Last night, I received an email from a Speech Language Pathologist in Southern California. She has allowed us to share it here in hopes of inspiring other children, professionals and parents to use Story Grammar Marker® in a similar way.
My 4th grade client just completed this (below) during his session—thought you would like to see! I’m not the best at all the ins and outs of Story Grammar Marker® but I wanted you to know how powerful it is for children in this time of unexpected crisis! This client is 10 years old, and diagnosed high-functioning autism spectrum disorder and anxiety disorder. He’s so upset about having to homeschool, in tears at the beginning of the session. Sorry my handwriting isn’t a little more legible, but I was writing in a hurry as he was creating his narrative while holding the student SGM® tool in his hands! By the end of our session, after working things out with SGM®, he generated the three things that are nice about homeschooling—all by himself!
I love your work and have happily used SGM® with this client for about a year now, once a week in private speech. Thank you so much for all you do!
This email and transcription of this child’s story/thought process shows the ongoing process of resilience – and how we—as professionals and parents—can assist children in developing this trait! The very ability to think about, and talk through, an “uncertain situation” is valuable to all of us as members of a large world community.
In life, situations occur such as tornadoes, blizzards, accidents and other tragedies. All of these are situations that we can see. The coronavirus is an unseen threatening disaster, which to children can be daunting. Whatever the tragedy, such situations call for time to express feelings, think the situation through, talk to others about our feelings and thoughts, and ultimately problem solve in order to survive! We are asked to overcome embedded obstacles and ultimately to build resilience on the journey toward healing.
Currently, we hear about the results and impact of the coronavirus worldwide, and are aware of the unseen threat by actions taking place within our own country, towns and homes. This week my nephew Erik posted a meme with a quote from The Fellowship of the Ring (J.R.R. Tolkein) and I thought it was particularly relevant to this crisis that is happening in our time.
All people, but especially our children, need a means of self-expression as they experience and process such situations. We may talk, draw or write about our experiences. If we create a small discussion group, some will seem to talk freely, others will listen quietly, still others will react emotionally or behaviorally…all… to the same Kick-Off or stimulus!
As the above lesson using the Story Grammar Marker® shows, our approach assists students to organize their oral language in order to begin and sustain a discussion and written responses!
Today, in an online session, I commented on the variety of feelings related to the coronavirus stated by my grandchildren, ranging in age from 5 to 18! The Kick-Offs varied by age: from being home, without the company of friends, to the canceling of a St. Patrick’s Day Parade and festivities, to sadness about senior year in high school being cut short or not happening at all, followed by an expression of fear for small children in the community possibly being left alone, unattended and hungry!
It is important to note the ideas and outcomes expressed about the coronavirus by the fourth-grade boy. He creatively took the perspective of the coronavirus itself, before thinking about the outcomes for himself. The process of using the SGM® helped him frame and organize his many feelings and thoughts as he journeyed to express them clearly to a willing listener.
Such a process allows the listener to comment, elaborate, clarify and provide direction. We thought you would like to see this letter and explanation, and please, if you have our tools, please use them at this vital time in world history and personal strife!
Maryellen Rooney Moreau
Maryellen Rooney Moreau, M.Ed., CCC-SLP, is the founder of MindWing Concepts. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Disorders at University of Massachusetts at Amherst as a Commonwealth Honors Scholar, and a Masters of Education in Communication Disorders at Pennsylvania State University. Her forty-year professional career includes school-based SLP, college professor, diagnostician, and Coordinator of Intervention Curriculum and Professional Development for children with language learning disabilities. She designed the Story Grammar Marker® and has been awarded two United States Patents. She has written more than 15 publications and developed more than 60 hands-on tools based on the SGM® methodology. Maryellen was awarded the 2014 Alice H. Garside Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Dyslexia Association, Massachusetts Branch.