Widening Her Circle Unmet needs in her community led an SLP to enhance her skills and spread awareness of speech-language services. First Person/Last Page
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First Person/Last Page  |   August 01, 2018
Widening Her Circle
Author Notes
  • Tiffany Turner, MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-S, is the owner of Swallowing and Neurological Rehabilitation, which provides speech-language treatment to adults in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She also publishes resources for other SLPs to use with their patients. She is an affiliate of ASHA Special Interest Group 3, Voice and Voice Disorders; and 13, Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia). therapy@tulsasnr.com
    Tiffany Turner, MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-S, is the owner of Swallowing and Neurological Rehabilitation, which provides speech-language treatment to adults in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She also publishes resources for other SLPs to use with their patients. She is an affiliate of ASHA Special Interest Group 3, Voice and Voice Disorders; and 13, Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia). therapy@tulsasnr.com×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / First Person/Last Page
First Person/Last Page   |   August 01, 2018
Widening Her Circle
The ASHA Leader, August 2018, Vol. 23, 72. doi:10.1044/leader.FPLP.23082018.72
The ASHA Leader, August 2018, Vol. 23, 72. doi:10.1044/leader.FPLP.23082018.72
Speech-language pathologists are by nature problem-solvers, helping their patients and clients find ways to communicate, swallow safely and remain independent. But what about people in the community who don’t realize how we can help?
When I first graduated, I was excited to begin fulfilling my dream of working with adults in skilled nursing care. I loved the interactions with my patients, but productivity demands made session planning difficult, limited budgets meant scarce resources, and patients had few options for intensive specialized outpatient therapy after discharge.
I was concerned about the gaps in services available for patients and resources available for SLPs in my area, so I set out to change this. I took CEUs to hone my skills in adult swallowing, voice and speech-language treatment, and I opened Swallowing and Neurological Rehabilitation in 2014. In 2015, I began writing and publishing books and clinical resources for other SLPs with limited materials, budgets or time to make their own.
But just because you build it doesn’t mean they’ll come, even when you offer new services and programs. I discovered that most local physicians weren’t aware of how SLPs could help their adult patients and, as a result, many patients were not receiving services. Networking was the difficult part for me at first—I felt that telling others about my resources would be off-putting—but as I went out of my comfort zone and talked to local physicians and related organizations about my services I found that they were happy to learn about how I could help their patients.
Through my clinic, I’ve been able to start several free local support groups and community-based programs. I connected with the local Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) chapter to serve patients with ALS and other progressive neuromuscular diseases, and developed the speech-language pathology program for Tulsa’s monthly multidisciplinary ALS clinic, launched last year. In addition to the MDA, I work with other organizations—including the American Parkinson Disease Association, National Foundation of Swallowing Disorders, and Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration—and I host a primary progressive aphasia support group, a swallowing support workshop, and a weekly voice maintenance class for people with Parkinson’s disease.
It’s gratifying to know that thousands of SLPs worldwide use my handouts, worksheets and other resources with their own patients. The more I take on, the more I realize that there really is no end to the number of ways we can help people in our community if we are brave and dedicated enough to do so. In the words of Dr. Seuss, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
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August 2018
Volume 23, Issue 8