In an effort to make pediatric speech therapy successful, a collaborative venture must be initiated between the therapist and parents. Often times parents are unsure of what to do pre and post treatment. Here is a list of Do's and Dont's that every parent should pay attention to.
Do go on vacation–don't feel guilty, you and your child needs a break too.
Don't ask your child, "What did you do in school today?" That question is very abstract and hard to answer. Instead, find a take-home paper or object in his/her backpack, pull it out and start talking about it such as, "I like how you colored this yellow bird and he's_____." See if your child will fill in the blank as you start a sentence for him. It is much easier for a child with speech and language delays to have the thought started for them to complete than to call up all the events of the day and formulate them into sentences. Your child feels successful and so do you because you've heard a little nugget about their day.
Do practice the suggestions from your therapist. Give them feedback on how it went. Often parents will tell a therapist it is too hard to fit in the practice or their child was resistive. Let them help you work through that and find a motivator for your child or easy and fun way to practice.
Do model language for your child as you go through your everyday experiences, whether it's on a trip to New York or making dinner. Children take in more language when it relates to what they are doing, experiencing, and seeing. For a child with speech and language delays you might say, "I'm getting out the big pot to fill it with water. Let's open the end of the pasta box and empty it," demonstrating words like open and end as you say them. Multi-sensory experiences reinforce learning–seeing, describing, feeling, smelling the pasta–in kids who may be weak in an area such as auditory skills. Work with your speech language pathologist to know what level of language you should be using with your child, according to their current abilities.
Don't ask too many questions. Never "test" a child by saying, "What's this?" or "What's that?" Kids have to stop their train of thought , process the question and then formulate an answer. Questions are fine when used naturally in a situation such as "Do you want pancakes or cereal for breakfast?"
Do pause when you talk or read to your child with speech and language delays. Many children need extra time to process the language as well as formulate a reaction or response to what you are saying. I like to "hang out" on a page of a picture book, commenting on the illustrations or what I might like about that part of the story and then pause for the child to offer her thoughts as I did.
Do enjoy your precious child and take time out from all the "To Do" lists!
If you're a current speech therapist, or you're thinking of entering a field that helps people with one of the most important functions they have -- their speech -- then check out the following free resources just for speech therapists.
The American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) is the professional association for those who are engaged in a career relevant to hearing and speech. This includes speech therapists. The ASHA's website describes it as the "professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 140,000 members and affiliates who are speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists in the United States and internationally." Visit the organization's website at www.asha.org for more information about continuing education, career development and certification resources. Membership means you'll have to pay a fee, but many free resources are available at the ASHA website.
If you work with people who are deaf, you'll want to explore the offerings of the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), at www.nidcd.nih.gov. A division of the National Institutes of Health (www.nih.gov), the NIDCD offers a great amount of information regarding deafness as well as on voice disorders. What's really nifty is its "Talk to an NIDCD Information Specialist," where you can ask questions of an expert and receive guidance to additional databases and publications.
Speaking of publications, the ASHA mentioned above publishes the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. The Journal publishes research on several clinical practice topics, all of which are peer-reviewed. You can get a subscription when you join the ASHA or you may purchase an online subscription for a small fee.
If you're a speech therapist and looking for your next position helping individuals with speech disorders, contact Centra Healthcare Solutions. We offer temporary, direct-hire and even traveling assignments at rehab therapy sites all over the country. We look forward to hearing from you.
Whether you have just completed your education, or have been a licensed speech therapist for many years, joining a national or statewide speech therapy association can have a long, lasting and positive impact on your career.
First, let's take a look at a couple of national associations.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is the largest nationwide association for speech therapists, with more than 140,000 members and affiliates. Their ranks include hearing scientists, language scientists, speech scientists, speech-language pathologists, and audiologists.
Some of the advantages of belonging to the ASHA include having a powerful group that is advocating on the behalf of people with communicative disorders, advancing the science of communications, and helping to promote effective communication between people.
You also have the advantage of earning credentials. ASHA currently is administering four unique credentialing programs that span the full breadth of professional development:
- Academic program accreditation
- Clinical certification
- Continuing education provider
- Clinical specialty recognition
Finally, ASHA provides a substantial "one stop shop" for work setting resources, publications, practice management, practice policies, certification information, as well as e-mail newsletters and the ability to connect and communicate with your colleagues.
If you are only going to join one association, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association is the one to be a part of.
You can visit ASHA at www.asha.org.
Don't take this to mean that you only have one option, however.
The National Student Speech Language Hearing Association is where you want to go if you are still working on your speech therapy education, whether you are an undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral student. The NSSLHA exists to serve students interested in the study of communication sciences and disorders.
Learn more at www.nsslha.org.
Also, if you plan to work in Canada, don't forgot the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists. They are Canada's only all-inclusive organization that represents the needs of speech-language pathologists, audiologists and support personnel.
Get more information at www.caslpa.ca.
Finally, take a look at your individual state associations. Here you can find resources for individual state laws and licensing requirements, learn about your state conventions, get job listings, connect with other therapists in your area, and so much more.
A good list of links for every state can be found here:
Joining a national and statewide speech therapy association provides a tremendous number of advantages to you. Take the time to learn more about them and join today!
Once you've explored these professional associations, bring your CV to Centra Healthcare Solutions. We have many positions for speech therapists at facilities throughout the country. If you've ever wanted to bring your skills to patients in towns and cities all over the U.S., contact us today!
Speech and language therapists can expect a highly favorable job outlook in 2011 through at least 2018.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition reports that a "faster than average employment growth" is expected for speech therapists. "Faster than average," according to the BLS, is an increase of 14-19 percent.
In addition, according to the BLS, employment for "speech pathologists is expected to grow by 19 percent from 2008 to 2018, faster than the average for all occupations. As the members of the baby-boom generation continue to age, the possibility of neurological disorders and associated speech, language, and swallowing impairments increases. Medical advances also are improving the survival rate of premature infants and trauma and stroke victims, who then need assessment and sometimes treatment."
The BLS continues: "Employment in educational services will increase with the growth in elementary and secondary school enrollments, including enrollment of special education students. The 2004 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is a Federal law that guarantees special education and related services to all eligible children with disabilities. Greater awareness of the importance of early identification and diagnosis of speech and language disorders in young children will also increase employment."
Job prospects also look good because many speech therapists will retire in the coming years, according to the BLS. Those speech therapists who speak Spanish also should see their job prospects positive. In addition, those therapists willing to relocate to areas of the country that don't have as many therapists also should have no trouble finding employment.
As for salaries, the BLS reported that "[m]edian annual wages of speech-language pathologists were $62,930 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $50,330 and $79,620. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $41,240, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $99,220.
Speech therapists who work in nursing care facilities tended to receive the highest salaries; the BLS reported that the average annual median salary for speech therapists serving in nursing care facilities was 79,120 in 2008.
If you're a speech therapist who, as the BLS says, is "willing to relocate," contact Centra Healthcare Solutions. We can provide you and your much-sought-after speech therapy skills to rehab facilities all over the country. You'll be well-compensated and will be able to create a schedule that suits your individual needs. Contact us today!
Like many rehabilitation therapists, speech therapists help people regain the use of something very important to day-to-day life. In the case of a speech therapist, that something is the ability to speak.
A speech therapist will help people who are unable to speak or who cannot do so clearly. Speech therapists also help people who stutter, have inappropriate pitch, a harsh voice or speech quality or who have rhythm and fluency difficulties.
Stuttering is a well-known and common speech disorder, one that often is caused by anxiety. A speech therapist will help someone who stutters with a regimen of speech exercises. The therapist also may work closely with a psychologist or psychiatrist to help alleviate the stress or anxiety that causes the stuttering.
Other typical patients of a speech therapist are those individuals who have had a stroke, have loss of hearing, a mental disability, cerebral palsy, or even a brain injury.
Many speech therapists start their day with paperwork. A therapist will begin his or her day at the rehabilitation center or hospital and review the day's caseload and also will review and edit notes made from sessions with other patients the previous day.
Speech therapists keep detailed records on the original evaluation and subsequent progress of their patients and will work with a team of physicians, social workers and counselors to come up with a treatment plan for each patient.
A speech therapist also may act as a type of counselor as he or she helps the patient and his or family members cope with the stresses of different speech disorders. A therapist may train family members on treatment techniques to use at home with the patient.
A speech therapist often can become professionally close to a patient, celebrating successes and overcoming setbacks. Speech therapy can be a painstaking process so speech therapists need patience, a great attention to detail and focus.
If you're a speech therapist with an interest in traveling all over the country, contact Centra Healthcare Solutions. We have many short- and long-term assignments at rehab facilities all over the country. Send us your CV today!