE this skills. The first few (or 100) times students might open their eyes and giggle at each other, fall off their chairs, sneeze during the most inopportune times, talk, or refuse to participate. That is ok. Let them practice. Let them learn. Also, students that are typically angels during the mindful minute might have an off day. You know what, sometimes I cannot calm my brain down during my morning meditation for the life of me. Give yourself and your students grace and time. This is such an important skill for their (and you).

Side note: If you haven't already started a mindfulness/meditation practice I HIGHLY encourage it. There are tons of guided meditations on YouTube, I LOVE the Calm app, people love Headspace. Whatever it is, start it. Try it. Practice it. It will make such a difference in your life and your work. I promise.

Make sure you check back next week for Mindfulness in the Speech Room (Part 2): Emotions Check-In

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