Author Archives: slptanya

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, 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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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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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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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 to help.

We hope to see you there!


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(Re)Welcome Chat

This chat occurred on July 9, 2012 and is now finished. Click here to see a summary (Chirpstory) of the tweets and read the entire chat.


The North Americans are out for summer holidays and the Aussies are taking over! The following blog post was written by Bronwyn for a chat held only in Australia on July 9th:

Is this your first, second, third, or twentieth #SLPchat? Help us make it a warm welcome for all the new Australian #SLPeeps in Twitter – there are a lot of new students and speech pathologists all around Australia in Twitter now, especially since the #SPAconf2012.

9th July 2012 at 8pm AEST for one hour or for however long you can join us! Each topic question listed below will run for 10-15 minutes and is chaired by @speechielo, Lauren, who is an incognito speech language pathologist and is simply wonderful. Lauren is helped by Bronwyn @bronwynah and Harmony @SP_Harmony. A twitter chat works when a few people get online at the same time and know what they’re talking about – so here are the topics!

Topic 1: You and your areas of interest in speech pathology.
How you define yourself and your role or interests on Twitter helps others to know if they want to follow your tweets, and helps bring like minded people together. Please note – if you are incognito in Twitter (trying to stay anonymous) please feel free to stay that way, just tell us things that you think would not identify you, but would help us to know a bit more about your main areas of interest.

Topic 2: What’s Twitter like for you – are you a newbie or been here a while? What topics would you like to see discussed on #SLPchat in the future? (What would see you coming up – apart from the awesome company of course!)

Topic 3: Twitter is good in short bursts, every day. If people join up and then only log in a few times, it doesn’t really work. It works best if you interact with other people
– like Re-Tweeting, sending a reply, modifying a tweet, and so on. It’s boring if you log on to twitter, and nobody has replied to your amazing insights. And yes, even tweets about coffee, cats, and starting back to work on a Monday can be delightfully insightful, and are shared experiences. You never know what somebody will get out of your tweet. A Twitter chat is a great way to practice – have you tried it tonight? Send us a few replies when you see this topic go past. Keep your friends interested in Twitter by connecting frequently with short messages – it takes a second.

Topic 4: Twitter treasure hunt – right now, try to find something related to speech language pathology in Pinterest ( It can be anything, but we are really trying to see if Pinterest might be another good networking tool for us #SLPeeps. In Twitter, you can send a link to Pinterest. So if you find something, just copy paste the URL into a tweet, and send it along. It’s a twitter treasure hunt, just for fun. When you see a link, have a look and let us know what you think. All of the links will go into the Chirpstory as well, at the end and be posted so you can read them after the chat.

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