Blogging and podcasting for Speech Therapy

Geek SLP TV logo

Photo by Barbara Fernandes

Many of us were born before or when the Internet was just a luxury. I did not even put my hand on a computer until I was 11 years old. From that day forward, I often stayed awake at night just to learn how to create websites, play games or to surf the Internet. Today I still spend many hours daily in front of the computer– I love to blog and network with my fellow speech therapists online.

Imagine that each one of us now has the potential to share our knowledge with millions of people around the world, including with other speech therapists, parents and even individuals whom have a communication disorder. We all have something we can share; we can each be both creators and disseminators of information on a daily basis. I wish I could get paid just to blog, but so far it has been only a hobby.

On my blog called, “GeekSLP Blog”, I write mostly about the use of technology for speech therapy. I am an Apple fan and fan of all the gadgets that make my work easier and more entertaining for the children whom I give therapy. Blogging made it possible for common people like you and me to be the creators of information. We are no longer dependent on big corporations to “teach” us; we learn from one another and grow together. One of the greatest things about blogging is connecting with people that share the same passion (e.g I have several virtual SLP friends that share my passion for technology).

Podcasting has the same function as blogging just in a different format: video or audio only podcasts. I have named my video podcast “GeekSLP TV” (how creative!); people can watch it on YouTube or they can also download episodes on their iPhone, iPod or iPad. At first, it was kind of weird because you are putting your face out there; however, after my seventh episode things started getting a lot easier. I just hope people enjoy watching the podcasts as much as I enjoy recording it for my audience. The best aspect about podcasting is that you do not even have to be a geek to create a podcast; a voice recorder or a video camera is all you need to get started.

I hope you get inspired and start blogging or podcasting today. I would love to hear from you and your new way to share your knowledge with the world.

Barbara Fernandes is a trilingual speech and language pathologist. She is the director of Smarty Ears and the face behind GeekSLP TV, a blog and video podcast focusing on the use of technology in speech therapy. Barbara has also been a practicing speech therapist both in Brazil and in the United States. She is a an active participant of the Texas Speech and Hearing Association as a member of the TSHA Culturally and linguistically diverse issues task force. Barbara has created over 15 applications for speech therapists.

Playing Favorites

Lecture hall

Photo by English106

The first week of classes at Clarion University is pretty much in the books.  A mix of faces…some old, some new…staring at me in class.  The new ones looking somewhat apprehensive.  The old ones more relaxed…they know me, they know the drill, they know what to expect.  It’s a time of possibility as they embark on what I hope will be a semester of authentic learning.

Not only are the first weeks of class some of my most enjoyable for their accompanying sense of newness, but also because I get to deliver some of my favorite presentations.  Perhaps the presentation I enjoy most is based upon von Leden’s “A Cultural History of the Larynx and Voice” which appears in Robert Thayer Sataloff’s tome Professional Voice: The Science and Art of Clinical Care.  Having grown up in the Gettysburg-area, I suppose I come by my love of history naturally (that, plus the fact I’ve had many excellent teachers along the way).  Perhaps this is why I enjoyed Boone’s article “A Historical Perspective of Voice Management: 1940-1970” in the July 2010 issue of SID 3’s Perspectives so much.

It’s somewhat distressing to me when I sense students don’t know the history of their area of study and how it shapes current professional practice…this, then, is the driving force behind for “the von Leden lecture”.  It is von Leden’s premise that the study of the larynx and voice evolved across four stages.  The most recent stage (and the stage in which we currently find ourselves), called the Realistic, had its advent with the Renaissance and marks the time when consideration of the phonatory system became a science, based on experimentation and observation (as opposed to simply being a product of speculation).  To think, some of the information I provide and things I teach are based on da Vinci’s (the 15th-16th centuries) and Eustachius’s (16th century) work in the area of anatomy, Mueller’s studies which led to the Myoelastic-Aerodynamic of vocal fold vibration (1837), and Garcia’s work with a self-invented laryngoscope (1854) to cite just a few examples.  As I share such information with my students, what is old truly becomes what is new.

Let’s face it…we all have our favorite things.  It might seem odd, even nerdish, to some to have a favorite lecture.  But really, when you think about it, my craft, my art, is teaching.  And in this respect I am really no different than a woodworker with his favorite chair, a rock band with its favorite album, or an artist with her favorite sculpture.  (Ok…maybe that is all a little grand, but you get my point…lol.)

If you work in higher education is there a presentation you particularly enjoy giving…why?

If you are a former or current student is there a presentation you particularly enjoyed…why?

Kenneth Staub, M.S., CCC-SLP, is an Assistant Professor, Communication Sciences & Disorders at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. He will be a regular contributor to ASHAsphere and welcomes questions or suggestions for posts.

Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) and Keeping Our Brains Moving

Social networking icons

Photo by webtreats

I finished my Speech-Language Pathology master’s in 1999.  I don’t know about you, but I sometimes worry that all the content I learned at that time is being eradicated by less important clutter in my brain, such as reality TV show plots, others’ Facebook status updates, etc.  One very positive movement in educational circles aims to promote more useful brain-stuffing- I am speaking about the development of Personal Learning Networks or PLNs.  If you are reading this post on ASHAsphere, you have gotten started with a PLN, a set of interactive resources to follow and participate in, whether they be blogs, Twitter feeds, and even your Facebook news feed, depending on what you put in it!

We call these resources interactive because, unlike a journal (which of course has its own value), you can easily respond and receive responses when engaging in a blog, Twitter or Facebook feed, thus making you feel more networked.  PLNs can expose you to important news in your field, inspiring ideas, or simply be a resource to ask and answer questions about our day-to-day jobs.  For clinicians that operate mostly on a solo basis, such as in an itinerant situation or a public school, PLNs can be vital in keeping you going and preventing burnout! So, here are 5 tips for getting started with building a PLN:

Facebook isn’t just for finding out what your friends had for dinner- Facebook’s Pages feature puts you in touch with helpful professional content.  When you navigate to a page (you can look them up using the Search field in your top menu bar) and “Like” it, updates from that page will end up in your News Feed.  Try “Liking” ASHA’s page, and another one I recommend is Social Thinking.

Twitter is an even better forum- Many people think that Twitter is just for the mundane thoughts of celebrity, um, twits! However, it has evolved into another great way to share information and share with colleagues. Click here for a good starter guide and start building your network.  You can follow me at @SpeechTechie, and try searching for the “hashtag” #slpeeps to see what some of the SLPs on Twitter are saying.

Blogs (like this one) provide you with great information and resources- A blog is designed to be a sounding board for the author, but also as an interactive forum for you.  The problem is, sometimes you find good blogs and forget about them, or get tired of going to them for updates.  To find some blogs to follow (you’ll find some via steps 1 and 2 above, because people often tweet or post on Facebook about new blog entries) try using Google blog search- do a regular Google search, then click on Blogs in the left sidebar.  Try clicking on Homepages in the sidebar to get an even better sense of blogs that meet your interest.  Another key strategy to following blogs is using a tool like Google Reader to aggregate all your blogs, so that you know automatically when there is a new entry. Pop my blog SpeechTechie into your Reader, and a few of my other faves include Speech-Language Pathology Sharing, GeekSLP and Free Technology for Teachers.

Bookmark socially- If you are only using your web browser to bookmark web pages, you are missing out on opportunities to carry your bookmarks from place to place and also to see what other professionals are bookmarking.  Try using a social bookmarking service such as delicious or diigo to keep track of your bookmarks, find new resources based on what others like, and join groups or networks.

Don’t get overwhelmed. You don’t have to start your own blog.  You don’t even have to comment on anything to get started with a PLN. Like everything, it’s best taken one step at a time, and you’ll be surprised what you learn!

Sean J. Sweeney, MS, MEd, CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist and instructional technology specialist working in the public school and in private practice at The Ely Center in Newton, Massachusetts. He has presented on the topic of technology integration in speech and language at the ASHA convention and is the author of the blog SpeechTechie: Looking at Technology Through a Language Lens.

How I became the speech guy with an iPad

iPad Screenshot with Monkey Business App

Photo by Eric Sailers

(This post originally ran on http://slpsharing.com/)

As a kindergartner in the mid 1980’s, I saw a speech-language pathologist (SLP) for speech delays. I don’t recall the experience with much detail, but I have been reminded by those closest to me. Once I became an SLP, my mom informed me that I said “Dada Da” for “Santa Claus,” and my SLP (who continues to work in the same district that I attended as a student and now work in) told me that I called myself “airwit.” Evidently I had errors of stopping, cluster reduction, vocalic r, and t/k substitution. I was also told that I did drill work with traditional flashcards to practice sounds. Although I graduated from speech-language therapy, I wonder how my experience would have been different with the wonderful technologies available today.

Back in the winter of 2008, I purchased my first iPhone and started beta testing for Proloquo2Go, an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) app. I was so impressed with how a cool, mobile technology could be very sophisticated at a reasonable cost. I started looking at other applications that could be used in speech-language therapy. One of the first apps I discovered was Wheels on the Bus, an interactive music book that plays the song. My students loved the interactions like moving the bus and popping bubbles with the touch of their finger. I loved how my students were so engaged by the interactions that didn’t require a computer mouse (which is challenging for many of my students); plus, they sang to repetitive lyrics and heard their voice recording in the app.

In 2009, I thought about developing an app. I didn’t have a background in software engineering, so I began a conversation with my friend Jason Rinn who did. After several discussions and time spent learning the iPhone programming language, Jason was on board. Jason and I decided to create solutions that involved a strong component of tracking progress. We created a data collection app (Percentally) and an articulation app (ArtikPix) with integrated data collection. ArtikPix is an app that allowed me to include modern technology in a tool for speech articulation difficulties that I personally experienced some 25 years ago. It means a lot to me that I can share such a personalized solution with children who I now serve.

I currently use iOS devices (iPod touch and iPad) in speech-language therapy sessions. I have five iPods that are primarily for individual use, and one iPad I incorporate in group activities. There are apps my students use individually such as iColoringBook and Sentence Builder. For both apps, my students show their screen to the group as they produce sentences. Optimized iPad apps for my groups include a book app called Zoo You Later – Monkey Business and BrainPop Featured Movie. During Monkey Business and BrainPop, the students take turns listening, touching, and talking about the content. A book app like Monkey Business is very enjoyable and beneficial for children because of the features including interactive text and illustrations, painting, recorded audio, voice recording, and highlighted text. I imagine I would have enjoyed using apps like interactive books and games to practice my sounds.

My students are drawn to the iOS devices, and general education peers are interested in how they use the technologies for communication. My students favorite part about iOS devices is the touching aspect. Even if they are not skilled with a computer mouse, most of my students can tap, flick, and drag elements on the screen. I see this as a great source of initiating and maintaining their engagement during activities.
I think that apps offer great features for visual cues and auditory feedback that aid children with special needs in the learning process. I also am very pleased to have my students using mobile technologies that they might not otherwise use because of various factors. Finally, it brings me great joy to hear students asking, “Hey speech guy, can we use the iPad today?”

Eric Sailers, MA, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist who serves children Pre-K to 5th grade. He has co-created two iOS applications: Percentally and ArtikPix. He is also a blogger at slpsharing.com.

Autism Spectrum Disorders…Labels, Categories, and Confusion: Part 1

Organizational bins

(This post and this photo originally appeared on www.ocslp.org)

Gabriel could be one of Raphael’s angels with his curly locks and sweet full-lipped smile. Sitting at his TEACCH station, Gabriel whizzes through his sorting task with otherworldly speed. His classmate Vera, on the other hand, throws her work on the floor in frustration and begins a perfect recitation of the opening narrative from “Beauty and the Beast” while twirling her long red hair around each finger on her right hand. This reciting and twirling will not end without a tantrum until the entire repertoire has been repeated exactly four times.

I often think about Gabriel and his sorting. There’s comfort in sorting a mess into convenient containers, whether that mess is an overturned drawer, an in-box spilling it’s contents onto a nearby file-cabinet, or a mental tornado of “to do” items whirling in one’s consciousness at 2:00 a.m.

Sorting implies categories which imply labels which are mental constructs of anything and everything “out there” and “in here.” Categories arise when there are too many labels to manage. It’s a whole lot easier to ask your kiddo to “fold the clothes” instead of listing each and every item in the laundry basket.

Let’s get back to Gabriel and Vera for a moment. Gabriel has not uttered a word since he was 19 months, even though he had babbled delightful syllables containing a variety of sounds as an infant and could even say “ma” “da” and “no” on his first birthday. Gabriel independently communicates his needs/wants using PECS. Vera is highly intelligible and started reading at 2 1/2 but does not use language to communicate her basic needs unless she is prompted. Gabriel has “moderate-severe autism.” So does Vera.

These are two kiddos who share the same category of “autistic spectrum disorder” and the same sub-category of “moderate-severe.” Gabriel is also considered “non-verbal,” while Vera is considered “verbal.” Both kiddos have “sensory integration dysfunction” (another category), but Gabriel is “sensory seeking” and Vera is “sensory avoiding.” Vera is considered to have “mental retardation” (I really hope this label soon lands in the great big dumpster of offensive words). Gabriel, on the other hand, WAS thought to have MR, but his IEP team isn’t so sure about that anymore. Both have “behaviors” that interfere with their adaptive functioning.

Are you confused? Overwhelmed even? Yeah, me too.

To bend your mind a bit further, consider that these two kiddos are not the most severe, nor are they “mildly autistic” or “high functioning.” What happens when we include labels such as “Aspergers Syndrome,” “Pervasive Developmental Disorder, NOS,” and “Non-Verbal Language Disorder” (which by the way is NOT an autistic spectrum disorder and does NOT mean that an individual is non-verbal)? Confusion, confusion, and more confusion.

And now the American Psychiatric Association (APA) is proposing to scrap several of these labels altogether in exchange for “Autistic Disorder/Autism Spectrum Disorder” in the DSM-5 (more on that in my next post).

It’s no wonder that individuals, parents, families, and professionals find understanding, explaining, and treating autism so difficult. This “spectrum” of neurodevelopmental disorders (more on this too in my next post) is anything BUT clear-cut and defies convenient labels and categories.

As the saying goes, “You’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” After working with at least 100 kiddos with an autism spectrum disorder and knowing at least 100 more, I have to wholeheartedly agree with this.

Debra L. Brunner, M.A., CCC-SLP works as a private speech-language
pathologist in Orange County, California and a part-time clinician at The
Prentice School, a non-profit day school for children with language
learning differences. Ms. Brunner’s blog, as well as information
regarding her private practice, can be found at www.ocslp.org.

Piles of RTI data

Pile of folders

Photo by Rex Roof.

(This post originally appeared on Educational Inspirations)

OK, so you managed to take on RTI.  Now you are inundated with piles of data.  Typically, when we have screened the elementary, I have piles of DIBELS books to enter.  When I get done with that and think I am in the clear, then people start putting the scores of the absent kids on post its and sending them to me.  I find them on my chair, computer, and phone.  It never ends.  Then add my evaluations of speech language kids, intervention data from teachers, and print outs of articles I intend to read when I finally run out of things to do.  I can’t find anything.  Sound familiar?

No matter how organized I set out to be each year, by October I am drowning in piles, but I have found a few things that really work for me.

First, check out Caselite Software.  For a mere $100 I have found a way to get my speech-language scheduling done quickly. The greatest thing about this is that it also keeps your records for  you.  I have not had to write anything out in triplicate since I got this.  I can track who came to therapy, absentees, and who missed therapy due to field trips, etc.  I can also record my notes from the session.  Then I can print it all for Medicaid billing.  A dream come true!  You can find this at www.caselitesoftware.com

Second, for those RTI coordinators awash in a sea of intervention data sheets. A colorful little storage tower comes in really handy.  Mardels has perfect storage towers.  I put blank Tier 1 sheets in the first drawer, blank Tier 2 sheets in the second drawer, and completed data sheets to be filed, in drawer 3.  I color code the Tier sheets to make them easy to spot.  A bright pink for Tier 1 and bright yellow for Tier 2.  I put raw screening data sheets collected three times a year in the next drawer.  Then I use the remaining drawers for materials I am using daily for intervention groups such as timers, reading passages, etc. I keep this tower right next to the door in my room.  Teachers have figured out where I keep data sheets and just send students to get what they need.  This cuts down on more post it notes from teachers asking for data sheets.  So, one less thing to worry about.

I also have a file bin divided by grade level for RTI files.  Every student in our school that receives interventions has a file folder.  Pink folders for Tier 1 students and Yellow folders for Tier 2 students (the file folder colors correspond to the Tier sheet colors).  I always write the student name in pencil in case they move from a pink to a yellow folder.  All the intervention data the teachers turn in is filed in this folder.  It transfers across years so if a student was receiving interventions last year we just add to the file.  If a student goes to Tier 3 (full evaluation for us) we have all the interventions already compiled.

How about you–how do you stay organized?

Nicole Power is an SLP and literacy consultant at Bethany Public Schools in Bethany, Oklahoma.  She provides language/literacy therapy as well as intervention primarily to elementary students.  Nicole is the district coordinator for the Response to Intervention program and collaborates with teachers and other specialists to provide high quality instruction to struggling students.  She presents area workshops and created and directs the Oklahoma School SLP Conference.

A Case for Consultation

Elementary school classroom

Photo by perspicacious.

It is an age-old question and one that every therapist must ask for every student.  Which is the best service delivery model for a student? Earlier this year ASHA offered the following statement as a guide for service delivery:

SLPs provide intervention that is appropriate to the age and learning needs of each individual student and is selected through an evidence-based decision-making process. Although service delivery models are typically more diverse in the school setting than in other settings, the therapy techniques are clinical in nature when dealing with students with disabilities. (ASHA, 2010)

Although other forms of service delivery exist, such as a self-contained model where the speech pathologist is the educator responsible for curriculum as well as intervention, the majority of services delivery models within a school setting can be defined as either direct services in a pull-out setting, direct services within a classroom setting (including community and home settings), consultative services where the speech pathologist is providing indirect services to the student by providing guidance, intervention techniques, and therapy strategies to other individuals working with a student, or a combination of these models.  Direct services, whether provided in a classroom or in a pull-out setting, appear to dominate as a service delivery model.  It is common to find direct services as the primary form of intervention when reviewing individualized education plans.  When comparing the amount of time between direct services and consultation listed on Individual Education Plans it would be a rare to find the amount of time spend by the therapist providing the service of consultation to exceed the amount of direct services. Unless a student is nearing dismissal from services, consultation is rarely the primary from of service delivery.

Sample of How Services Are Written on an IEP

Service Setting Frequency
Direct Speech-Language Intervention General Education or Special Education 60 min / week
Consultation General Education 15 min / month

What if we were to explore the possibility of providing a consultative model as the primary form of intervention and direct services as a the secondary model? What would happen if, on every IEP, the amount of service delivery time was swapped so that whatever amount of time was listed for direct services became consultation and vice versa?  What impact would this have on the role of the speech therapist within a school setting and, more importantly, what impact would it have on intervention for students?

Sample of Swapped Frequency on an IEP

Service Setting Frequency
Direct Speech-Language Intervention General Education or Special Education 15 min / month
Consultation General Education 60 min / week

If the primary role of the speech pathologist were to shift from direct service provider to consultant, the responsibilities of the speech therapist would change accordingly to more of a professional development position. The educators who provide direct instruction for students the majority of the time, such as general education and special education teachers, would become trained by the speech language pathologist in therapeutic techniques.  The speech pathologist would act as a guide, coach, and mentor helping to facilitate best practices.  Imagine a speech pathologist providing workshops to small groups of teachers, sharing research about the latest techniques, making or finding video or audio clips that can be used to educate parents and educators.  The following are points to consider when exploring a switch to a service delivery model where the speech language pathologist’s primary function is to provide consultative services.

Therapist as Sage

A direct service delivery model, no matter the setting, leads some to believe that the speech therapist providing the direct service has been granted the magical powers to provide intervention.  These individuals falsely believe that the work of the speech therapist alone, given the time allotted on the IEP, will allow the student to achieve speech-language goals. Often however, the approach that works better is when the entire body of educators, including the parents or guardians, work together to achieve the goals.  One reason some therapists choose an inclusion model of direct service delivery is to provide other educators with a model of how to provide carry-over services.  The idea is that by the therapist providing services in the room with another educator present that educator will pick up and employ the techniques the therapist is using during times when the therapist is not present. Of course this method of transference might work for some educators, but there is still a mind-set by many that what the speech therapist does is separate from what anyone else does with a student.  Reducing the expectation of direct services and increasing the expectation of consultative services reinforces the idea that everyone working with the student is responsible for every goal and every subsequent intervention to meet those goals.

Conducting Workshops

Although the speech language pathologist might already be doing some trainings with educators it is often the case that this happens in isolation, is limited formally to staff meetings once or twice a year, or happens informally during brief discussions in the hallway.  It is true that speech language pathologists are already providing professional development that is ongoing and dynamic, but this is rarely viewed as the primary role of the therapist.  Constructing a structured system for provision of professional development to staff members increases the awareness, knowledge, and abilities of every educator for every student.  Providing a therapist time to build learning communities, both within a school or across a district (or even beyond), increases the likelihood that the professional development will be effective and long-lasting.

Workload Remains Unchanged

A consultative model would result in a lessening of direct service provision however the overall workload of a therapist would remain unchanged.  The amount of time a therapist would be working toward achieving students goals as listed on an IEP would be the same.  Note the tables suggest shifting the time, not reducing the time allotted per student.  It should be noted however that direct service delivery often occurs in group settings.  Likewise, provision of consultative services could occur in a group setting.  When a therapist is conducting a workshop to a variety of educators, an indirect service is being provided to every student with whom that educator works.

Speech Therapy For All

If it were possible, every student could benefit from spending time with someone trained in facilitating speech and language production.  In a direct service delivery model only students with specified goals reap the benefits of working with a speech language pathologist.  Over time general educators may pick up techniques from the therapist, but that only occurs when the therapist is working with a student within that classroom and it is usually only for the span of one school year before the student moves on to a different general educator.  In a consultative model, trainings can occur for every educator every year, expanding the number of students impacted by the work of the therapist.  Interested educators (and parents) could participate in workshops and learning communities at any time to enhance their knowledge and skills. In this way, every student could benefit from the speech therapist, providing a more unified and universal vision of education as a whole.

Consultation is a part of every speech therapist’s job responsibility whether it is written formally in an individualized education plan or not.  Therapists provide this service constantly during casual conversations and, to a lesser extent, in formalized workshops and meetings.  As caseloads get larger and the demands placed on educators increase these types of conversations are often the first casualties.  Rather than entering into a discussion about therapy techniques, working together to create a lesson plan, or participating in a therapy session educators are off to meet their next requirement. Therapist might find themselves running to the next therapy session rather than having the time to converse in detail about a student.  By adjusting service delivery in such a way that consultation becomes the primary mode of service delivery speech therapists effectively duplicate themselves. By extension, the therapist then makes a greater amount of impact to more educators and, more importantly, to more students.

References:

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2010). Roles and Responsibilities of Speech-Language Pathologists in Schools [Professional Issues Statement].

Language Literacy Labs: http://www.speechpathology.com/articles/article_detail.asp?article_id=77

Christopher R. Bugaj, MA CCC-SLP – host of the A.T.TIPScast, an award-winning podcast featuring tools to differentiate instruction. Chris is the co-author of The Practical (and Fun) Guide to Assistive Technology in Public Schools: Building or Improving Your District’s AT Team and presents at local, state, and national conferences.

Connecting With My #SLPeeps on Twitter

Screenshot from Twitter of a post using the hashtag SLPeeps

Speech Language Pathologists speak their own language that only other SLPs truly understand. This is the case for many different professionals, but it is complicated by the fact that most of the time SLPs are isolated from others. We’re usually the only SLP at our school or in our town. Often we’re in a closet away from everybody else. And, no one at our schools knows exactly what we do.

As a result, when we go to conferences with other SLPs it’s a relief to be able to speak in our native tongue and to talk about our experiences, our problems, our great ideas, and our frustrations with another SLP. After all, this is someone who completely understands what we’re talking about. I’ve found that it usually takes the speaker a little bit of time to get a group of SLPs to stop talking in order to start their presentation. Then, after the program, they sometimes have to kick us out as well. We’re not trying to be rude, we just love hanging out with other SLPs. We are trying to fill our canteen while we can before we go back to the desert where people don’t understand the frustrations of vocalic /r/ and our exciting new therapy toys (as you can tell, I work with children). We just don’t get to see each other often enough.

So, when I stumbled upon Twitter I quickly realized the potential for networking with other Speech Language Pathologists. Slowly I’ve found a good group of SLPeeps (the name that we’ve given ourselves on the web), to which I’ve been able to direct my assessment and therapy questions, give my frustrations, and talk about SLP issues in general. Sometimes we just get a little silly and have a good time with our conversations. It’s been wonderful to be able to have a group that understands SLP talk and what I’m doing at my finger tips.

I’ve made friends with other SLPs all over the world. It’s interesting to find out how they do things in other places. Different educational backgrounds, experiences and interests have resulted in a rich resource on Twitter. I’m beginning to feel like I’m part of a greater international community of Speech Language Pathologists.

There are many people and resources for SLPs online that you can easily find via Twitter among other sources. There are many vendors, specialists, professors, and plenty of clinical SLPs. I’ve found that they are always willing to answer questions. We’ve been able to get special discounts from some of the vendors. One time Super Duper gave us a special discount on Chipper Chat products just because one of the SLPeeps asked about it. Super Duper frequently has Twitter promotions. I have also had Dynavox answer simple support questions over Twitter. SLPs also share online resources, including websites that provide free materials for education or therapy.

Lists of SLPs and other related stuff on Twitter.

You can find followers by searching SLP-related words; well, you can find a few at least. The better way to start finding other SLPs on Twitter is to start looking through the follower lists of other SLPs (my Twitter name is @speechbob), or better yet, look at the followers of @ASHAweb.

So, come join us. We don’t bite, promise.

Robert Bateman, MS CCC-SLP is an educational SLP working at Davis School District in Utah He’s also the co-writer of the new SLP blog Pathologically Speaking.