Blogjam Audiologists and SLPs are blogging about their experiences and discoveries. Check out some of their posts. Blogjam
Blogjam  |   July 01, 2016
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Blogjam   |   July 01, 2016
The ASHA Leader, July 2016, Vol. 21, 20-21. doi:10.1044/leader.BGJ.21072016.20
The ASHA Leader, July 2016, Vol. 21, 20-21. doi:10.1044/leader.BGJ.21072016.20
To Make or to Buy?
When it comes to speech-room supplies, what’s worth the purchase—and what can you make yourself?
Busy Bee Speech blogger Lauren LaCour creates her own sensory bins, filling them with “dried beans, sand or Easter grass” and hiding articulation cards—or other small items for practice with vocabulary, describing or other skills—underneath.
She also opts for homemade speech-sound kits and “whisper phones”—made of cheap PVC pipe and duct tape and useful for reading, as well as auditory feedback for fluency and articulation.
So what’s worth spending money on? For LaCour, it’s children’s books, iPad apps and quality Teachers Pay Teachers products “that I know I can’t (or don’t want to) make myself,” she writes. “Materials take a lot of time to create, and if the product can save me that time, I’m all for it!”
Bake in the Fun With AAC
A rekindled love for baking is what inspired Barbados-based SLP Shareka Bentham to reinvigorate her approach to augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). She recently recounted her “aha” moment on her Easy Speech Ideas blog.
She tells the story of introducing an AAC iPad app to an older client who wasn’t quite interested at first. But Bentham noticed they both shared a love of food, and her client’s “eyes lit up” at the idea of using the app to bake a blueberry cream cheese bread together.
“We worked on navigation of the app to talk about the ingredients and directions for the recipe, and made a shopping list,” writes Bentham. “It was easy to navigate through 1/2 teaspoon and 1/4 cup of ingredients using the app, and I also programmed a separate page called ‘baking actions,’ specific to baking activities.”
The client supervised as “head baker” and gave directions to Bentham, who “mixed, beat, stirred and poured away” according to her instructions.
Change Agent
It can be tough, but school-based SLPs can effect change in their work environment, writes Christine Bainbridge, guest-blogging on fellow SLP Mary Huston’s Speech Adventures website.
“Some of our fellow SLPs are laboring under gigantic caseloads, mounds of paperwork, lack of decent workspaces and unreasonable expectations of administrators and colleagues who don’t really understand what the school SLP actually does,” she writes.
What can you do about it? Bainbridge offers 10 tips, including:
  • Believe you can change things. “The first step in effecting change at your school is the belief that you can have impact … If you can begin to make changes on the small scale, eventually you will make changes on a bigger scale.”

  • Try to understand your administrators better. “If you don’t know your administrators well, make a point to introduce yourself and chat them up … When you have a good working idea of the rules and regulations that [they are] working under, and you can speak intelligently to issues that concern them, you are more likely to get traction when it comes to issues that you care about.”

  • Prepare your data. “When you have a concern about working conditions, track it! If you can give administrators the data they need to make the case for you, you are more likely to get something you want.”

Trial Basis
Assistive technology can be pricey, and finding the right communication device that works with a client can take multiple attempts. That’s why Let’s Talk Speech Therapy blogger Rachel Jones uses assistive technology loan or trial programs, available in all 50 states.
“I use this system quite often in my outpatient/early-intervention positions, and it’s been an absolute life-saver,” the SLP writes in a recent post. “I’ve used it to just try a device, grab a piece of tech that I didn’t have access to, or use it as a hands-on demonstration to improve parent buy-in.”
To help you get started, Jones lists websites for each state’s loan program in her post.
“Just remember,” she adds, “state laws can be really finicky about suggesting parents rent/trial assistive technology, so know your state’s and district’s policy. And if you rent/loan/trial a piece of equipment yourself, you’re financially responsible!”
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July 2016
Volume 21, Issue 7