Motivation, humor, and ideas that every speech-language pathologist who works with children will love!

A Speech-Language Pathologist’s Praise for

The Internet is filled with lots of websites. Lots and lots. In fact, Internet Live Stats currently shows that there’s over one billion websites out there and it’s climbing higher and higher each and every single day. So with that being said, I think it’s safe to say that there sure isn’t a lack of things for us to read on the good ol’ World Wide Web.

At times, finding quality amongst quantity can be difficult.

With the sheer number of websites that are available for us to consume, sometimes the amazing ones get lost in the shuffle because they get surrounded by a huge collection of mediocre ones. What a shame! Well, I’m here today to brush away some of the mediocre ones so I can show you an amazing website that deserves a great deal of praise. It’s called and it’s a website that, in my opinion, should be consistently visited by all speech-language pathologists because it’s just THAT good.

A wealth of information. is a location on the Internet that contains hundreds and hundreds of real stories by real people facing real challenges. The creators of the website believe that disability or disease doesn’t have to be an isolating experience. So, with that in mind, they’ve created a safe space online for people to publicly share written thoughts and feelings about topics such as autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and so much more.

My favorite articles on

If you already know about, then I’m sure you totally agree with the praise that I’m giving it. But if you’re new to, please allow me to share with you a few of my favorite posts on it in hopes that I can convert you into as big of a fan as I am.

Such beautiful pieces of writing!

Those highlighted posts are a few of the many articles that I’ve learned from. As I read each word written on, I’m able to expand my understanding of the given subject that is being written about in a way that is so genuine and so real. To every person that has written an article on – thank you for your teaching.

Full disclosure:

I just want ya’ll to know that I wasn’t paid by to write this. In fact, I don’t even know a single person over at (but one of these days, I sure hope I get the opportunity to meet someone from because I’m going to give them one of the biggest hugs in the history of hugs so I hope he/she is ready for me!).

In closing . . .

I hope you can find a few extra minutes sometime today to check out because I promise ya, it will do your speechie brain a lot of good. Give it a go and let me know what ya think!

A Speech-Language Pathologist’s Praise for

The Number One Personal Quality of a Speech-Language Pathologist

As the summer season fades away and autumn starts to tiptoe up to our front steps, most of us lovingly welcome the seasonal transition because autumn brings many lovely things with it. From pumpkin-flavored things to Halloween-themed things, this time of the year is a favorite time for many individuals (myself included!).


Oh, and sometimes with the change in seasons, you might also find yourself getting a bit sick. Did you know that October is officially the kick-off month of the flu season in the United States?

Visiting with doctors.

The chances that you might get a bit sick with the sniffles during this time of the year are pretty high. And the chances that you might visit a doctor to help you with your sniffles; that’s pretty high, too.

Personal qualities of a health care provider.

As a speech-language pathologist, I can’t help but notice that sometimes doctors don’t have the best “bedside manners.” Sometimes when I have the sniffles and I visit a doctor, sometimes they aren’t as warm as I’d hope they’d be. And let me be clear, not all doctors are like this, but some certainly are so it forces me to think about interactions, as a whole. The ways that we, as health care providers, interact with our clients are important to think about because our chosen approach and attitude to interacting can (and does) set the stage for improved/effective care and client satisfaction.

SLP personal qualities.

As I mentioned in the video portion of this blog post, my friends and I recently got into a great discussion about what’s the one personal quality that every SLP should have, in order to be the best clinician who provides the best services? Maybe it’s being encouraging when we interact with our clients. Maybe it’s being patient during these interactions. Maybe it’s being appropriately humorous. How about being self-aware? Imaginative? Empathetic?

Which one is THE ONE?

The answer to that question is quite simple: there isn’t an answer because there isn’t a magical ONE. If we want to think about our SLP “bedside manners” and how we interact with our clients, we need to fully understand that, in regards to the aforementioned personal qualities, we need to have a combination of all of those, and more, if we hope to be the best clinician who provides the best services.

Think about your personal qualities.

For anyone that knows me, ya’ll know that I’m all about reflecting. I’m all about taking an honest look at myself, as a clinician, to evaluate how I’m doing. When I do these self-evaluations on myself, I always come across some aspects that I know I can improve upon. During my most recent self-evaluation, I came to the realization that I could afford to be more organized because my organization isn’t as strong as it could be. Organization and the act of being organized, that’s a legitimate personal quality and it’s one that I want to improve. I want to be more organized (particularly with my therapy filing cabinet and my whole filing system) because I know it will set the stage for improved/effective care and client satisfaction when I interact with my clients.

Find the colleagues that are doing it right and mirror what they’re doing!

Maureen Wilson is a good friend of mine and I’ve learned so much from her over the past few years. The moment that I said to myself, “Yo! Erik! You need to improve your organization . . .” Maureen was the first person I thought of. She’s an SLP organization champion – as evidenced by some of her more recent blog posts like I Heart Organization, How Do I Make A Speech Therapy Schedule, and What You Should Be Bringing To An IEP Meeting. So since reading the blog posts that I’ve just mentioned, I’ve adopted some of her ideas into my world and I’ve totally been reaping the benefits from the new organized me!

You can improve your personal qualities if you want to.

I’ve come across a lot of people in my day say things like, “Oh, personal qualities are so deeply engrained in you that they’re all pretty set in stone.” Well, I respectfully disagree with that notion. Humans can change if they want to. If you’re a doctor that doesn’t have the best “bedside manners,” you can work on empathy and other aspects that relate to “bedside manners.” And if you’re an SLP who feels he’s a bit unorganized, you can absolutely work on organization. All personal qualities can be improved; you just have to want to improve.

In closing . . .

As an SLP, what personal qualities do you want to work on so that you keep on growing as a clinician? Maybe you want to work on some of your “bedside manners?” Or perhaps you want to work on being more organized? The sky is the limit with you, so let’s make sure we keep on having conversations with on another that encourage clinical growth. Cool? Cool!

The Number One Personal Quality of a Speech-Language Pathologist

Attention Speech-Language Pathologists: It’s OK to Not Know the Answer Sometimes

Attention Speech-Language Pathologists: It’s OK to Not Know the Answer Sometimes

Let me walk you through a scenario that I think a lot of us speech-language pathologists have been in before. You’re having a meeting about a student with a parent or another educator and someone asks you a question. However, as smart as you are (and trust me, I know you’re VERY smart), you might not actually KNOW the answer to this specific question off the top of your head.

What do you do in a scenario like this?

Well, there’s pretty much two roads you could travel down. The first road is one that I like to call Awkward Street. This consists of you verbally dancing around the question in an awkward manner. Awkward Street has lots of potholes. In an attempt to seem like you know the answer, you blurt out some “big words” that you think make you sound “smart” as you attempt to drive down that bumpy street. All of this is in hopes that you’re able to convince the question-asker that you can’t be stumped. But does this work?

Meh. Maybe sometimes.

What about the other road, though? Let’s call it Honesty Street. This one consists of you being completely honest that you don’t know the answer off the top of your head, but you’ll find out as soon as possible. This is a much smoother street – not a single pothole to be found. To me, the honest response displays sincerity and it communicates to the question-asker that you value the question enough to NOT dance around it. And because of that value, you take the initiative to seek out a clear and concise answer. So if you ask me, it seems like Honesty Street is the best road to travel down.

But why do some SLPs choose to go down Awkward Street?

When I first started out as an SLP, I was a clinician who would choose to travel down Awkward Street every now and again because I never wanted to be seen as an clinician who didn’t know his stuff. I would verbally dance around a question I didn’t know the answer to because I had this false idea in my head that all SLPs should know every single answer to any single question that related to speech-language pathology. I was too early into my career to truly understand that it’s OK to not know the answer sometimes.

Seriously, it’s OK to not know the answer sometimes.

Before we go any further though, when I say it’s OK to not know the answer sometimes, I don’t mean it’s OK to not know answers to basic questions like, “Mr. Raj, what’s the real name of that voice box thingy inside a person’s throat?” Yes, if you’re an SLP then you absolutely should be able to answer basic questions like that (and for the record, the answer is larynx, LOL!).

I’m not talking about not knowing answers to basic questions.

I’m talking about not knowing answers to questions that usually revolve around something that’s so brand-new that you just haven’t had the opportunity to hear about it yet. Questions such as:

  • “Everyone is talking about the brand-new method to teaching articulation called X. I’m wondering if you think it would work with (student’s name)?”
  • “I’m sure you’re familiar with the brand-new approach to promoting social skills called X. I’m wondering if you think it would work with (student’s name)?”
  • “I’ve heard about this brand-new structured literacy program called X. I’m wondering if you think it would work with (student’s name)?”

In the past, I would verbally dance around questions like that.

To those types of questions, when I first started out as a clinician, you could find me traveling down Awkward Street. I would buckle up and brace myself for the bumpy ride by nervously responding with things like, “Oh yeah, I’ve heard of X before, I mean, who hasn’t heard of X . . .” Then, I would hold on to the steering wheel tightly and drive straight into a long run-on sentence where I would try to give off the impression that I actually did hear of X. What a reckless driver I was. Silly me.

So listen up.

I’m here to tell you what I wish someone told me years ago – it’s OK to not know the answer sometimes. I’m writing this blog post for you. Yes YOU. I see you reading this post. I’m waving to you. Do you see me waving? You do? Good. So now that you see me, listen to me when I say this again:

It’s OK to not know the answer sometimes.

Now that I’ve been a clinician for a while, I know that it’s impossible to know it all. So now, whenever I’m asked a question that contains a bit of terminology that I’m unfamiliar with, I confidently let it be known that I’m not familiar with X. I happily travel down Honesty Street because I’ve come to realize that what’s usually found at the end of Honesty Street is a big ol’ bucket of new knowledge. Either the person explains whatever X is or you go back to your computer and you look up X yourself. Either way, you win because you gain a big ol’ bucket of new knowledge. And new knowledge, well, that’s the fuel that keeps us all trucking along on our never-ending road trip towards becoming the best possible clinicians that we can be.

In closing . . .

Here’s what I want you to do. I want you to say the following out loud to yourself. “It’s OK to not know the answer sometimes.” How did that feel? Pretty good, right? Next, I want you to send a text message to your favorite SLP buddy that reads, “Erik X. Raj told me to tell you that it’s OK to not know the answer sometimes.” And if your friend replies with, “Who’s Erik X. Raj?” – just tell your pal that he’s a cool dude who loves dance parties and Spider-Man.

Slow Motion Videos Have Invaded My Speech Therapy Room and I Totally Love It

Slow Motion Videos Have Invaded My Speech Therapy Room and I Totally Love It

Earlier this year, I was doing a speech-language evaluation with an 11-year-old child. One of my favorite aspects of a typical evaluation is the student interview portion that I typically do. Before I even begin any type of standardized assessment with a child, I usually start off with a few “gettin’ to know ya” warm up questions. Why? Two reasons: (1.) so I can begin to informally asses the child’s ability to use and understand language and (2.) so that I can begin to know the child’s likes/dislikes because that ultimately helps with rapport building.

Conversations about T.V.

Whenever I do student interviews with children, without fail, I always find myself asking, “What’s your favorite show on T.V.?” And in my past experiences, that question usually kicks off nice conversations about, say, a show on the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, or something along those lines.

But this child wasn’t a fan of T.V.

When I asked that particular student to share with me his favorite thing to watch on T.V., he looked at me in an eye-rolling pre-teen kind of way and stated, “Um, yeah, I don’t watch stuff on T.V. because T.V. is boring.”

“Come on, really? You mean to tell me you don’t watch ANYTHING on T.V.?” I jokingly shot back at him.

“Nope. I only watch stuff on YouTube.” Said the proud lil’ guy.

That was an opportunity for me to learn something new!

If there’s one thing I like, it’s when I discover new things from my students that I could potentially introduce into an upcoming speech-language therapy session. This YouTube aficionado, I knew I could learn about a bunch of new YouTube channels that I probably didn’t know about. He happily shared with me all of the different YouTube channels that he was a fan of. One of the channels he was gushing about was called The Slow Mo Guys. He exclaimed, “Mr. Raj, you have to check them out.” So I told him that I totally would when I got home.

Open your mouth.

As I continued on with the evaluation, I got to the oral mechanism examination portion. Because I wanted to make sure that everything oral-motor was structurally sound and adequate to support speech, I asked him to open his mouth so that I could take a peek. He opened up and as I was checking everything out with my mini flashlight, he said to me, “Ya know, Slow Mo Guys have an episode all about the uvula thing.”

Uvula?! Whoa! Cool!

I truly loved how that 11-year-old was able to connect the whole “uvula thing” to the quick oral mechanism examination that I was doing. But even more, I LOVED how when he spoke about those Slow Mo Guys, you could just see in his eyes how PUMPED he was. After asking him if that uvula episode was appropriate for school, I decided to check it out right then and there on my iPad, with him at my side. “My friend, these Slow Mo Guys, they sound beyond awesome so I don’t think I can wait until I get home to check ’em out!” I beamed.

I was impressed!

The whole gist of the talented Slow Mo Guys is that they have an amazing high-speed video camera. They use it to film something that moves quite fast – then they slow the footage down (hence the name of “The Slow Mo Guys!”). So in the case of their uvula episode, they used their video camera to film a person’s uvula as he was gargling water! Then, they slowed down the footage and it showed the uvula thrashing around in slo mo while the silly Slo Mo Guys provided some hilarious commentary about how weird it looked! From a speech-language pathologist’s point of view, it was SO RAD to see that uvula moving around like that! And the student in front of me, I could tell that he was SUPER excited because he saw how SUPER excited I was. It was a wonderful experience and it really helped to pave the way for a successful evaluation.

Don’t be afraid to learn about new things from your students.

As I write this blog post, I can’t help but think about all the other times that I’ve incorporated a Slow Mo Guys video into a therapy session over the past few months – tons of times! And it’s all thanks to that one kiddo who told me about them during an evaluation. Each time I’ve showed a Slo Mo Guys video, my students loved it and they seemed to enjoy answering my various questions about the video (all of the questions OF COURSE always connect directly to the students’ goals and objectives).

Big thanks to that student.

Here’s why I’m so jazzed: I didn’t read about the Slow Mo Guys on an SLP blog. I didn’t hear about the Slow Mo Guys from a speaker at a continuing education event. I learned about the Slow Mo Guys from a student. An 11-year-old student. I believe it’s important to emphasize that I found out about that YouTube channel from him because it goes to show that not only can we, as educators, teach youngsters, but those same youngsters can teach us, too. Through their sharing, we learn about new and exciting things. It’s crucial that we recognize the reciprocity that exists within the client-clinician relationship. It’s not symbiotic; it’s mutually beneficial. We all can learn new things from our students. Every single day. We just have to let it be known that we, as adults, want to know about new things from the children we have the privilege to be surrounded by.

In closing . . .

Do me a favor. Sometime in the next couple of weeks I would like for you to genuinely ask a few of your students this simple question: “Tell me about something that excites you that you think I might not know about.” Who knows what you might be introduced to – maybe you’ll learn about a new book, band, or maybe even a YouTube video! Then, check it out together with the student, right then and there on your iPad or computer (of course, make sure it’s appropriate for school). Be in the moment and express to the youngster how happy you are that he/she has shared that with you. Because when someone chooses to share something they like with you, it shows that the person cares for you. And on the opposite side of that coin, when you actually check out what the person likes, it shows that you value that person’s opinion. As educators, we should always be doing as much as we can to clearly communicate to our students that we value their opinions because their opinions really do matter. Am I right? 😉

I like to share things on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat. Sweet!