Blogjam Audiologists and SLPs are blogging about their experiences and discoveries. Check out some of their posts. Blogjam
Blogjam  |   September 01, 2016
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Blogjam   |   September 01, 2016
The ASHA Leader, September 2016, Vol. 21, 18-19. doi:10.1044/leader.BGJ.21092016.18
The ASHA Leader, September 2016, Vol. 21, 18-19. doi:10.1044/leader.BGJ.21092016.18
In Times of Tragedy
In the wake of the June nightclub mass shooting in Orlando, Speech Paths blogger Daria O’Brien shared how she was tackling the tough topic of tragedy with students—who can all have different reactions, questions and levels of understanding.
“Most of my upper elementary students are aware and confused over what has taken place. Many have expressed fear that they or their families are at risk,” she writes. “Others are frightened because their family has future plans to travel to Disney.”
  • First, ask questions. “Sometimes we assume that our students, especially older, know more than we think. Questions such as, ‘So, what do you know?’ allow their knowledge to guide your discussion of the events.”

  • Consider their age. “Early elementary [students] need brief, simple information and reassurance that they are safe. Middle school students might have more questions, need more details, and have stronger opinions about violence in our society.”

  • Let them know their feelings are OK. Remember not to dismiss their concerns, but also realize that not all students show their feelings in the same way. Some may even appear indifferent about the events, O’Brien writes, which is OK, too.

  • Review plans and resources. It’s smart to remind students to be aware of their environment and to know how to use their phones in an emergency. O’Brien also suggests collaborating with other faculty, including school counselors, to make sure everyone is aware of students’ feelings.

Rethinking Thickening
Thickened liquids are often a substantial part of successful dysphagia management—but with some research and products aiming to reduce the need for them, how should SLPs approach their use?
Although the research may point in different directions, the solution can be more simple, says SLP Tiffani Wallace: Consider each patient’s needs.
“The debate should not be all-or-nothing, thickened liquids or no thickened liquids,” she writes on her Dysphagia Ramblings blog. “There always has to be a balance and a consideration for hydration, overall health, respiratory health and patient satisfaction.”
Although she takes research, cost, level of thickness and other factors into consideration, when it comes to daily treatment of patients, Wallace focuses on the whole person. “Some patients just need those thickened liquids. They’re not going anywhere anytime soon.”
Light It Up
Laura Dee of the All Y’all Need blog has a new favorite speech room accessory: the lightbox.
Detailing the ins and outs of a particular brand, Dee shares how fellow SLPs can use the device, which comes with a set of letters to illuminate against a bright background. You can also create your own designs with transparencies, vellum paper or even standard printer paper, she suggests.
“The emoji set would be great for my middle-schoolers. I always struggle with age-appropriate activities for them,” Dee writes as an example. “These could incorporate emotions with how they communicate—texting. Discussion topics could be: Which ‘happy’ emoji would you use and why? Which ones are appropriate for friends? Which ones are appropriate for your parents?”
For school-based SLPs, writing goals for students is second nature. But writing professional goals for themselves can be a real struggle, writes Natalie Snyders on her eponymous blog.
So what to focus on when coming up with professional development goals for the year? Just as you would for your students, start by thinking SMART, says Snyders: “that is, specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.”
More precisely, she suggests thinking about areas of your field that you need or want to learn more about. “Do you need to learn more about stuttering therapy? Do you need to become more comfortable with AAC devices? Do you want to share some of your knowledge and expertise with others?”
Snyders also recommends considering parents and colleagues, and how you could work with them to achieve more of your treatment goals for students.
She provides four examples of professional goals for SLPs, with a suggested list of “action steps” and resources to help you attain each. But, she cautions, “make sure your goals are realistic—don’t give yourself too many extra tasks that will interfere with your regular job duties or home life.”
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September 2016
Volume 21, Issue 9