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 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 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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#SLP2B Questions and Answers from the #SLpeeps Community

These chats are now complete. You can go here to see the first chat from North America and you can go here to see the second chat from Australia.


As SLP/SLTs we all started out as students or, going back a wee bit further, students working towards being SLP/T students. Do you remember what it was like? Do you remember the sorts of questions and concerns you had?

Our next #slpchat will focus on answering both common and specific questions that people working towards becoming SLP/Ts have. These will be generated mostly by the #SLP2B community and we hope that students will actively participate in the discussion, as well as more seasoned S&L veterans. We will pose the questions that students have throughout the chat and everyone can discuss them together. Multiple points of view are important, as well as multiple country perspectives since it can differ across the world.

STUDENTS: Whether you are hoping to apply to be a speech therapist/pathologist or about to graduate the program, please pose your questions to @slpchat (via DM is preferable, just ask us to follow you if we aren’t already) or by emailing

The chat will occur on June 3rd at 2 pm New York, USA time and then again at 8:30 pm Sydney, Australia time on Monday June 4th. Anyone is welcome to attend whichever chat is most convenient for them. As always, you can easily find out what time those chats will be in your region by going to and sliding the bar to either of the times listed above then checking your related local time.

For anyone who cannot make the chat, we will post the chirpstory chat archives within a day of the chat as we always do.

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The ‘A’ Word

This chat occurred on APril 29, 2012. You can read the Australian chat here and the N American chat here. Both were very different chats and worth a look!


April is Autism Awareness Month, so what better way for the
#slpeeps to celebrate and highlight the growing need for concern
and awareness about ASD, than to make this the topic of our April

Autism has become the new buzz word in the media and across
various social networks, with celebrities joining in the quest for a
cure, and the app market opening new doorways for children with
Autism. More recently the hot topic has been the possibility that the
new DSM-5 diagnostic criteria will ‘redefine autism,’ and exclude
many from being able to receive services.

Our next discussion will cover many of these topics, as well as
questions about assessment and intervention techniques for ASD.
We also want to cover current trends and research in this area, types
of AAC support, and generally what you as SLPs are doing in your
practice as it relates to ASD.

Once again our chat will be held across 2 different time zones,
giving you two different times to come out and participate. They
are: Sunday, April 29th at 3 pm Sydney, Australia time and again
at 2:00 pm New York, USA time. Don’t forget to check, the visual timezone that will allow you to put the cursor over each time and
then see what time that will be for you.

We hope to see you out to one or both chats!

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What do speech and language professionals do, anyways?

This chat ran March 18th, 2012. Here is an archive of the Australian-based chat and here is an archive of the North American-based chat.

Also, for your viewing pleasure, on top of the memes we have below, here is one created by @SpeechieLO after the chat:


Over the past month a lot of people have been circulating memes of “what people think I do”. SLP/Ts had a lot of fun with this one, since it feels as though no one knows what we do in the first place. Here are a two examples of these memes:

Taken from

Via @SLPTanya

Whether you are a speech pathologist, a speech language pathologist, a speech and language therapist, or a speech therapist, speech therapy assistant, speech language pathology assistant, communicative disorders assistant or otherwise – you have an important role in your community. During this chat we’re talking about our ‘roles’ and ‘identity’ from our own perspective, and from the perspective of people we meet, people we know, people in our own families, our employers, or anyone at all. The question is – who are we in terms of our role, and what do we do, and what do other people think we do?

The reason it might be important to think and talk about this is that ‘role clarity’ is an important factor in successful collaboration. It is only when people are clear about their own roles and those of others, that collaboration can be most effective.

Our last experiment with 2 different time zones worked well, so we’re trying it again! That means that you have two different times to come out and participate in the chat. They are: Sunday, March 18th at 4:30 pm Sydney, Australia time and again at 2:00 pm New York, USA time. If you are wondering what time each of those will be for you, here is a great visual timezone page that will allow you to put the cursor over each time and then see what time that will be for you.

We hope to see you out to one or both chats!


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