SLP Skills Enhance Mom Skills—and Vice Versa A son with autism gives a clinician insights into working with her students’ families. First Person/Last Page
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First Person/Last Page  |   April 01, 2017
SLP Skills Enhance Mom Skills—and Vice Versa
Author Notes
  • Amanda Schaumburg, MS, CCC-SLP, is a clinician in Texas working primarily in schools (pre-K–12). She also has experience in early intervention, outpatient clinics and skilled nursing facilities. She blogs at www.pandaspeechtherapy.com. pandaspeech@gmail.com
    Amanda Schaumburg, MS, CCC-SLP, is a clinician in Texas working primarily in schools (pre-K–12). She also has experience in early intervention, outpatient clinics and skilled nursing facilities. She blogs at www.pandaspeechtherapy.com. pandaspeech@gmail.com×
Article Information
Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / School-Based Settings / First Person/Last Page
First Person/Last Page   |   April 01, 2017
SLP Skills Enhance Mom Skills—and Vice Versa
The ASHA Leader, April 2017, Vol. 22, 72. doi:10.1044/leader.FPLP.22042017.72
The ASHA Leader, April 2017, Vol. 22, 72. doi:10.1044/leader.FPLP.22042017.72
My son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at 7 years old. He has received occupational therapy, speech-language treatment, hippotherapy and behavioral counseling since he was 3. I have had a front-row seat to how difficult daily life and schedules can be for families with this diagnosis, and my unique parenting experiences have given me a deeper understanding and compassion for the students I serve as a speech-language pathologist.
My experiences with my son have given me an insight into my students’ home life—an invaluable perspective when working with families on a complete approach to treatment. I can tailor a realistic plan that focuses on carryover of skills from school to home. I enjoy developing home systems with parents that include supports such as visual schedules, positive behavioral systems and communication systems. Parenting a child with ASD has enhanced my skills in counseling families and directing them to resources that have been effective in my own home.
As a clinician, I especially enjoy identifying the strengths and interests of students with ASD and working with families to build on those strengths and interests to meet their goals. As a mother, I know it is discouraging to continually hear about your child’s struggles and needs. My son, for example, does have difficulties—but he also has impressive qualities and huge strengths (he is a whiz at math and loves to act). It has made me careful to focus on students’ strengths and to use encouraging language when reporting to parents. Sometimes even small gains made in treatment can be life-changing news to parents, especially when the improvement is something the parent can use at home.
It can be difficult for clinicians to communicate consistently with parents—especially for SLPs working in schools—but I cannot stress enough the importance of communication with parents of students with ASD. When my son struggled with social skills or sensory issues during the week, I would send his therapists a quick note, letting them know what had happened. This communication allowed for continuity not only among his therapies (counseling, occupational therapy, speech), but also with his home life. I appreciate when parents email me insight on what is going on at home.
After 10 years of being a mom and seven years of being an SLP, I can say that my son has made me a better SLP, and being an SLP has made me a better mom! Win-win!
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April 2017
Volume 22, Issue 4