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Let me back up...I am a behaviorally based SLP with extensive training in Applied Behavior Analysis. I also have worked successfully with many many families. One of the reasons I am a fan and have an astute knowledge base in applied behavior analysis is that the model works and has enhanced how I collect data, train families, support and train my staff, and program for my clients. One of the major rules in applied behavior analysis is that practitioners should Replace the Behavior we don't want with the Behavior we want to see. The replacement is not overnight, it is not judgemental, it is not accomodating. But it is clear about the scope and sequence of moving from the baseline toward proficiency.
I have long felt that "Therapy Should Make You Better". This phrase not only sounds good, its also empowering. But in practice, what does it really mean? How does therapy really make a person better? Is it stringing beads in Occupational Therapy? Is it saying vowel sounds in speech therapy? In practical application, how do vowel sounds and stringing beads actually help and empower families after the session(s) are over? While the long term effects of those practices are building blocks to real skills, the real truth is they are not practical at all.
This Empowered Parent VLOG (Video Blog) talks about Imitation Skills as a key ingredient to improving speech coordination and movement. Parents can gain information on ABA Therapy and its connection to speech therapy by learning how Gross Motor Imitation programs can influence speech praxis -movement.
Speech Language Pathology was recently listed as a top career selection...that's excellent news. We have made it (finally) to career day, top 20 careers, and have the pleasure of being listed amongst engineers (my husband and father are both), physicians, and attorneys. As a seasoned SLP and Executive Director, I am often asked for observation hours and we receive resumes for grads looking for jobs. I have a love and passion for my profession, but I hesitate on the CF, yet I yield to the calling of paying it forward as some wonderful mentors opened doors for me. But after reading some tweets and cover letters this evening, I decided to give some helpful tools that will hopefully shift the thinking or perspective of the new grad.
Today is April 1, the beginning of a month long campaign to improve autism awareness. Early in my career the prevalence rate was 1 in 150. I remember distinctly researching this detail as I delivered a speech for the Westchester County-Fairfield chapter of Autism Speaks. The speech was requested to improve the collaboration amongst private providers. In this speech, I discussed Autism as being an Out of the Box disorder requiring every professional to step outside of their box of speech and occupational therapy and actually collaborate well to improve the system and performance of people with autism. Almost 8 years later, the prevalence rate is now suggested to be at 1 in 55. This rate could mean that awareness happened and more children are being diagnosed and/or properly diagnosed.
Maybe you know about this tablet! It's pretty new to me. The Kurio is not only inexpensive, but loaded with reinforcers. What's great is that parents can set the time intervals for play and the allowable sites to visit. This is great and moves the kids from you phones. I often see children transitioning from the waiting room to treatment and face the challenge of leaving their favorite game on their parents phone behind. Or in a behavior assessement, one of the challenges being listed is letting go of the technology. While I think the latter requires a different kind of attention, both challenges can be addressed by having children use something of thier own.
I have always been the "I am there for you" person. I am the drop anything for you friend, speak to a parent at night (when their children are asleep) therapist to review goals, etc. Stay up until the wee hours of the morning to get ready for the next day's IEP or to write a masterpiece report. I was also frustrated and guilty because I had absolutely no work life balance. The phrasing "Work Hard and Play Even Harder" was meant for other people...I wasn't playing hardly at all. Even on vacations, I was fielding calls from my office, writing emails, reviewing reports, or even writing reports...and that was before cloud computing! I secretly envied friends who could leave their jobs and turn it off. My friends would constantly assure me that as Director and Owner of a private practice, this was my life and comes with the territory. Still frustrated, I felt like I was on a never ending chase of the ellusive work-life balance. And then I had a baby.
Effective September 1, 2012, SLC Therapy will be an in-network provider for ABA Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech Therapy services for Cofinity/Aetna plans. This will better serve our Michigan families and help support the financial impact of a diagnosis of autism. SLC Therapy provides a center based ABA program along with Occupational Therapy (including Sensory Integration Therapy), Feeding Therapy, Speech Therapy, and Augmentative Communication Therapy. Home based ABA programs are also provided and based upon availability of staff, scheduling, and best treatment environment for clients.
I am always looking to improve quality and create a consistent and excellent standard of care for clients. In looking at speech sound production and shaping vocal behavior especially in clients that are nonverbal, it is essential that the speech language pathologist identifies and distinguishes themselves from the ABA therapist providing a Verbal Behavior program. While there is much overlap, the speech language pathologist is uniquely trained and positioned to provide intensity in verbal and vocal shaping programs.