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What Will You Do Differently at Work Monday?

by Bridget Murray Law

As ASHA’s 2017 Convention wrapped up on a typically bright and sunny LA Saturday, the Convention Center was abuzz with new ideas for clients’ treatment

We joined the conversation. We asked audiologists and speech-language pathologists what they plan to change up at work, based on convention sessions and conversation. Their inspirations were as varied as the conference subject matter, ranging from rebranding themselves to connecting clients to the community to using a new evidence-based tool for autism treatment.

Here’s a sampling of what they plan to do differently this week.

  • Reframe my branding: Because of the personal branding I went through in the Empowerment Zone, I’m going to reframe the way I describe my services—to reframe my brag—by explaining that my career has been filled with helping Title I schools and providing therapy to underserved populations. So, as I work on starting my own telepractice company, the focus is more on my ability to help others and less on me and my doctoral training.” —Pamela Storey, private practitioner, Jamestown, Rhode Island, and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
  • Buy a dental mirror: I am going to go home and immediately buy a dental mirror for my cleft palate patients, so I can look at their hard palate. I have one little girl in mind that this will really help with.  —Ann Lehn, Flagstaff Northland Rural Therapy Association, clinical supervisor for North Arizona University
  • Teach mindfulness:  I’m going to do mindfulness training with students, just five minutes in each classroom, inspired by Goldie Hawn’s mindfulness talk. Teachers have been trying to do it, but not there’s not enough time in the day. There are a lot of kids with trauma in our school, so I’m hoping mindfulness may be a way to replace some negative behaviors and help kids think before they act.  —Christine Putman, SLP, Reynolds School District, Portland, Oregon
  • Use whole body listening: To improve listening in the classroom, I’m going to start using the whole body listening techniques I learned from one presenter. The student with hearing loss will place his feet flat on the floor, sit up straight in the chair and face the speaker. I even got some exercises to make sure they’re engaged and using this technique. —Sandee Saurman, educational audiologist, Ventura County Office of Education, California
  • Change my IEP approach: I’m going to be much more intentional about the way I write goals in my students’ IEPs, based on several sessions I went to on the Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District case. I’m not just going to fall back on the more general goals I used to write. I’m going to make them much more customized to students’ needs.  —Emily Zimmerman, Renton School District, Washington
  • Motivate and sequence: I heard two ideas I’ll take back and start using this week. One is using motivational interviewing with my cognitive rehab clients. It’s like a counseling conversation to let the patient tell you what they want to achieve and also share their story. The second idea is an approach for patients with aphasia—sequencing where I give the person a letter and see if they can make the sound for that letter. Then give them a short word with that letter and keep building.  — Caroline Kreis, Skilled Nursing Facility, Heartland Uptown, Westerville, Ohio
  •  Connect with community: I’m going to refocus a lot of my work in palliative care on purpose and connection with community. So it’s thinking outside the skilled nursing facility—whether it’s bringing in family photos, family members, friends, music or just getting patients out in the community once a month, so they’re not just stuck in the SNF. A convention session really helped me reformulate my ideas to work with who they are as a person, not just a patient.”  —Kevin English, Mount Diablo Unified School District and Aegis Therapies, Bay Area, California
  • Try a new EPB tool: I’m going to use a new evidence-based tool in my treatment: the National Professional Developmental Center on Autism Spectrum Disorder. It is continually updated and has extensive research on strongest evidence-based practice (EPB), from kids to adults and all different cognition levels. It helps you make sure the treatments you’re implementing are following the research guidelines. I will also be sharing this with my students!  —University of Maryland, College Park, associate clinical professor, communication sciences and disorders

Bridget Murray Law is editor-in-chief of The ASHA Leader.

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