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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

Happy Monday to Every Single Speech-Language Pathologist out There

Like clockwork, each and every Sunday evening, my Facebook feed starts to fill up with status updates of doom and gloom that directly relate to the impending transition from Sunday night to Monday morning. Messages such as “ugh tomorrow is Monday!” and “I don’t want the weekend to end!” start to show themselves to me and it honestly makes me feel a bit uneasy reading them because some of the people typing out those sorrowful messages are actually . . . educators!

From the digital word to the real world.

The same educators that type out anti-Monday status updates on Sunday evenings, sometimes they’re the ones who walk into work on Monday mornings and communicate their distaste for beginning of the work week in a very obvious manner. Whether it’s through huffing and puffing or whether it’s through crossing their arms and looking angry, they send a crystal clear signal to those around them that “ugh today is Monday!” and they “didn’t want the weekend to end!” And when that type of negative communication actually goes on INSIDE of the work building, potentially in front of students, well, that’s a very scary thing and that’s what really worries me.

You must watch what you say.

If you’re an educator that works with school-aged children, here’s the honest truth: whether you realize it or not, children are ALWAYS watching you. Always. The number of kiddo eyeballs that could be on you at any given moment when you’re inside of your work building is through the roof. So with that large number in mind, you need to make sure you’re ALWAYS on your best behavior because if you’re not, the kiddos are going to be the first ones to notice.

We never want them to think that it’s them!

Listen, we’ve all had a crumby Monday here and there before. That’s life and those types of bad Mondays are bound to happen. But we need to be mindful of HOW we’re communicating our occasional Monday blues within our work buildings because we NEVER want the children to say to themselves, “He doesn’t want to be here? Why doesn’t he want to be here? Is it because of me? Does he not want to be here because I’m here? What did I do? Maybe it’s ME that he doesn’t want to see?” We NEVER want them to think any of that because NONE OF THAT is EVER the case!

A challenge for you!

In the same way that I’m saying “Happy Monday!” to you today in the video portion of this blog post, I want to challenge you to deliver that same positive message today to the people you work with. Tell all of your co-workers (and students) HAPPY MONDAY! Why should we be saying “Happy Monday?” Well, because Mondays signify yet another week for us, as educators, to do everything that we can do to help every single student that we work together with. Today, we can push our youngsters in the right directions and we can plant new seeds in their minds so that all of their new knowledge starts to grow and continues to grow. And that means they’re that much better TODAY then they were LAST WEEK. So as you can see, Mondays ARE something that can (and should) be celebrated.

In closing . . .

Will you accept my Happy Monday challenge? Will you join me in announcing to the world HAPPY MONDAY?! I really hope you will because I promise you, this is going to be a good day and a good week for you and your students. So let me say it again, just in case you didn’t hear me the first time. Happy Monday to you, you beautiful speech-language pathologist you. Go get ’em, tiger. This is YOUR Monday to shine as an educator. You got this because you rock and you’re a super lovely person.

Happy Monday to Every Single Speech-Language Pathologist out There

A Speech-Language Pathologist’s Praise for TheMighty.com

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 TheMighty.com 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.

TheMighty.com 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 TheMighty.com.

If you already know about TheMighty.com, then I’m sure you totally agree with the praise that I’m giving it. But if you’re new to TheMighty.com, 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 TheMighty.com 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 TheMighty.com, 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 TheMighty.com – thank you for your teaching.

Full disclosure:

I just want ya’ll to know that I wasn’t paid by TheMighty.com to write this. In fact, I don’t even know a single person over at TheMighty.com (but one of these days, I sure hope I get the opportunity to meet someone from TheMighty.com 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 TheMighty.com 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 TheMighty.com

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!).

Ah-choo!

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

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