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Blogjam  |   May 01, 2015
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Article Information
Blogjam   |   May 01, 2015
The ASHA Leader, May 2015, Vol. 20, 16-17. doi:10.1044/leader.BGJ.20052015.16
The ASHA Leader, May 2015, Vol. 20, 16-17. doi:10.1044/leader.BGJ.20052015.16
Poised for Profit
Whether you’re simply considering starting a private practice or you’ve already opened your doors, there are always ways to improve a business. Speech-language pathologist Gordy Rogers, writing on the Speech Buddies blog, draws from his time as a private clinician in Brooklyn, New York, to share five tips for running your own shop:
  • Be (appropriately) choosy when selecting your office space.

  • Build referral sources in the area.

  • Conduct online marketing strategically.

  • Connect with other practitioners to bounce around ideas and keep up with professional hot topics.

  • Be available when your clients are available.

Rogers offers detailed and actionable advice on each point: Renting a new location? Keep your clientele’s needs in mind when determining size and decorative details, especially if you work with children. Creating your website? Do it yourself for free—or don’t be afraid to call in the pros. Deciding when to schedule that vacation? Be sure to work within your clients’ calendars.
“Working on your own, for yourself, really is extraordinarily fulfilling,” Rogers writes. “However, to make it work, you have to make some adjustments.”
Give ‘Em Something Sweet!
How can you get teachers to care about Better Hearing and Speech Month (it’s May!)? Sharing something for the sweet tooth, says Andrea Yates, the speech-language pathologist who runs the Miss Thrifty SLP blog.
Information pamphlets had failed years before, so she and her co-workers decided they would distribute pieces of candy—in this case, Dum Dums lollipops—attached to notes with facts about the importance of speech and hearing development. After assembling resources and working together to cut the notes, tie the ribbon and pass out the treats as “Candy Fairy SLPs,” Amy and the other SLPs counted the initiative as a success. (The notes they created are available for free download on the blog post.)
“If you are looking for a simple way to remind your teachers that we do more than just articulation,” she writes, “I suggest adding just a touch of something sweet.”
Board Games Still Win
There’s no doubt about it: iPads and other technology have fundamentally changed the way audiologists and speech-language pathologists do their work. But tactile games and activities shouldn’t be stashed away forever, writes South African speech-language therapist Nikki Heyman on her Talking Talk blog.
Although she values using an iPad for treatment, Heyman says there’s “no substitution for the clunk of a piece as it falls into the slot when playing Connect Four, or the rattle and rush of the marbles as they get eaten by Hungry Hippos, or the piles of play-money in your hand when playing Monopoly.”
And beyond that, she notes that board games “designed around players following the same instructions and competing to win” help to develop social, critical-thinking and language skills, as well as improve face-to-face interaction and lengthen a child’s attention span. So although it may be tempting to default to new technology, going back to the basics can make for productive treatment, too.
Sunshine on a (Word) Cloudy Day
Word clouds—a visual representation of a collection of words, with those used most frequently appearing largest—can be used for a variety of alternative and augmentative communication exercises in school-based settings and beyond, shares Carole Zangari on the PrAACtical AAC blog.
When working on narratives, take a sample your client has produced and plug it into a word-cloud generator (Zangari recommends the sites ABCya, Tagxedo, Tagul, Word It Out and Wordle). “We used [the word cloud] in therapy to talk about the word choices. We asked questions like, ‘What other ways can we say “go”?’ and ‘Why were “favorite” and “Friday” used so often in this story?’ Discourse-based therapy offers many advantages to the learner, and the word cloud gave us an opportunity for some rich discussions,” she writes.
The clouds can help clients explore different forms of a word (“create,” “created,” “creator,” “creation”) in a visually appealing format, and they also can provide a path for discussion about main ideas of stories. Rogers includes a few more examples—and notes that clinicians can use word clouds in an almost infinite number of other creative ways.
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May 2015
Volume 20, Issue 5