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September 14, 2011 / the speech monster

Secondary Consultation Skills

Attended a very useful PD today around consultation skills.

I think being a speechie requires one to be skilled in not just language and sounds, and working with children; it also entails working with parents, teachers, and other support staff/principals at schools. Because we’re shifting away from the traditional, pull-out therapy model, our work these days isn’t just about working in a withdrawal setting with kiddos. We complete assessments, then provide advice to teachers and parents on how to best work with their kids: we are consultants to these adults and professionals. And being a consultant requires a whole set of different skills, I think, to be able to work effectively with these adults who might have other preconceived notions/habits/ideas of how things should be done.

The most valuable lesson I learned was to try to understand the perspectives of the parent and/or teacher, reserve judgement, speak the teachers’ lingo, keep an open mind, and definitely provide positive feedback. I found myself reflecting on my own ways throughout the one-day course, and making commitments to myself to throw some of my previous thinking out the window. I’m a huge proponent of collaborative practices with the parents and teachers of the kids we work with, and truly believe that the greatest change can be made when goals are consistent across all settings. However, the reality is that it’s hard work to get everyone else on board: some parents don’t have the time, education, language,  or don’t understand the nature of your work; some teachers have different agendas, no time, or simply do not know enough to care about what a speechie does with the student…so it’s hard work! But I’ve seen it work so well when done…and with those success stories in mind, hope to keep pressing on and seeking collaboration with the relevant parties. I’m definitely going to try out some of the strategies suggested to us in that PD and see how they go!

I wonder what other speechies’ experiences are like? Do you have any tips on consultation skills or collaborative practices to sharE?

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