Updated: Mar 24, 2021
Although virtual SLPs provide speech therapy to students K-12 through a computer, we never want to be thought of as a computer. There is a lot of computering out there that can take away the peopleness of learning. That’s why pro Tele-SLPs should be Choosing to Be a PC.
PC’s ARE computers, you say.
No no no, the type of PC I’m talking about is a Personable Collaborator.
This is more than just a play on the word “personal.” It’s a deliberate choice. I never want to be thought of as as a computer SLP or just the person on the other side of the screen. You see, a Tele-SLP that is personable shares experiences with students. A Tele-SLP that is personable empowers students. A Tele-SLP that is a personable is engaging.
What does this look like on a daily basis? Practically speaking, it’s choosing to have a phone conversation with a parent rather than exchange emails and texts. It’s writing down (or simply remembering, if you’re better at that than I am) what your student’s weekly activities and hobbies are AND following up with them periodically. It’s allowing a little show and tell or playing hide and seek every now and then during a speech session. After all, they are already getting a glimpse through the door behind you in the camera and those little minds are wondering what else is in your home.
Establishing this kind of rapport with your students or clients goes SUCH a long way. Take a moment to:
Play a "get to know you" game
Talk on the phone with a parent
Recognize tired, hard, and sad days
Share in excitement and fun
BE a COLLABORATOR
There are so many people SLPs--virtual and in-person alike--collaborate with on a daily basis: EC teachers, regular education teachers, related service coordinators and managers, psychologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, parents, learning coaches, and more. That makes for many different opinions as well….
To be more collaborative, I try to remember a few things:
Be the first to alert
Have a clear goal
Empower parents and their children, my students
Allow space for other ideas
This recipe for collaboration has generally proved to be a great guideline for some testy situations in the last few years as a Teletherapist. I hope it serves you well in yours!
Are you collaborating with someone different? I'd love to know. Comment below, or shoot me an email.
-Angela C. Hancock, MSP, CCC-SLP