If only we could keep it to 2 sticks and a rock: Therapy materials and the SLP

SLPs have a lot of stuff. Always. We have cabinets or (preferably for us, possibly not for our non-SLP colleagues/families) even rooms full of therapy materials.  If we travel anywhere outside of one building in order to provide service, we can regularly be seen with rolling suitcases in tow, full of materials. Paediatric SLPs are especially prone to this problem, and are forever ruined whenever they enter the toy store, App Store, garage/yard sale, or a friend’s child’s playroom. SLPs who help all age groups are typically looking out for adaptable games, apps, books, or conversation pieces to use in therapy. And if we can’t find what we want in these outlets, there is an entire industry surrounding specific therapy materials to suit our various needs, goals, and targets.

Natasha Anders poses with her therapy materials

Natasha Anderson shows off PART of her considerable collection of therapy materials. She suggests it’s “kind of ridiculous”; we suggest it’s close to the norm for most SLPs (especially who work with kids). This image also demonstrates why Occupational Health & Safety and SLPs tend to be mortal enemies.

There’s an old saying that a good SLP can do therapy for just about anything with 2 sticks and a rock, or the current contents of their purse/backpack. Sure, this is true, we’re great at adapting stuff, but we love options and variability too much to stick to that. At speechtherapyforum.com, for example, Natasha Anderson was one of the first SLPs to regularly discuss her various adapted and specifically designed therapy materials and how she uses them online. Now there are many such blogs and websites for materials ranging from SLP made at TPT to company-made materials specifically for SLP to apps and more.

This month #slpchat will focus on a sort of show and share of therapy materials: What you like, don’t like, adapt to suit, and how you find them. Admittedly, this is a very big topic to cover and we only have about an hour, so come ready to talk about most and least favourites and what you look for in adaptability, just to make the conversation easier. We know, picking a favourite is hard; you can always mention a few, but try to keep it down to a dull roar of 5 or so, if you can!
Join #slpchat March 15, 2015 at 2 pm EDT. Click here to find out when this is for you and mark it in your calendar so you don’t miss it. Beware – Daylight Savings Time starts March 8th so if you don’t observe this, adjust accordingly!

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Are you Functioning Executively?

If you are an SLP and you haven’t yet heard the term “Executive Function” it’s definitely time to catch up.

Over the past couple of years this new ‘buzz term” has emerged within the SLP field, and has been working its way into clinics, schools, reports, IEPs, webinars, and social media conversations worldwide. The response to this new area has been varied, ranging from “I use it daily in my practice,” to “What the heck is it?”

Amanda Morin from understood.org defines Executive Function as the “CEO of the Brain,” It is in charge of ensuring that things get from the planning stages of the job to the final deadline. It describes how we manage those cognitive processes such as

  • working memory
  • impulse control
  • self-monitoring
  • planning and prioritizing
  • and organization

One of our own #slpeeps Tara Roehl has written an excellent blog post about Executive function Skills which goes into these skills in more detail, and can be found here.

For our upcoming #slpchat we want to hear more from you about your interests and/or experiences working with clients with Executive Function deficits. We will be discussing resources and skills for assessment and intervention, and clinical populations who may benefit from this treatment. We’ll also be sharing useful information and resources to get you started, and on your way to becoming an Executive Function Expert.

Join us this Sunday February 15th, 2015 at 2pm EST, for an exciting and informative discussion. Also over the week we will be sharing some great resources which we have found on Executive Function, for you to have in your therapy toolbox, so follow @slpchat on twitter to stay informed.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

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SLPChat is Back!!

This chat occurred January 25th, 2015 at 2 pm EST. There wasn’t an Australian counterpart chat this month. Here is a complete archive of the chat.


Would you believe it if we told you that it has been over 5 years that SLPs from different corners of the globe have been using Twitter to network and share their expertise? Furthermore would you believe that the steady daily buzz of thousands of #slpeeps sharing, questioning, interacting, researching on Twitter was at that time a slow trickle, from a handful (literally) of peeps (The term #slpeeps wasn’t coined until later in 2010) searching for ideas, and more importantly similar persons within the field. It must be hard to imagine with the current #slpeeps presence on Twitter, but it truly highlights how far we have come as we continue to make our mark on social media, and on the world.

Another familiar hashtag is about to turn 5 this year as well…..you guessed it #slpchat!! Although we have been dormant for a while (due to work and life commitments) the founders have decided that this is the best year to resume our lively discussions for our #slpchat veterans and newbies. We sure have missed you all and still believe that #slpchat is an essential part of our twitter community.

We therefore wish to invite you all to our “welcome back” chat on Sunday January 25th 2015 at 2 p.m Eastern Time.

This chat is all about YOU; we want to know:

  • How twitter has changed for you over the years
  • How it has supported (or not supported) your practice over the years
  • Are you still a die-hard twitter user? Have other social networks (linkedin, facebook etc.) started to fill your professional needs?
  • Is twitter still your go-to place for information/meeting other professionals?
  • Are you keeping up with current trends or are you getting lost in information [overload]?
  • Are there any tools/apps that have made navigating twitter easier for you as more professionals tweet?

We also want to hear some of your ideas for hott topics for this year.

We’re so glad to be back, and we’re looking forward to having you back with us as well!


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The rights and responsibilities of live tweeting


This chat occurred May 19th/20th, 2013. The North American archived chat can be found here and the Australian archived chat can be found here.


For many professionals, Twitter has long ago blown past posting what you ate for lunch and has become a major place for sharing ideas, information, and learning with online colleagues. This microblogging platform is a powerhouse of knowledge-sharing on a global scale. People share links to articles and resources and regularly discuss how they use tools and theoretical approaches in their practice as well as new research and trends in the field.

A natural evolution of this knowledge sharing became tweeting from conferences by attendees. This has happened in all professional domains – especially in industry, tech, and marketing circles, where live tweeting and backchannel discussions are encouraged and nearly everyone participates in this way.

In the realm of academia, however, there is sometimes a different perspective on live-tweeting conferences. Academics are emerging on Twitter and learning to use it to great succes, but they worry most about their ideas being stolen and their points being lessened due to the lack of detail available in 140 characters. A now famous debate emerged amongst several academics about the issues that have arisen surrounding live-tweeting at conferences. This led to an article by the Guardian with suggestions for live-tweeting conferences, and responses to this article.

Some months ago, the #slpeeps had their own sort of Twittergate – a discussion prompted by some live tweets that led to a full fledged debate about the ethics of live tweeting.  While it is easy enough to point people to the Guardian’s article on how to live tweet, or other people’s rules for how to live tweet well, and how to give presentations while people are tweeting, the question for SLPs arose again over whether or not live tweeting should occur at all and in what capacity.

We would like to re-open this discussion formally in #slpchat. We will be discussing live tweeting, the issues surrounding it, the rights of those who choose to do it and those whom they are tweeting about, but also the responsibilities of those same professionals.  We want an open and respectful discussion so that everyone can be aware of and consider multiple perspectives on the pros, cons, benefits, and concerns surrounding the issue.

SLPchat will be Sunday, May 19th at 2 pm EST (Toronto/New York) and again on Monday, May 20th at 8 pm AEST (Sydney). We hope you’ll come and join the discussion!


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Telepractice in Speech & Language Pathology

This chat has already occurred. You can read the North American edition here and the Australian edition here. We strongly suggest you look over both since different interesting links and information came up in both.


Technology is changing the wImageay we think, learn, communicate…live.

Technology has opened up access to a range of learning opportunities which were never even imaginable. If you have participated in any of our past #slpchat discussions you would have seen a true demonstration of new ways of learning in action via internet technology.

Technology is also changing the way we do therapy, as well as how access is provided to therapy services.  The emergence of telepractice, for example, has increased access to those who might otherwise be unable to receive therapy, and has created other benefits, including: reduced costs, more naturalistic environments for service delivery (in home telepractice), and increased motivation and client responsiveness  (ASHA,2005a).

ASHA (2005b) defines telepractice as “the application of telecommunications technology to delivery of professional services at a distance by linking clinician to client, or clinician to clinician, for assessment, intervention, and/or consultation.”ASHA’s position is that “telepractice is an appropriate model of service delivery for the professions of audiology and speech and language therapy.” However it also indicates that the services provided over  a telepractice medium must be comparable in quality to face to face services.  Therefore, the clinician intending to conduct telepractice services should have “detailed knowledge and skills in telepractice models, technology associated with service delivery, matching clients to technology, selecting assessments and interventions that are appropriate to the technology, cultural/linguistic variables, use of support personnel, evaluation of service effectiveness, and documentation of services.”  (ASHA, 2005b).

Many clinicians have embraced this addition to service delivery and are successfully using telepractice across a range of settings, with various clinical populations. Others prefer to stick to traditional face-to-face practice, due to personal preference, lack of  knowledge or skill in this area, previous experience and many other reasons.  Therefore, for this month’s #slpchat we want to hear your views on telepractice. Join us on Sunday March 24th at 2 p.m .Eastern Time, then again on Monday March 25th at 8 p.m. Australian Eastern Time, and give us the inside scoop on:

  • Who is using it and in what areas
  • Who is not using it, and why
  • What types of skills and equipment help the therapy process?
  • What are the benefits and limitations of using telepractice?
  • Working with telepractice companies
  • Ethical considerations in telepractice
  • Comparisons between telepractice and face-to-face service

And your overall experiences.

We look forward to hearing and learning from you!

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2005a). Speech-language pathologists providing clinical services via telepractice: technical report [Technical Report]. Available from www.asha.org/policy.

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2005b). Knowledge and skills needed by speech-language pathologists providing clinical services via telepractice [Knowledge and Skills]. Available from http://www.asha.org/policy.

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Phonologicaltherapy meets Twitter

This chat occurred Feb 3/4 2013 and is now archived here.


ff2Caroline Bowen PhD CPSP, whose Speech-Language Therapy dot com website is well known to #SLPeeps worldwide, also runs the eight thousand strong discussion group called phonologicaltherapy. The emphasis in both of these online resources is EBP in children’s speech sound disorders: articulation disorders, phonological disorders, and childhood apraxia of speech. A relative newcomer to Twitter, Caroline signed on as @speech_woman (met Speechwoman yet?) in February 2012 when she was writing about Life Online for her Webwords column in @SpeechPathAust‘s Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology. One year on, she bravely steps up to the plate to take part in our first #SLPchat for 2013, “phonologicaltherapy meets Twitter”.

cb1We think this is perfect symmetry, since our first ever #slpchat, in December 2010, was on Cycles for phonology and we’ve just passed our two year anniversary (how time flies!). We’re thrilled that Caroline has agreed to join us. We’ll also be merging the North American and Australian chats into one chat only on Sunday, February 3rd, at 6 pm EST (New York/Toronto) which is also Monday, February 4th, at 10 am AEST (Sydney). We hope you’ll join us for the chat. Here is what you can expect:

Question 1: What are your top 5 resources for child speech assessment and intervention?

What inspires your intervention sessions? Share the ‘must have’ and ‘must read’ SSD materials, equipment, sources and resources that you use or refer to all the time. These might include particular journal articles, books, manuals, games and activities, reinforcers and rewards, professional listservs, discussion groups and other social media, websites and more.

Question 2: Articulation Disorders: How do you assess articulation disorders, and which treatment approach, or approaches do you use? 
What is your assessment tool of choice? Do you implement traditional articulation therapy, a variation of it, or some other approach?

Question 3: Phonological Disorder: How do you assess phonological disorder, and which treatment approach, or approaches do you use?
What is your assessment tool of choice? In intervention, do you use any, some or all of the following, Core Vocabulary TherapyCycles Therapy (Patterns Intervention)Imagery TherapyMetaphonMinimal Pair TherapiesParents and Children Together (PACT), or Phoneme Awareness Therapy or some other approach? Are you an eclectic practitioner who uses a mix-n-match approach – do tell!

Question 4: Target Selection: In the process of Target Selection for Phonological Intervention which of the available approaches do you employ?
How do you decide what to work on first…second…third…? Are you a fan of traditional or newer selection criteria, do you combine them, and have you implemented a complexity approach to choosing therapy targets? How was it for you?

Explore the links above as preparation for this chat. Take the time to discover leads to interesting and useful journal articles.

Bowen C. (2012). Webwords 44: Life online. Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology14(3), 149-152.


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ASHA 12 & 1st Annual #SLPeeps Booth Recap

This chat has already occurred. To read an archive of the entire chat, please go here.



Hard to believe but #ASHA12 has come and gone and we #SLPeeps are left with quickly diminishing memories of a beloved hashtag gone by.

We would first like to acknowledge all of the dedication, attention to detail, monetary investment and undying support that Heidi Kay and her Pediastaff extended to the #SLPeeps awareness booth. Although booth #1823 was extremely far off the beaten path (to put it mildly), Pediastaff and our volunteers were able to attract a healthy amount of visitors who were interested in spending some time learning about social media.

Many newbies were signed up with Twitter handles and we walked them thru their “inaugural tweet” to the #SLPeeps community.  Others were introduced to a whole new  visual world of Pinterest and plethora of information shared by pinning and blogging SLPs.

In addition to 1:1 trainings at the booth, step-by-step guides were made available in a 26 page .pdf version. And a traditional Learning Lab was presented by Megan Panatier (@MeganPanatier), Tara Roehl (@SpeechKeenSLP), and Kim Lewis (@ActivityTaylor), which was well attended. From #SLPeeps buttons to Flash Mobs, there was no denying the overwhelming presence of the #SLPeeps!

So now that we are left singing “Tweet Me Maybe” for hours on end after watching the FlashMob video and suffering through ASHA12 “inside joke” tweets –  it is time to begin planning for ASHA13. With your help, #SLPeeps, there will be a booth next year! We are so very grateful to Heidi Kay for establishing a very high standard to begin from. However, it is now time for our community to organize and represent.

We are hoping to have a number of volunteers working on details for the booth well in advance so the workload is minimal per individual.  As the #SLPeeps have always demonstrated, there is strength in numbers. If we can create an incredibly fun and successful FlashMob from all over the U.S. and as far as Barbados … we can definitely organize a fantastic #SLPeeps booth with a year to plan!

Hope you can join us as we are looking forward to hearing your invaluable feedback and opinions. Please join us @SLPchat on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 2 pm for a review of what worked well and any suggestions or ideas you may have for next year, even if you don’t plan to attend ASHA13.

This post contributed by Mai Ling Chan

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Professional Development ‘IRL’ – Going to a Conference

This chat has already occurred. You can see an archive of the entire North American chat here, and the entire Australian chat here.



We, on Twitter, have gotten accustomed to every day feeling like a conference, but we all still attend real life conferences whenever we can. We likely approach conferences/professional development workshops somewhat differently, however. With ASHA 2012 occurring in a week, we will be discussing conference attendance and selection, as well as networking at and preparing for a conference.

Discussion will surround the following themes:

  • Selecting which conference/workshop to attend and which one(s) to skip
  • Selecting which sessions you will attend at large conferences (like ASHA or SPA)
  • Preparing for a conference – What do you bring and how do you prepare yourself to get the most out of a conference?
  • Comparing/contrasting ASHA/SPA to other conferences/workshops people usually attend
  • Networking at a conference – reasons, approaches, and follow up

The chat will occur at 2 pm Eastern Time (New York/Toronto) on Sunday, November 11, 2012 and again on Monday, November 12 at 8 pm Australian Eastern Time (Sydney). We hope to learn a lot with you!

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The Link Up- A Special Type of Chat

These chats have already occurred and can be read in their entirety as archived chats. The North American based chat can be read here. The Australia based chat can be read here.



Occupational therapists help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.


blindmen-and-elephantIf you have ever worked with an Occupational Therapist you would be well aware of the valuable resources which they contribute to our work in adult and paediatric assessment and intervention.  They often provide that missing piece of the puzzle that fits to make sessions run more smoothly, assist in the child/ adult reaching his maximum potential, and help to ensure best practice all around. The OT has great knowledge and skills to offer in activities of daily living, feeding, AAC use, sensory integration, motor skills development, and much more. Most of us in our daily practice aim to achieve that full multidisciplinary approach for integrative goal setting, to ensure the most holistic and complete care for each individual.

So why not do this in our social networking as well? 

The emergence of a number of OTs on twitter, who have been sharing a wealth of information on various areas relevant to Speech & Language therapy, has inspired the @Slpchat team to pave for the way for a more multidisciplinary social network. As a result the next #slpchat will be a ‘link up’ with #slpeeps and #OTpeeps across twitter, where professionals from each field can ‘tweet up’, get to know more about each profession, and ask any questions they may have related to each field.

We will be having two opportunities to meet and discuss: the first will occur at 2 pm EDT (New York/Toronto) on Sunday, October 14th, and the next one at 8 pm AEST (Sydney) on Monday, October 15th. If you need to know what time that is where you are, you can use everytimezone.com to help.

Seeing that many of the #OTpeeps are not yet aware of #slpchat, we would like the #slpeeps to spread the word and invite at least one OT to our Link up.

#OTpeeps and other newcomers to the chat can find more information about participating in the chat here on our ‘tips’ page.

We’re very excited about this new collaboration and look forward to your participation!


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AAC – Everyone knows something, and some people know a lot: Let’s Get Together for Solutions


This chat is completed. You can read the archive of tweets for both chats by going here for the chat at 7 pm on Sept 9 (EDT) and clicking here for the chat at 8 pm on Sept 10 (AEST).


This chat on AAC in practice will be filled with ideas, tips and strategies for applying AAC to communicate in many settings. We all know that it takes a lot more than the tools, to get AAC in use in day-to-day situations. So what do people find helps to actually translate the strategies, techniques, and tools that have been recommended, into daily life? Let’s focus on children who are trying to move their language skills into interactions with other children. Let’s think about actual strategies during everyday and even uncommon activities and ways of using AAC in those activities, that will help children to get enjoy communicating with others.

Perhaps more than any other field in speech pathology, AAC demands not only a person-centred and family-centred, but a multi or cross-disciplinary, collaborative approach, and one that includes people with the communication disability and their families. To add to this, AAC is ‘multi-modal’ (low tech, high tech, and no-tech) with a myriad of strategies, approaches, tools, and techniques that might be employed (a) in sequence, (b) concurrently, or (c) in isolation. Sometimes, it is the tools and techniques in combination that is helpful, and other times, just one action will make a big difference. Focusing on the tools first, and the person second, leads to a lot of false starts in finding the correct combinations of strategies, techniques, approaches and tools – since all of these things influence the other.

It’s not always easy to balance doing something ‘quick’ and ‘easy’ with doing something that takes more resources – and relies on a full assessment, detailed information from a range of professionals, and waiting for funding and funding applications to come through that might provide something more tailored and complex. We need to do both – we can do quick helpful things, and we can advocate that children and adults who need it have access to a full assessment for communication supports. We would not accept any less than this if it related to mobility options, such as wheelchairs, for which we expect having a proper assessment , fitting, and alignment with the person’s body and mobility needs as to make their mobility comfortable, safe, and effective.

So, this chat will move across the continuum of ‘quick and easy’ ideas to ‘slow and steady’ with a little in-between topic on ‘full assessments’. It does not matter how much training you have had, or
how much ‘expertise’ you think you have. This is not about finding flaws in various AAC systems – it is about tips and strategies for overcoming limitations and removing barriers to successful use.

Question 1: What is ‘Quick and Easy’ to do in AAC practice? tell us your ideas for using AAC that are relatively simple, that might not rely on a full assessment before you get started : these might be general tips, do no harm measures, principles of good multimodal communication, use of picture supports for understanding, promoting emergent literacy – anything at all!

Question 2: Let’s talk about ‘Full AAC Assessment’. What do you usually find are included in a full assessment? What should be? What is sometimes left out? Are there any ways to improve this process?

Question 3: What more complicated AAC systems are you using in practice? This could be high or low tech options. Share your tips and strategies for ensuring that children with higher needs are not ‘left behind’ just because the environment does not yet support a ‘top of the range’ AAC system. What helps you to overcome the limitations of all of the devices that you are using in your practice?

Question 4: What types of devices are you using in your practice? Here we will discuss high tech vs low tech, specific devices, the use of communication books with the PCS symbols and so on. What are the limitations of these devices?

The two chats will occur at 7 pm EDT (New York/Toronto) on Sunday, September 9th, and 8 pm AEST (Sydney) on Monday, September 10th. If you need to know what time that is where you are, you can use everytimezone.com to help.

We hope to see you there!


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