speech telepractice

4 Tips for Managing Challenging Children During Speech Telepractice

What could derail the speech telepractice session?

Most SLPs have confronted challenging children during a speech telepractice session.  And many of you are often at a loss as to how to work with a child who has a problem with motivation, focus, or simply behaving.  While this is the nature of the beast, after all these are children, because these challenges reduce clinical effectiveness they must be addressed.

Face it; frustrations will occur.  So what can you do to mitigate the impact of these problems?  What strategies will assist you in navigating those choppy waters that threaten to capsize the entire session? Implementing the four strategies below will help keep the session on track and perhaps, as importantly, salvage your relationship with the child in those difficult moments.

Establishing Rapport is Critical

Before you begin working with a new child, it is important to conduct a short interview with the parent that contains essentially three fundamental questions.

1 - Does your child have difficulty relating to new people, adults in particular?
2 - Is your child challenged in sustaining attention on a task?
3 - How does your child handle frustration?

You can’t just ask, “Should I expect your child to be challenging?” Explicitly asking if the kid is problematic may affront the parent. Nonetheless, answering these questions will alert you that establishing rapport, so critical in speech telepractice, may take more time, sensitivity and compassion. Surely you will reap the dividends throughout your entire experience with the child.

Don’t Take it Personally

Rule number one is “don’t get into it with the child.”  When those challenging behaviors do arise, don’t take them too seriously, don’t take it personally and whatever you do, don’t escalate it!  Not only will you kill the speech telepractice session, but you may seriously impair that precious rapport you worked so painstakingly to achieve.

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Aside from gratifying the child’s impetus to manipulate you with his outbursts, you will be jeopardizing your therapeutic effectiveness.  Being sensitive to the child’s frustration and rewarding inappropriate behavior are two different things.  You need to allow and sometimes even encourage the child to vent his frustrations.  Venting frustration can be very therapeutic.

But instead of that failure triggering a meltdown which will be of no benefit to the child, empower the child to go beyond it bringing him back into the therapy.  Perhaps the task at hand was too much right now.  No problem, either shorten it or move to something else to regain the “therapeutic momentum.” Avoid allowing the outburst to become a prolonged interruption.

Positive Reinforcement and Praise

It seems almost instinctive to react to outbursts by becoming frustrated and dropping a seemingly innocuous comment such as, “we can’t take our break until we finish four more words,” or “I need to tell your mommy that you spoke fresh to me today.”  Why not try, “you almost got it” or “you’re doing great, you’re almost there.”

As child development literature suggests, it is positive rather than negative reinforcement that brings the best results. A corollary to positive reinforcement is the importance of being very generous with praise. Don’t limit heaping on praise to a significant breakthrough, but look for opportunities to recognize and applaud those little seemingly insignificant victories as well.

Consistency with Expectations and Rules

Shifting the expectations or rules can cause the child to become confused. Be sure to establish your standards in a very friendly way at the beginning of the relationship as you are building your rapport with the child, and don’t swerve away from them. Allowing the child to do less opens the door to negotiation; demanding more can cause exasperation and loss of trust.

Take the Lemons and Make Lemonade

It is important to remember that challenging behaviors are generally unrelated to the therapy or the therapist.  That said, they are challenges you cannot ignore.  The effectiveness of your speech telepractice may depend on how well you recognize and react to those challenges.  Keep these strategies in mind and watch your success to grow by leaps and bounds!


3 Reasons Stuttering Children Ignore Speech Telepractice Lessons

What became of those great tools my child learned during speech telepractice?

It seems only logical that if a stuttering child can overcome that stutter during her speech telepractice session that she would apply those same strategies to “real life”? After all, children (teenagers in particular) will do just about anything to avoid stigmatizing themselves. So the obvious question is, “Why do they forsake the very tools that will save them this indignity?”

While those techniques that modify stuttering are learned rather quickly in treatment, many speech therapists became frustrated and discouraged when they see this progress evaporate soon after the session’s conclusion. What is it–the child’s laziness, the family not doing “their homework” with the child, or is it perhaps a deficiency in the SLP's strategy?

It may be helpful to consider that instead of looking for whom to blame, the real answer may be something entirely different...

Reason # 1: Mommy, this is just too hard!

First, you must recognize that implementing the changes made in the speech telepractice session can be exponentially more difficult when considering the factors present in real life that didn't exist during the session. Feeling time pressure of articulating the sound, navigating interruptions, or the fear of “failing”; any of these could cause the child to go blank.

What can you do to help?

It is critical that in addition to teaching the child the strategies to overcome her stuttering that you begin to gradually integrate the implementation of those strategies into real life situations that the child will need to confront. Whether it is the classroom, the playground or even in the home, the child needs practice using the tools and thus gain the confidence that is so essential.

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Reason #2: But Mommy, this makes me sound so weird!

All of the various techniques that can help a child to reduce her stuttering have a common denominator– pausing. So while the child may have mastered a technique, she will still sound different from her friends, or in her words, “weird!” Feeling weird is enough to shut up any child and could explain why the child is ignoring her well-taught strategies outside of the sessions.

What can you do to help?

You may want to help to desensitize the child to the negative feedback she will probably receive from her peers when she implements the strategies you taught her. Role play with your client by sharing some of the unintended verbal abuse that she will probably encounter and help her to cope with it by fortifying her with responses, emboldening her to persevere.

Reason #3: Mommy, I know it’s great, but it just isn’t worth it!

Just like we make a cost-benefit analysis in our decisions, the stuttering child will as well.  Superficially, it seems like a no-brainer.  With so many benefits that will improve verbal fluency, why wouldn't the child implement the strategies?  But consider the costs- greater effort, losing focus on the message, and the fear that the strategy won’t work- leaving her with nothing.

How Can I Help?

You need to be straight with the child. Discuss the benefits and the costs of utilizing the strategies in various situations. As the child’s awareness and acceptance of her stuttering grows, her feelings, the discomfort experienced, and other’s reactions become more tolerable which will decrease the stuttering. This will lower the costs of the tools and promote their usage.

The Comprehensive Approach

Although there are many very effective strategies to reduce the pain of stuttering, you must realize that actual speech telepractice accomplishment is only when the child can apply the strategies in “real life.”  Work to understand why your client is failing to implement what she learned, and craft strategies to address those challenges, helping her to be truly successful!

california online speech therapy job

Conquer California Online Speech Therapy Job Hunt Anxiety in 5 Steps

1. California Speech Therapy Job Search Anxiety- Are You Aware?

Let’s face it, it’s difficult to avoid uncontrolled anxiety when you are transitioning from one job to the next. Regardless of salary, industry or experience, most who hunt for a new position will suffer some stress and anxiety while on the search. Aside from discomfort, this can destroy your interview, and potentially stymie your CA Online Speech Therapy job search altogether.

You know that being overwhelmed compromises your focus and undermines your ability to answer tough interview questions thoughtfully.  Not only that, it drains your energy and resilience, thereby increasing your odds of rejection. But acknowledging your stress and anxiety is only the beginning.  Once aware, you need to discover its source and deal with it!

2. Feelings

Often fear and and anxiety hold us hostage because we try to battle on without honoring the feelings themselves.  If you want to stop wasting energy keeping your feelings in check, allow yourself to feel them! Stress and anxiety are generally accompanied by physical discomfort, even pain which must be acknowledged and engaged.

When you are freaking out from being unable to imagine how you are going to pay those bills, notice your physiological sensations. Do you feel a heaviness in your chest or that your heart is racing away? Don’t run away from it, but stay with it. Shortly you will notice it begin to lessen. Allowing yourself to feel can be transformational, not only for your job search, but for your life!

3. Mindset

Next on this list is your mindset.  Let’s make it simple. You need to change it. In stress management, thought is paramount.  Those who are able to change their thoughts are able to control their stress levels, enhancing the possibility of finding the right job.  Irrespective of the situation, adopt an attitude of honesty, courage, and unbridled optimism.

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You need to make a wholesale transfer of your focus and energy from thinking about the problem to "solutionizing."  Remember that not every rejection is a catastrophe.  Face it, you won’t get every job you apply for. Transform the paralysis caused by your disappointments into ambition.  Stop telling yourself that you are desperate. Hope is no more expensive than fear.

4. Courage

Anxiety borne of job hunting is essentially the fear of rejection and failure. Most successful people will agree that the ability to accept failure is critical to achieving success. Your failures are your teachers and will empower you.  Dodging this fear instead of engaging it can unwittingly sabotage your chance of landing the California online speech therapy job of your dreams.

5. Perspective

Steve Jobs said:

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything-all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."

Realizing that in the bigger picture you have nothing to lose will ameliorate your anxiety. Very little will shift in the outside world until your inner world changes — regardless of how much effort you put in. Understanding this critical axiom is perhaps the most important tool to eliminate the anxiety accompanying your search for that coveted California online speech therapy job.

California online speech therapy rejection

3 Tactics to Survive your CA Online Speech Therapy Job Rejection

Accept the reality: California online speech therapy job rejection hurts!

Although you have been doing your due diligence by sending out resumes and attending interviews, at some point, it dawns on you that no news isn’t good news. You realize, you’ve been rejected from that California online speech therapy job for which you were so excited.

Whether it is job hunting or dating, only very few of us have never faced painful rejection at some point in our lives. However, it is surprising that there are therapists who contend that being rejected from a job can lead to depression just as easily as being jilted in a relationship.  It is our good fortune that being rejected from a job can be overcome quicker.

At the same time, you need to deal with the here and now, the disappointment, frustration, and possible depression at the moment – especially if these rejections have become commonplace. The question is quite simple, "How do you survive and thrive despite being painfully rejected from that California online speech therapy job opportunity?"

1. Process Your Emotions

Don’t kid yourself.  Those feelings of frustration and even anger are only natural when you are so invested in finding a job and meeting up with so much rejection. Often this anger is actually that deep hurt which results from injured self-esteem.  Before anything else, acknowledge and embrace those emotions that have been triggered instead of denying them.

But once you can pinpoint those emotions, don’t let it stop there. It is critical to vent and express the frustration and anger effectively.  You may want to enjoy a hot shower or bath, perhaps cry, or listen to some relaxing music.  Maybe you want to confide in your spouse or a friend.  Try to release anger in whatever way that will allow you to move forward more constructively.

2. Exercise

Although it may seem strange, going to the gym can bring some relief after you are handed the rejection. Scientific research shows that after 20 minutes of exercise endorphins (natural stress and pain relievers) start to be released in your body. Exerting yourself physically will not only clear your head but expending energy will recharge your battery and uplift your spirit.

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Or if you aren’t the one to gravitate towards physical activity, find another venue where you can be extreme or go to the edge in some other way.  Perhaps rejuvenate yourself by trying an activity that is completely new, something you have never done before. Be creative and climb out of your box. This is often the stuff from which inspiration is borne.

3. Reclaim your perspective

Time to air out

Get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. Sometimes placing yourself in those locations that are bigger than life such as in a desert, by the other ocean, or in the mountains can completely flip your perspective.  A radical change of venue may deeply penetrate your being, helping to shed some of the malaise resulting from that California online speech therapy job rejection.

It’s Not Necessarily About You

Be very careful not to use your rejection as the measure of your professional worth. Just because you weren’t the perfect match for this particular company doesn’t mean that you aren’t an outstanding professional, incredibly talented, and possessing unique attributes. The hiring process is difficult to decipher and certainly beyond your control.

Consider Your Strengths

It’s very easy to hang your rejection on your faults and to blame yourself not only for your resume and interview but even for your personality. Just because you were rejected several times is no license to beat yourself up. Instead push yourself to focus on your strengths and pursue opportunities that will allow you to express your passion, and maintain your smile.

Forget the Past and Move On

Guard against the tendency to continuously review and relive the rejection in your mind or with others. Work hard to focus on your successes and those instances where you had positive outcomes.  You need this to boost your morale and the feeling that you are meant for an opportunity that is bigger and better.  Stay present; don't drown in the past, and push forward!