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

Category Archives: Speech Therapy Motivation

Do You Use a Ladder to Get into a Pool? Or Do You Just Jump?

Do You Use a Ladder to Get into a Pool? Or Do You Just Jump?

Warmer months are finally here and boy oh boy, the weather sure has been hot. For most of us school-based SLPs, summer vacation is almost here! And you know what that means – sun tanning, barbecuing, and swimming in cool water. As a matter of fact, I’m currently writing this blog post while relaxing next to a pool. So let me take this moment to ask you a pool-related question that may or may not relate to pools once you really take the time to think about your response.

How do YOU get into a pool?

That’s a pretty serious question that I think you should consider. As I’m looking at this pool right now, I see 2 types of people – those who use the ladder to enter the pool and those who simply just jump on in. Which person are you? Do you play it safe and use the ladder? Ladders are pretty predictable. There is only one way to go down a ladder, putting both hands on each side and alternating one foot at a time to climb down. If that’s the way you want to enter the pool, that’s fine, but could you be missing out on something fun? Should you consider trying something else?

Jumping into the pool? Now that’s a bit more exciting. I believe that what makes it so exciting is the fact that there are just so many different jumping variations! How about a cannonball? Ninja kick? Flapping your arms like a bird? Back flip? I have seen all of these over the last 30 minutes, and to be completely honest, these unpredictable actions are nothing short of inspiring.

How do YOU do your speech therapy sessions?

Have you been using the same old and boring speech therapy materials for the past few years? Are you keeping speech therapy fresh and fun or are your students consistently falling asleep in class? Have you been thinking about doing something new, but opted not to because it would be “too much of a pain to put together, impossible to set up, really hard to create, etc?” Well, you need to stop making excuses and start doing it. Whatever it is, do it! Jump in, splash around, and let everyone know that you mean business. Because let’s be real, no one remembers the person who used the ladder, but everyone remembers the person who screamed and did the front flip into the water.

In closing . . .

You can dissect and analyze this blog post however you want. You can even argue that it has nothing to do with speech-language therapy at all. Well, I think it has everything to do with speech therapy and I think you might want to try to stop using the ladder from time to time. Let’s try our hardest to think outside-the-box and create some awesome speech therapy activities that our students will remember for years to come. Why? Because life is too short for snooze-fest speech therapy.

Ok, I’m off to go do a cannonball right now! Bye! LOL!

You Need to Thank Someone Right Now [Free Download]

You Need to Thank Someone Right Now [Free Download]

To be completely honest with all of you, I’ve wanted to be a speech-language pathologist since I was 6 years-old. I know that might sound cheesy, but it’s the truth. While all of my friends were saying popular lines like “I want to be a rock star, movie star, etc. when I grow up,” . . . I was the little boy who proudly shouted “I’m going to be a speech teacher when I grow up!” (In fact, check out the FREE DOWNLOAD at the end of this post to see what I mean, lol).

Those tricky /S/ and /R/ sounds

I had some extremely common articulation difficulties as a 6 year-old that included sloppy /S/ sounds and a far from perfect /R/ sound. I started to see a speech-language pathologist and within a year, I was able to make my sounds (yippie!). I had such a great time during my speech sessions that I knew I wanted to do that as an adult. In my 6 year-old mind, I thought the only thing we were doing was playing games, but it was not the only thing that was happening (as evidenced by my new found ability to produce the /S/ and /R/ sounds).

Learning CAN and SHOULD be fun!

We, as speech-language pathologists, have such a unique opportunity not only to combine learning with pure fun, but to influence and inspire by giving the gift of communication. There is no other job in the world like this and not a day goes by that I don’t thank my lucky stars that my family took me to see Miss R., the self-proclaimed speech lady, as a child.

Who has helped you?

So here is a question for you to ponder . . . none of us live in a vacuum; therefore who has helped you become who you are now? (And have you thanked them lately?) Miss R. passed away before I even graduated high school, but she helped to plant the speech therapy seed in my head. I really wish I could’ve thanked her as an adult for all she did for me as a child. I’m positive that she is smiling down on me every time I give one of my students a high five.

In closing . . .

So is there a phone call you need to make? Is there a letter you need to write? Chances are your answer is probably yes. Take this moment to contact that educator (or person in general) that has influenced you. Even if you have no idea where that person is now, you’d be amazed how simple it is to find them through the magical and mystical powers of the Internet. Trust me; you need to do this right now. Let me know how it goes.

Oh, and don’t forget about your FREE DOWNLOAD!

Click HERE to download your very own SLP poster that answers the age-old question of, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I pinky promise, it’ll make ya happy as a clam. 🙂

What Motivates You as an SLP?

What Motivates You as an SLP?

Not too long ago, I had dinner with a few of my close friends who are all involved in the field of speech-language pathology. We got on the subject of motivation and more specifically, “What motivates us, as speech-language pathologists, to do great work?”

In this profession . . .

  • You don’t make millions of dollars (you make enough to live of course, but no one I know is pulling in a lawyer’s salary).
  • There is no such thing as year-end bonuses (at least not to my immediate knowledge!).
  • You don’t ever really get a promotion or a title change (you pretty much enter as an SLP and retire as an SLP).

So . . . what motivates us?

It’s obvious to me that it clearly is not any type of external motivator.

After doing some digging online, I ordered a book called Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink, where the author actually debunks the power of external motivators, and expands on the intrinsic motivators that inspire us to do great work. He mentions three key points that drive creative thinkers: autonomy (self-directed work), mastery (getting better at stuff), and purpose (serving a greater vision). Super interesting information and I recommend you purchase his book.

Ah-ha moments!

There is nothing that gets me more pumped than when I notice a student’s “ah-ha” moment — when that child finally produces that sound perfectly. He looks at me and says, “Wow, I never knew I could say it that good.” Then I look at him and I say, “Pshh. I ALWAYS knew you could.” I used my creativity to put together an individualized approach to specifically target that child’s communication difficulty — and it worked. The child is smiling, I’m smiling, and for that brief moment in time, all the stars are aligned. That, in a nutshell, is what drives me. It’s a combination of the three intrinsic motivators that Daniel Pink speaks about. The work that a speech-language pathologist does is extremely purposeful and as cliche as this might sound, we truly make a huge difference.

What about you?

So with all that being said, what motivates you to be an awesome SLP? What gets YOU pumped? Why do you love this job so much?

In closing . . .

I believe it’s important for us to step back and truly think about these questions. Reflecting on these thoughts can make us even better service providers. In the end, we all want to be the best for our students because they are depending on us, and that’s what truly matters.

Someday I Am Going to Start a Speech Therapy Blog

Someday I Am Going to Start a Speech Therapy Blog

Hi there. My name is Erik. I’m a speech-language pathologist that works with school-aged children who have various communication difficulties. It took me a long time to get this SLP blog up and running, but it’s now live and I couldn’t be happier.

One simple idea . . . start an SLP blog.

Back in 2008 when I finally graduated with my Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology, an SLP acquaintance asked me a very valid question, “So what’s next for you?” With a half smile, I genuinely said that I had been thinking about starting my very own SLP blog. She looked at me surprised and then spoke about how a few years ago, she too told herself that she was going to start an SLP blog. So I asked her, “Well, what are you waiting for?” The response I got from her was, “Meh, someday I’ll start one. Someday.”

No more somedays. No more!

Have you ever heard yourself say,“Someday I’m going to (insert amazing goal here),” but before you know it, years go by and you have not even scratched the surface? Well, that was me! I didn’t think it could happen to me, but it did! Like I said, I wanted to start an SLP blog as soon as I graduated back in 2008, but I didn’t. Just like so many before me, I too got bit by the someday bug. I ended up saying the same thing that my SLP acquaintance said, “Meh, someday I’ll start one. Someday.”

The year is now 2011 and it’s time for me to wake up.

The word someday is a heavy anchor that will keep your hopes and dreams held hostage at the dock. I’m done. No more somedays for me. From here on out, I’m making a very conscious (and very public) effort to eliminate someday from my vocabulary. It’s time for my SLP blog to break free from that someday anchor and start to sail into the vast ocean where ANYTHING is possible.

So, what about YOU?

Everyone has something they want to do. Yeah, even you. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. Making this SLP blog wasn’t easy, but I did it. So, what is that thing YOU want to do? Do you want to learn a new language? Do you want to run a marathon? Do you want to start your very own SLP blog like me? Well, get started!

But how can I get started?!

Here’s my rule of thumb: plan small. Remember, Rome was not built in a day, and your project doesn’t have to, either. Your project may take time, and that’s fine. To make your project more manageable, create a list of small steps with specific due dates. For example, it was WAY easier for me to get started with “write 1 post before next Tuesday”than “create my SLP blog sometime this year.” Repeating this over and over again gave me the feeling of progress and before I knew it, my SLP blog was ready to go live!

Some final thoughts . . .

Whatever you’re thinking about achieving or creating, embrace the fact that you have big plans and understand that simply dreaming up your idea is half the battle. I’m proud of my SLP blog and I look forward to posting tons of original speech therapy ideas on it for the world to see.

In closing . . .

Thank you for joining me on this SLP blog and I hope that you and I can become good friends in the future. I promise you that I’ll consistently post a variety of speech therapy related blog posts on here – speech therapy ideas, speech therapy humor, speech therapy motivation, and everything in between. I promise to post quality and not fluff. I know that you’re a busy professional and I respect you, so I mean it when I say that I’ll never post anything just for the sake of posting. Only the good stuff will go on this SLP blog because that’s what you deserve.

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