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

Did You Know That Speech-Language Pathologists Are Also Chameleons?

Do you like getting compliments from people? Sure you do! So with that in mind, I’d like to take this moment to give you a compliment, right here and right now. Are you ready? My compliment to you is this – you are a chameleon.

A chameleon?! What?! Do you think I look like an iguana? How rude!

Sorry, sorry. Hold on. Let me back up. Ya see, when I tell you that you’re a chameleon, it’s actually not a bad thing. It’s a good thing. It’s a fantastic compliment!

Oh, it’s fantastic?! All right. Well, tell me more, then.

In my opinion, all speech-language pathologists are similar to chameleons and that’s a good thing because chameleons are a very unique animal. Ya see, chameleons, they have a spectacular ability to adapt. Think about it – their skin – it can blend in and match along with it’s surroundings. So if chameleons are standing next to, say, a bunch of grass, their skin color turns a shade of green because they’re able to acclimate to their surroundings. The same goes for chameleons that are standing next to desert sand. In that situation, presumably, their skin turns a sort of tan color. Why? Because they are able to adapt with no problems, at all. How cool is that?

Chameleons are the kings and queens of adaptability.

And SLPs, we are kings and queens of adaptability, too. In my honest opinion, adaptability and SLPs – the two really go hand in hand. We, as clinicians, are so fortunate to be a part of a field that allows us to work together with so many different people in so many different settings. And, the fact that you’re able to mentally do that so effortlessly, I believe that’s what separates you from so many other educators and healthcare professions. You have a unique gift that’s hard to come by. Your ability to adapt to so many different environments is something that should be celebrated.

Hooray for adaptability!

Here’s a scenario that you might have experienced within your work-place environment. First thing in the morning, you might be working with a child who has some articulation difficulties. Then, maybe the next hour you might be working with a child who has some expressive and/or receptive language difficulties. Then, maybe in yet another hour you might be working with a child who stutters. Can you see how often you have to “change your skin” to “match your new surroundings?” You’re adapting your clinical knowledge to sync up with what your given client is struggling with, all in an effort to help. And you’re able to do all of that in the blink of an eye. Wow. You’re magical! You make it look so easy! Go you!

Fantastic creatures, for sure!

So, that’s what I mean. When I called you a chameleon, it’s a good thing. Not a bad thing. Chameleons are fantastic creatures and SLPs, we’re also fantastic creatures.

In closing . . .

Do me a favor. Share this blog post with one of your colleagues that you admire. And let that person know that he or she is a chameleon. I believe that it’s a compliment worth giving and worth spreading because it reminds us just how good we are at what we do. So, hold that chameleon head up high. You rock!

Did You Know That Speech-Language Pathologists Are Also Chameleons?

6 First Names That Have Strong Connections to the Field of Speech-Language Pathology

6 First Names That Have Strong Connections to the Field of Speech-Language Pathology

Your first name is a word that’s very important. That word is a special and beautiful label that’s usually given to you by loving family members, such as your mother or father. Because I’m a speech-language pathologist, I think about words, like first names, much more often than my non-SLP friends and this slight obsession with words often leads me to think about first names in a unique and fun SLP-ish way.

Did you know that some people have SLP-ish first names?

Over the last few years, I’ve noticed certain first names and how they trigger my SLP heart to smile wide. Sometimes, in my SLP mind, some first names seem to have strong connections to the field of SLP, and people who have those particular first names don’t even know it! So, I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you a few unknowingly SLP-ish first names that I’ve come across.

Name: Stan

In the real world, Stan is most likely short for Stanley or Stanford. But in my SLP mind, Stan is short for standardized assessment. Standardized assessments are important evaluation tools that have established statistical reliability and validity. And we all know how important reliability and validity are for our job, am I right? So with all of this being said, I think that Stan is a magnificent SLP-ish first name to have. Kudos to anyone named Stan!

Name: Miles

The average person might think of the jazz musician Miles Davis when he or she hears the name Miles, but not me. My SLP mind immediately sees Miles being short for milestones (for example: developmental milestones). Whether it be developmental milestones for articulation and/or phonological processes, or language norms for school-age children, we reference developmental milestones daily because of how helpful they are to our clinical practice. So with all of this being said, I think that Miles is super SLP-ish first name to have. Kudos to anyone named Miles!

Name: Art

As a common short version for Arthur, to my SLP mind, Art is the short version of articulation. One of the things that SLPs are well-versed in is the world of speech sound disorders. We are, hands down, the go-to if you’re experiencing a difficult time articulating certain sounds that make it hard for some people to understand you. We’re the ones that can help you improve your articulation. So with all of this being said, I think that Art is spectacular SLP-ish first name to have. Kudos to anyone named Art!

Name(s): Mandi or Max

Speaking of articulation, anytime I see the first names Mandi or Max, my SLP mind automatically sees mandible or maxilla. Because I have the opportunity to work with loads of children who have articulation difficulties, I often find myself teaching loads of vocabulary to them that relates to the primary bones of our face; and mandible and maxilla are absolutely two words that my clients learn. So with all of this being said, I think that Mandi and Max are awesome SLP-ish first names to have. Kudos to anyone named Mandi or Max!

Name: Asha

I don’t think any SLP would disagree with me when I say that anytime I meet a person with the first name Asha, my SLP mind sees it as the abbreviation for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for thousands upon thousands of SLPs in the United States and beyond. As a certified member of ASHA for a number of years, I can honestly say that I’m a huge fan of the organization for all of the good that they do. So with all of this being said, I think that Asha is a cool SLP-ish first name to have. Kudos to anyone named Asha!

In closing . . .

Can you think of any other unknowingly SLP-ish first names that you’ve come across? How about Ana – short for anatomy? Or Dia – short for diagnosis? Maybe even Ned – short for Ned’s Head (a favorite SLP-ish therapy material of mine!). As always, I truly dig hearing from each and every single one of you, so please feel free to hit me up at any point in time! Yay! 😉

The Diagnosis Doesn’t Define the Person, the Person Defines the Diagnosis

As a speech-language pathologist, there’s a saying that I say to myself on a daily basis and it just might be my most favorite saying in the history of all sayings. The saying is the diagnosis doesn’t define the person, the person defines the diagnosis. I’ve been hearing that saying for years. It first started to wiggle its way into my world when I was in graduate school and ever since then, the saying has resonated with me a TON!

But I’ll be honest with you, sometimes I forget about the saying.

For example, not too long ago I was working with a student who had a difficult time properly articulating the /R/ sound. We all know that the /R/ sound can be quite tricky for some children. And to make matters trickier, this child had a rather unique way of attempting to make his /R/ sound. So there was a lot that I needed to think about when figuring out a plan of action to help this motivated youngster with his articulation, as it related to perfecting his /R/ sound.

Invisible speech therapy toolbox to the rescue!

So here’s what I did; I busted out my invisible speech therapy toolbox and I tried all of my usual articulation tips, tricks, and strategies.

And what happened?

Well, not much happened. With everything that I was throwing his way from my invisible speech therapy toolbox, NONE of it was working. I was both confused and frustrated (and so was the child). But here’s the real kicker – I actually caught myself thinking, “How is all of this stuff not working? This is an /R/ student. You know /R/ students. /R/ sound, /R/ student – you’ve been there, you’ve done that. Get yourself together! Come on, Raj! Get in the game!”

Shame on me for saying things like that to myself!

When I was saying that stuff to myself, it hit me, I was making a VERY real mistake. I was forgetting about my most favorite saying in the history of all sayings – which is the diagnosis doesn’t define the person, the person defines the diagnosis! What I was doing was automatically categorizing that child as an “/R/ student.” (Big mistake!) I was actually looking at the diagnosis and was like, “Oh yeah, the diagnosis, clearly that’s defining the child.” (Again, big mistake!) When in reality, THE CHILD defines the diagnosis, not the other way around. I couldn’t believe that I had forgotten about the saying of the diagnosis doesn’t define the person, the person defines the diagnosis. (How embarrassing!)

It’s all about the individualized approach!

We, as SLPs, really do understand the power behind individualized approach and the idea that we should always view the person in front of us as an individual, not as just a diagnosis. So, in my temporary moment of insanity, when I was actually looking at that child as an “/R/ kid,” I took a step back and I said to myself, “Yo, Mr. Raj, get your head where it needs to be.” I collected my thoughts and looked at that child as an individual, free from that “/R/ kid” label. Then, I re-tried some of the stuff that I pulled from my invisible speech therapy toolbox because I knew I was in a much better headspace, at that moment in time. And low and behold, within a few minutes, he was actually able to make a bit of progress! He wasn’t cured, but he sure was showing me much more of what I was hoping for. His /R/ sound was moving in the right direction!

How did you get closer to having him show you a more improved /R/ sound?

Here’s what I think: it wasn’t necessarily because of the tips, tricks, or strategies – for me, I believe I got him there because I reminded myself that the diagnosis doesn’t define the person, the person defines the diagnosis. That was THE foundation that needed to be in place for any of my tips, tricks, or strategies to actually work. Reminding myself that the diagnosis doesn’t define the person, the person defines the diagnosis, was HUGE for me and I want it to be HUGE for you, too. So, say it with me so you can continue to memorize it. The diagnosis doesn’t define the person, the person defines the diagnosis.

In closing . . .

The saying of the diagnosis doesn’t define the person, the person defines the diagnosis, can be applied to so many aspects of our field. And that’s why I love it so much. It’s a saying that rings true for every single person that we have on our caseload. Whether you work with preschool-aged students or senior citizens, or anything in-between, the saying of the diagnosis doesn’t define the person, the person defines the diagnosis, will always place you on the correct path. Always.

The Diagnosis Doesn’t Define the Person, the Person Defines the Diagnosis

Speech-Language Pathologists Should Thank Parents More Often

As we inch ever closer to a brand new year, it’s quite common for us speech-language pathologists to get into a mode of reflection. I believe that when we reflect on the past year of our professional careers, it helps us to better understand how things went and it also allows us to better see the changes that we might want to make in the coming year. So, I’ve been taking the past few weeks of this holiday season to think about what I could do differently next year,

Next year, I want to give more thanks.

Don’t get me wrong, I share words of thanks to lots of wonderful individuals throughout my day as an SLP. I thank the children I work with for consistently giving it their all. I thank my colleagues for consistently brainstorming with me. I thank various physical and occupational therapists, and other professionals, for consistently sharing new knowledge with me. The list goes on and on, but do you know who I don’t thank nearly as much as I should? Parents.

Trust from parents.

The idea of giving thanks to parents is a very broad notion; where do I even start with giving thanks to them? Well, first and foremost, it’s all about trust. I want to thank them more often for trusting in me to help their son or daughter to grow as a communicator. Trust is the foundation of all successful therapy relationships – without trust, not many gains are going be made within the therapy room. So, I want to thank them for entrusting in me to provide therapy services to their children.

Assistance from parents.

I want to thank them more often for helping their children with the homework that I give. Their assistance paves the way for true success. We SLPs know how important carryover is. When homework is done at home, it helps children to grow that much faster as communicators. So, I want to thank parents for taking time out of their busy schedules to work alongside their children during various carryover assignments.

Motivation from parents.

I want to thank them more often for the motivation that they give to their children. I see their children all the time and those youngsters are always smiling. They legitimately want to try within the therapy room. And that honest WANT to try, where does that come from? It comes from their parents’ motivation. So, I want to thank parents for building up their children with intentional positivity.

Try not to forget about parents.

Here’s what I think, sometimes we, as clinicians, we forget about parents. And, I get it – if you’re a school-based SLP, sometimes you don’t actually get to see the parents all too often. But, it’s important for us to realize that parents are absolutely a part of this therapy puzzle. Without the parents being on the same page with us, we’re not going to get nearly as far as we want to go. And we want to go as far as we can because we know our clients are destined for great things. All those great things, they start to fall into play when everyone knows that they are appreciated for their contributions. And parents, they make SO MANY contributions so we need to do everything we can to communicate our appreciation.

In closing . . .

I just wanted to thank you, the parents. You’re a member of this team and all of us SLPs, we couldn’t do it without you. Starting today, I’m going to thank you more often. And next year, I’m going to thank you more often. Why? Because you deserve it. Big time. So, here’s the deal – I’ll promise to thank you more if you promise to do the following for me: I want you to look at yourself in the mirror right now and I want you to say, “I’m a good parent.” Then, I want you to look at yourself in the mirror again and I want you to say, “I’m a great parent.” Lastly, I want you to look in the mirror, one last time, and I want you to say, “I’m an awesome parent.” Because, my gosh, in my heart of hearts, believe me, you are an awesome parent. Here’s to one heck of a new year!

Speech-Language Pathologists Should Thank Parents More Often

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