Since I first started speaking nationally in 2010, Johnny and I have referred to the period of time during the year when we travel to other cities and states to teach my courses as the ‘Road Show.’
Usually that’s in the fall, but this year, since we have no more kids living at home, we started earlier and traveled for longer periods than ever before. We also got to sneak in more fun along the way, rather than hurrying home to watch a high school ballgame or to make sure our teenagers weren’t doing what teenagers do when mom and dad aren’t home…
I have enjoyed every single event of every single year, but let me just say…Road Show ’14 was unbelievable!
Between June and today, November 23, I’ve made many, many new friends in each state we visited, including these 2 adorable young SLPs who drove all the way from Kentucky (my home state!) to Chicago to hear me this past week.
Each year, but during this one in particular, I have been privileged to officially meet several wonderful therapists who’ve emailed me, called the podcast, or who have bought so many products that I remembered their names! Before each event this year when I looked over course registrations, I immediately recognized a few names per city. (Yes, that’s my quirk!) Meeting them in person and hearing their stories is always so much fun for me! I loved finding out how they listen to the podcast, whether it’s driving between therapy visits to children’s homes or between clinical sites, while they exercise, or while they do chores like cleaning, filing paperwork, ironing, and gardening. This year, several SLPs told me they had used my materials in grad school and that I was their virtual mentor. Every time someone grabbed my hand and said, “I watch your videos all the time and I can’t believe I’m here,” it made tear up – as it does now as I remember.
So today, at our end of Road Show ‘14, as I drag myself around our house so I can recover and feel rested again, I find myself stopping to bask in the realization that I am living my dream.
All those years when I sat in course after course, usually in the back row, I imagined myself at the front of the room. I found myself wanting to teach courses that would be more about therapy than assessment. I wanted to share the nitty gritty lessons of “this is how you do it” rather than teach theory. I dreamed of inspiring younger therapists, helping SLPs who are brand new to EI or pediatrics, and I even hoped that I could somehow rekindle that spark for seasoned clinicians. My goal was to discuss the realities of day-to-day therapy with toddlers and their families and provide solutions that don’t come from textbooks, but from what’s worked for me in living rooms, kitchens, McDonalds Playland, basements, backyards, daycare rooms, corners, and even closets as I’ve treated my little friends.
Mostly, I wanted to talk about the FUN of ‘real life’ therapy since, more often than not, this job is a blast! When you work with very young children in early intervention and preschool, you see much more success than our colleagues who work with any other population. There are many things we can do to make that success more likely with toddlers, and my dream has always been to teach other people what works so that they can get straight to the good part and perhaps skip some of the uncertainty of “Am I doing this right?”
This year, like no other, I feel like I’ve gotten to do that.
So at the beginning of this week of Thanksgiving, I want to be sure that I pass along a great big THANK YOU to all of you who attended any event for Road Show ’14 whether it was in San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Houston, Evansville, New Orleans, Fort Wayne, Akron, St. Louis and ALL THREE TIMES in Chicago…
I am convinced that I had more fun than any other speaker out there!
Thanks to you, I am unbelievably grateful that I get to do this part of this job!
Wishing you a wonderful, short work week and a very Happy Thanksgiving!