Editor’s Note: In her daily work at PediaStaff, Heidi is Editor in Chief of the popular PediaStaff Blog for pediatric and school based therapist, and also created the PediaStaff’s Pinterest Site for therapists and parents of special needs children. The company’s continuing work to educate, share resources with, and support the special needs community has been featured on Parents.com, and Love That Max, (an award-winning special needs blog). In addition, PediaStaff has been recently profiled by the well-regarded social media blog, The Realtime Report, for their innovative work on the Pinterest social media site.
Author’s Note: I would like to thank the following speech-language bloggers for contributing to this article: Activity Tailor, All 4 My Child, Future SLPs, Play on Words, Speech Lady Liz, and Speech Room News.
The number of Speech-Language Pathologists blogging and engaging in social media grew steadily in 2011. Those of us who are active on Twitter (we call ourselves the #SLPeeps), have been sharing articles and resources on blogs, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Recently though, the new social media kid on the block, Pinterest, has made it easier than ever for SLPs to engage each other and share ideas. And with all the sharing going on, it has given bloggers a new place to network their ideas and find inspiration for new ones. While I am not sure exactly if there is causality, it seems that Pinterest is inspiring SLPs to jump into the blogging world. We have counted at least nine brand new SLP bloggers since the first of the year and all of them are also on Pinterest.
I was recently speaking with Maggie McGary, ASHA’s Social Media guru, and we started talking about how great it would be to survey Speech-Language bloggers and compile a short-list of ‘must follow blogs’ for both SLPs and their clients. Sean Sweeney has compiled a great list of blogs in the SLP Blog Bundle, but he doesn’t have a list of exactly who is in there, nor does he describe them anywhere one by one. So, since we have relationships with a great many of the regular speech and language bloggers already through our blog at PediaStaff, I mistakenly thought that I was well-suited for the job of compiling a ‘Best Blogs’ list. I emailed our contributors with a straw poll of sorts to get their votes for the best speech and language blogs in each of several areas. I waited patiently for results, and planned how I would deliver the findings to you in this column.
The results? Well…. The moral of this story is that there isn’t a short list! There are now a dizzying number of blogs to follow and most of them are definitely worth reading. What’s more, our respondents found it impossible to rank as “better” or “best” because they all have their own flavors and angles.
After the ‘best laid plans,’ fell through, what emerged was a list of the active blogs that were submitted as favorites, ordered from A to Z , plus some that are brand new that deserve notice. In order to make this list, the blogs needed to meet the following criteria:
- written by a speech-language pathologist or current graduate student
- currently active
- writes about (or shares resources on) speech language topics at least once a week (preferably more)
- directed to either clinicians, parents and caregivers
- has good ongoing continuity without multiple periods of inactivity in the past
- professional and well edited for spelling, grammar, etc
- shares more general resources and news than it does information on their own products or services
It is important to note that note that neither PediaStaff nor any of the contributors to this list specifically endorse any of these bloggers, nor make any claims to the clinical competence of the authors. In fact, a few of these bloggers keep their full names to themselves to protect their privacy, so we have no way of verifying if they are who they say they are. Please make your own informed decision as to the effectiveness/appropriateness of what these clinicians are sharing. I know this is by all means not a conclusive list (especially since new great new blogs seem to be popping up like daisies!) but as of March 2012, the following are the speech and language blogs that PediaStaff and our colleagues recommend that also meet the above criteria:
Activity Tailor – Kim Lewis, M.Ed, is a private practitioner working in school settings. Her lovely blog includes easy, creative treatment activities and private practice tips. I especially like her clever seasonal ideas and occasional commentary pieces.
All 4 My Child – This Edublog finalist for best new blog offers book reviews, searchable by goal or theme with activities for use to meet therapeutic goals. This site also shares uniquely collaborative therapy ideas, experiences and musings related to social interaction written by co-treating SLPs and OTs.
ASHASphere – You are reading it now. Definitely a “greatest hits” blog with tremendous articles for speech and language clinicians daily!
Becoming Olivia SLP – Olivia is a graduate student in Canada chronicling her experiences as an SLP student in video log (vlog) format. She is full of energy and creating quite a bit of chatter for herself amongst the ‘SLPeeps.’
Chapel Hill Snippets – Ruth Morgan is a school-based clinician who highlights her “assorted observations both in work and play.” Her blog is insightful and well-written. Ruth’s free therapy shares (often downloadable books) are especially popular and well done.
Child Talk – Becca Jarzynski, who specializes in autism, writes a wonderful speech and language therapy blog for parents/caregivers that should not be missed. Her articles offer concrete ideas for parents to help their child communicate during “everyday life.”
Cindy L. Meester’s Blog – An oldie but a goodie, Cindy Meester’s blog has been extremely popular with SLPs since before blogging (and reading blogs) was trendy. While she blogs about all sorts of topics, she was recognized by the Edublog Awards as a finalist in the Ed Tech category.
Early Intervention Speech Therapy – Stephanie Bruno Dowling has a well-known blog on Advance for SLPs and Audiologists. It is unique among the blogs on this list in that it is only one of a few that specialize in Early Intervention.
Eric Sailers’ Blog – Eric is a former school-based clinician who blogs about technical applications for SLPs. He is also the creator of several apps including ArticPix.
Erik X. Raj, Speech Language Pathologist – Erik is a creative SLP, best known for former blog ‘ArticBrain’ which shared how to really engage kids in speech with humor and talk of ‘boogers’ and bugs! He is also blogging on Pocket SLP. His current blog is a video blog.
Hanna B. gradstudentSLP – is a brand new blogger who has come onto the SLP blogging scene just in the past eight weeks. So far, she has made some very nice (and quite frequent) posts on a variety of school-based topics.
In Spontaneous Speech – This blog was recommended to us recently by several bloggers that speak highly of Cindy. We have started following her and suggest that you check her out as well.
If I Only Had Super Powers – This blog is another “oldie but goodie” that has been around since long before blogging was popular. Although we have not gotten to know this blogger personally, she is on our ‘must read list.’
Jill Kuzma’s SLP Social & Emotional Skill Sharing Site – Jill works with students with Asperger’ Syndrome and other high functioning students with social and emotional needs. This blogger is well-respected among her peers in the industry and her blog has much to offer.
Let’s Talk Speech-Language Pathology – Brand new in February of 2012, this is a student blog with some nice potential. We are looking forward to reading her thoughts and ideas.
Little Stories – Kim Rowe’s parent oriented blog is new to us, but was recommended to be in this list by our colleagues at All4MyChild. Based on what we have read so far, it seems to have some great resources and insights for caregivers of young children with speech and language delay.
LiveSpeakLove – Another brand new school-based SLP blogger, Lisa at LiveSpeakLove, is an SLP in the Baltimore County Public Schools. She has creative activities and offers up a bunch of great Boardmaker shares, often with a seasonal bent.
The PediaStaff Blog – I feel a bit awkward including our own blog in this list, but the contributors to this article insisted that I mention it. With posts up to five times a day, the PediaStaff blog aggregates and presents a collection of the clinical articles, treatment ideas, and news. Our staff combs over 100 therapy blogs, websites, and news wire feeds daily, to ensure that PediaStaff readers receive the best information available as it is happens and is written.
Play on Words – This unique, ‘must-read’ blog focuses on toys, games and books that facilitate language development. Sherry Artemenko writes excellent book and product reviews, and also offers up specific ways parents can sneak speech language therapy practice into family fun time at home.
Playing with Words 365 – We discovered this blog through Pinterest. SLP blogger Katie is also certified in ABA. She has a well developed blog that, although written for parents and caregivers, is quite popular among her peers in the profession.
Say What Y’all – Here is yet another brand new school-based SLP blog with great promise. Clean and fresh, Haley Villines’ blog has a modern and creative feel that is echoed by her excellent articles, so far.
Speech Gadget – ‘Deb T., SLP’s’ blog features a variety of articles on books to use in speech language therapy, tools, websites, apps and other online resources. On hiatus for a bit, she seems to be back in action with regular (and excellent) posts and tips.
The Speech Guy – Quite active in the #SLPeeps community on Twitter and Facebook, Jeremy Legaspi, SLP, writes primarily about technology. His articles on worthwhile apps, interactive websites, and technology are definitely worth reading.
The Speech Ladies – This mother and daughter team has an excellent school-based blog full of colorful posts, creative ideas and free downloads. Highly recommended!
Speech Lady Liz – Liz Gretz is a second generation SLP with a great deal of energy and creativity. Her blog is oriented to parents and professionals alike and features tons of colorful, culturally relevant activities that the kiddos can get excited about. She is also very active on Pinterest.
Speech Room News – Young and full of energy, school-based SLP Jenna Rayburn posts fresh, fun activities to promote speech and language goals. New last year, the site was awarded First Runner-Up among in the Edublog 2011 awards in the ‘Best New Blog Category.’ PediaStaff is proud to have made the initial nomination of Speech Room News for this award.
Speech Techie – Sean Sweeney is no stranger to technically savvy (and wanna-be technically savvy) SLPs. He is a regular presenter at both ASHA and Boston University on using technology for Speech and Language therapy. This blog is a must read and is a past EduBlog first place winner in the ‘New Blog’ cateogory.
Speech Time Fun – “Miss Speechie” is also a brand-new and already prolific young blogger. Her posts are full of colorful, creative and fun ideas for the classroom. She is active on Pinterest and often modifies ideas she finds there through a speech/language lens.
Sublime Speech – The explosion of creative new speech blogs continues with Sublime Speech. Lots of ‘Do It Yourself’ activities with free downloadable versions of her creative and ‘hip’ creations! Another one to watch!
Talk It Up Speech Therapy – Ashley Dyer McGeehon’s ‘Talk it Up’ is another brand new one to watch online. A school-based SLP, her ideas are current, interesting, and engaging.
Therapy App411 – This new group blog, also an Edublog nominee, is a collaborative effort of several of our favorite therapy bloggers. The aim is to review smartphone and tablet apps through a therapy lens. Is a must follow for SLPs interested in using smartphones, tablets and technology in the clinic and classroom.
There are several other blogs that I would like to offer honorable mention to that didn’t meet all our criteria. For the most part they are just not posting often enough (how dare those student bloggers pay more attention to their classwork than their blog!) or have taken too many extended breaks from blogging. Please be sure to check out: 2 Gals Talk About Speech Therapy, Cree-zy, Crazy Speechie, Easy Speech and Language Ideas, Future SLPs, Geek SLP, Heather’s Speech Therapy, Landria Seals’ Blog, The Learning Curve, Lexical Linguist, Mommy Speech Therapy, Pathologically Speaking, and The Speech House
Heidi Kay is one of the founding partners of PediaStaff and is the editor-in-chief of the PediaStaff Blog, which delivers the latest news, articles, research updates, therapy ideas, and resources from the world of pediatric and school-based therapy. PediaStaff is a nationwide, niche oriented company focused on the placement and staffing of pediatric therapists including speech-language pathologists.