INTERVIEW: Importance of Continued Education for School-Based SLPs

 

Melanie Wiseman, MS, CCC-SLP, is the Clinical Director of Therapies of the Rockies in Colorado. She attended a school-based SLP intensive training from Apraxia Kids in 2017, and today she shares her thoughts with us about her experience and the challenges facing school-based SLPs.

 

What was your experience at the school-based SLP intensive training?

The intensive training for school-based therapists I attended – even though I am not a school-based SLP – was so motivating, thought-provoking and insightful that I would absolutely do it all over again. I couldn’t have dreamed of the knowledge I would come away with after just 3 (long!) days.

Not only were the speakers so inspiring through all their work and knowledge, but I was able to make connections with other SLPs from near and far, sharing our experiences and connecting even after the conference ended to keep in touch and support each other. I still reference my “CAS bible”, as I lovingly call it, that I received at that training because of how informative and helpful it has been.

I would highly recommend these courses/trainings to any school-based SLP to help enhance his/her knowledge in the area of childhood apraxia of speech (CAS)!

 

Can you describe the barriers that prevent a school-based SLP from providing successful treatment to a child with CAS?

Most SLPs these days are not getting a great education specifically on childhood apraxia of speech when in graduate school (myself included!) – so when we set out into the world and take on our own caseloads, we are expected to treat children with a wide variety of disorders, yet not necessarily with all the knowledge and tools to do so. With CAS, so much has been discovered over the past few years and there is so much research available, but not everyone knows how to access it or that it is even there.

Even if a school-based SLP does have the skill set and understanding for treating CAS, the challenges then become related to: service minutes – how much time can they spend with the child who requires frequent and intensive sessions; carryover – how do they successfully communicate with the family and caregivers to facilitate carryover and continued practice? Obviously, there are many other factors that play into the treatment of CAS, and additional barriers that SLPs face in providing successful treatment, which is why it is so crucial for school-based SLPs to continue their education in this area and stay versed on what is best practice for these kids with CAS!

 

What are the major challenges facing school-based SLPs?

School-based SLPs are likely facing challenges such as time, resources, and family involvement when it comes to effective and best-practice treatment for children, particularly those with CAS.

We all know school-based SLPs constantly deal with the balancing act of providing enough therapy time with other obligations such as meetings and paperwork. This by itself can prove troublesome for any SLP, let alone a therapist who feels a child needs more therapy time, needs individual therapy time, or in the case of CAS: a child who needs more frequent therapy sessions. Unfortunately, one of the biggest challenges is that limited time availability does not always allow the SLP to make these necessary changes.

Another factor that plays into the challenges a school-based SLP faces is the resources available. How accessible are continuing education classes for the therapists, either independently or provided by the school; how often are they able to obtain the treatment programs or materials necessary for therapy?

Family involvement is also a very crucial factor in a child’s success with therapy, and this can be one of the most challenging aspects of therapy for children in a school. A SLP not being able to consistently communicate with the family and provide guidance or carryover can make the therapy process less progressive than it otherwise might be.

 

How do the challenges that school-based SLPs face impact the children they treat? 

As a clinic-based SLP, one of the things I have seen frequently with young kids who come in with an IFSP or beginning of an IEP is that they have been incorrectly diagnosed by SLPs who don’t have the understanding or diagnostic experience to identify CAS. What this translates to, in my opinion, is a child who goes into his preschool with language-based goals and is essentially getting the “wrong” type of therapy for what he is actually struggling with. The diagnosis on an IEP in this situation can be incredibly difficult to change, meaning that the child’s school SLP may not even know he/she has Apraxia, unless of course the parent or private SLP communicates that information.

 

What should school-based SLPs do to increase their understanding of CAS?

School-based SLPs certainly fight an uphill battle when it comes to continuing education and resources, but there are so many great platforms out there that can really be helpful. I think the Apraxia Kids website is so unique and helpful to professionals, and so is the ASHA website for learning and acquiring new research about what is best practice for these kids. I think another possibility is having SLPs connect with one another through the many encounters we have through conventions, conferences, trainings, etc. and using those networks to build support and learn from one another.

 

 

If you are a school-based SLP who is seeking further education on childhood apraxia of speech, Apraxia Kids is offering several opportunities to do so!

Visit our Article Library to learn more about childhood apraxia of speech.

Our newly upgraded On-Demand Webinars offer dozens of webinars available for ASHA CEUs for one low annual membership fee. Online education enables busy professionals to access this information at their convenience.

At the Apraxia Kids National Conference this year, we are offering unique school-based SLP sessions. These sessions will address managing caseloads for providing optimal services to children with CAS and instruct on therapy strategies applicable to students with apraxia and/or other speech sound disorders.

Apraxia Kids recognizes that many families seek therapy for their child through the school, and we are committed to continuing to offer opportunities for school-based SLPs to increase their understanding of childhood apraxia of speech.

 

Melanie Wiseman, MS, CCC-SLP, is the Clinical Director of Therapies of the Rockies in Colorado. She attended a school-based SLP intensive training from Apraxia Kids in 2017, and today she shares her thoughts with us about her experience and the challenges facing school-based SLPs.

 

What was your experience at the school-based SLP intensive training?

The intensive training for school-based therapists I attended – even though I am not a school-based SLP – was so motivating, thought-provoking and insightful that I would absolutely do it all over again. I couldn’t have dreamed of the knowledge I would come away with after just 3 (long!) days.

Not only were the speakers so inspiring through all their work and knowledge, but I was able to make connections with other SLPs from near and far, sharing our experiences and connecting even after the conference ended to keep in touch and support each other. I still reference my “CAS bible”, as I lovingly call it, that I received at that training because of how informative and helpful it has been.

I would highly recommend these courses/trainings to any school-based SLP to help enhance his/her knowledge in the area of childhood apraxia of speech (CAS)!

 

Can you describe the barriers that prevent a school-based SLP from providing successful treatment to a child with CAS?

Most SLPs these days are not getting a great education specifically on childhood apraxia of speech when in graduate school (myself included!) – so when we set out into the world and take on our own caseloads, we are expected to treat children with a wide variety of disorders, yet not necessarily with all the knowledge and tools to do so. With CAS, so much has been discovered over the past few years and there is so much research available, but not everyone knows how to access it or that it is even there.

Even if a school-based SLP does have the skill set and understanding for treating CAS, the challenges then become related to: service minutes – how much time can they spend with the child who requires frequent and intensive sessions; carryover – how do they successfully communicate with the family and caregivers to facilitate carryover and continued practice? Obviously, there are many other factors that play into the treatment of CAS, and additional barriers that SLPs face in providing successful treatment, which is why it is so crucial for school-based SLPs to continue their education in this area and stay versed on what is best practice for these kids with CAS!

 

What are the major challenges facing school-based SLPs?

School-based SLPs are likely facing challenges such as time, resources, and family involvement when it comes to effective and best-practice treatment for children, particularly those with CAS.

We all know school-based SLPs constantly deal with the balancing act of providing enough therapy time with other obligations such as meetings and paperwork. This by itself can prove troublesome for any SLP, let alone a therapist who feels a child needs more therapy time, needs individual therapy time, or in the case of CAS: a child who needs more frequent therapy sessions. Unfortunately, one of the biggest challenges is that limited time availability does not always allow the SLP to make these necessary changes.

Another factor that plays into the challenges a school-based SLP faces is the resources available. How accessible are continuing education classes for the therapists, either independently or provided by the school; how often are they able to obtain the treatment programs or materials necessary for therapy?

Family involvement is also a very crucial factor in a child’s success with therapy, and this can be one of the most challenging aspects of therapy for children in a school. A SLP not being able to consistently communicate with the family and provide guidance or carryover can make the therapy process less progressive than it otherwise might be.

 

How do the challenges that school-based SLPs face impact the children they treat? 

As a clinic-based SLP, one of the things I have seen frequently with young kids who come in with an IFSP or beginning of an IEP is that they have been incorrectly diagnosed by SLPs who don’t have the understanding or diagnostic experience to identify CAS. What this translates to, in my opinion, is a child who goes into his preschool with language-based goals and is essentially getting the “wrong” type of therapy for what he is actually struggling with. The diagnosis on an IEP in this situation can be incredibly difficult to change, meaning that the child’s school SLP may not even know he/she has Apraxia, unless of course the parent or private SLP communicates that information.

 

What should school-based SLPs do to increase their understanding of CAS?

School-based SLPs certainly fight an uphill battle when it comes to continuing education and resources, but there are so many great platforms out there that can really be helpful. I think the Apraxia Kids website is so unique and helpful to professionals, and so is the ASHA website for learning and acquiring new research about what is best practice for these kids. I think another possibility is having SLPs connect with one another through the many encounters we have through conventions, conferences, trainings, etc. and using those networks to build support and learn from one another.

 

 

If you are a school-based SLP who is seeking further education on childhood apraxia of speech, Apraxia Kids is offering several opportunities to do so!

Visit our Article Library to learn more about childhood apraxia of speech.

Our newly upgraded On-Demand Webinars offer dozens of webinars available for ASHA CEUs for one low annual membership fee. Online education enables busy professionals to access this information at their convenience.

At the Apraxia Kids National Conference this year, we are offering unique school-based SLP sessions. These sessions will address managing caseloads for providing optimal services to children with CAS and instruct on therapy strategies applicable to students with apraxia and/or other speech sound disorders.

Apraxia Kids recognizes that many families seek therapy for their child through the school, and we are committed to continuing to offer opportunities for school-based SLPs to increase their understanding of childhood apraxia of speech.



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