Category Archives: Reflective practice

Thinking about time and my intentions for 2017; get moving and get outside

Movement Matters

My partner has taken the kids out for a walk, so I have time to sit down and write this blog post. I’m reflecting on time. What do I want to use my time for? How can I use my time in a way that serves my purpose?

I haven’t written anything here on the blog for 4 months. I enjoy using writing as a tool for reflection, and ‘blog regularly’ features on my Goals for 2017 list. I meant to write earlier in the year about my intentions for my practice in 2017, but I didn’t make the time. I have two children, the youngest just 6 months old: quiet time to concentrate is rare. But I don’t want to think about time with a scarcity mindset, and I don’t want to live my life that way, rushing from one thing to another, frantically trying to do everything. That’s not connecting with my power. Continue reading

Hanen eSeminars: Choosing initial vocabulary targets and a competition for Autism Awareness month

"Cake"

I took my first Hanen eSeminar a couple of months ago, and I’ve been able to apply what I learnt, straight away. I think this is the first eSeminar or online training, that I’ve paid for. It was easy to log in and I could watch the 2 hour video whenever I wanted with 30 days of unlimited access. There was also a handout to download. Continue reading

Summary of Research Paper: Using Full Language with a Child with Autism, Emerson and Dearden

A plate of red jelly

I was delighted to hear how well a little client of mine had done with a new activity (a large container of jelly!) at nursery this week, although I was disappointed that his teacher had predicted he wouldn’t be able to access it.

I then read this journal article: The effect of using ‘full’ language when working with a child with autism: Adopting the ‘least dangerous assumption’ by Anne Emerson and Jackie Dearden, Child Language Teaching and Therapy, 29 (2), 2013. This research paper resonated with me because it discussed the implications of underestimating a child’s ability. Continue reading

Staying Motivated: progress, online CPD and books

simple_matters_boyle madetoplay_cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve found it challenging to get back into work mode after the winter break. It’s dark when I leave the house and dark when I get home.

Here are three things that have inspired me:

  • Observing the progress my clients are making. I’ve reminded myself to slow down and notice the changes in each client. One is now able to produce s clusters, another can make a choice between two options, and a third has started asking questions. Their exciting progress keeps me motivated.
  • Doing a little CPD at a time that suits me, sitting at my own desk. I watched this Hanen eSeminar: Choosing Initial Vocabulary Targets for Children Who Are Late Talkers, which deserves a blog post of it’s own. It made me think about which of my children Hanen would classify as Late Talkers and gave practical ideas about the types of words to choose for targets.
  • Reading beautiful books which aren’t about speech therapy. I received Erin Boyle’s book Simple Matters in the post this week. The gorgeous photography and inspiring ideas were just what I needed to get out of my winter funk. And I’m sure there are principles I can apply to therapy, for example I’ll definitely think twice about buying more plastic toys, or resources. I also had another look through Joel Henriques’ book Made to Play. Another book with gorgeous photographs and the craft projects range for simple to pretty complicated. I’m going to pick a couple and have a go.

What do you do to stay motivated through winter?

Reflecting on past CPD to design a new conference

 

Therapy Ideas Live

I was selected for the HCPC Continuing Professional Development audit, so I’ve been reflecting on how we apply what we learn to our therapy. As I put together my CPD “portfolio” I noticed some common features of the CPD that I’d found most useful. I’ve used these common features to make my new conference an effective learning experience.  Continue reading

Speech and Language Therapy and Professional Identity

Cover of J Stokes book

In the conclusion to their book, Jane Stokes and Marian McCormick wrote that they hope it makes you think “Hmmm…” – it certainly does.

As Jane and Marion designed the curriculum for a new postgraduate course in speech and language therapy they collected stories, and then wrote this book to add to the conversation about issues that underlie the SLT profession. The book has 10 chapters, 5 written by Jane and Marian, and 5 contributed by other people. It raises challenging questions and explicitly invites the reader to examine their professional beliefs. Continue reading

Improvising when a haircut doesn’t go to plan

"Cutting" with Toca Hair Salon

Last week I had what I thought was a winning therapy idea, when it didn’t pan out I had to improvise.

Two of my kiddies are working on verbs and we’d been practising “cutting.” I’m targeting /sn/ clusters (“snip!”) with another child. I was inspired by some recycled packing materials to try a hair cutting activity.

I drew faces on paper and taped wavy, strings of cardboard packing stuff on for hair, it looked great. I handed a pair of children’s scissors to the girl working on “snip” and she gave it a good go. But the scissors were too small and not sharp enough to cut the “hair” – oh dear. We started snipping other bits of paper, and then rapidly moved on to sticking things on to a picture of a “snail.” For the two boys working on “cutting” it was Toca Hair Salon to the rescue – phew.

Therapy is all about improvising: therapy sessions rarely go exactly to plan. We can’t follow a recipe, instead we spontaneously make communication opportunities from whatever is available, and teach parents to do the same.

Being the client: knowing what to expect and listening to my gut

The tiniest member of the Therapy Ideas teamThis is the first time I’ve blogged since I had a baby 8 weeks ago. I’m delighted to be sharing my life with this tiny person, although he sure does change the landscape of my days. Spare moments are scarce, when I find them, I hop into bed for a nap!

I’ve been told by parents I’ve worked with that I didn’t understand particular things because I didn’t have children. In my foggy mental state I’ve reflected on a few things I’ve learnt as a new parent.

I’ve realised how dedicated some parents are. I’ve known families come to therapy sessions with their older child when their new baby was just days old. In those first few weeks I called it a successful day if I could shower and comb my hair. These families had a legitimate reason for cancelling sessions but they didn’t: they came along, took part, and supported their older child. Wow.  Continue reading

Can I Shadow you? Pre-course clinical experience

Shadow photo

Since setting up in independent practice I’ve had almost weekly emails from people who want to train as speech and language therapists. They explain they need to gain relevant work experience and ask if they can come and shadow me during therapy sessions with my clients.  Continue reading

What influences progress in therapy?

Therapy setup

When I caught up with my former NHS colleagues recently, they asked me how my independent practice was going. I commented that I’d never seen children make as much progress. We started unpicking possible reasons for this rapid progress, was it that:

  • I see the children once a week on an ongoing basis? Or
  • The parents are particularly engaged because they’re paying for the service? Or
  • I’m able to tailor therapy to a child’s particular needs? Or
  • A combination of all three factors? Something else entirely? Continue reading