online speech therapy job interview

Killing Your Interview for that Coveted Online Speech Therapy Job

The interview is where you need to make your best impression. You want to look, sound, and act your best. And with careful, thorough preparation, the interview provides you the opportunity to showcase what you know and who you are.

Regardless of how introverted or naturally shy, you may be, anyone can learn to interview well. It merely takes knowing some basic rules and then practicing and refining your technique as much as possible.

Some basic facts about the interview 

  1. First impressions are key
  2. The interviewer generally decides whether to hire you in the first five minutes
  3. Excellent interpersonal skills are essential
  4. Try and control the tempo and flow of the interview
  5. Remember that you are selling a product — yourself — so don't be modest

1. Research

After accepting an interview, research should always be your first step. The online speech therapy employer will expect you to know something about the company and expect you to understand why you will fit in well there. You need to be prepared to answer the questions, "What do you know about us?" and "Why do you want to work here?" 

You need to...

  1. Research the teletherapy provider thoroughly, including key personnel, locations, services, corporate culture, and the like.
  2. Research the position. Learn everything you can about the qualifications and qualities that the employer seeks for the job.
  3. Research the interviewer. If possible, ask about who will be interviewing you — using Google, LinkedIn, and other social media to learn about each person.
  4. Research the type of interview. When you're invited to the interview, ask about the kind of interview to expect — and the type of questions.

Bottom line, you need to assure your interviewer that you are crystal clear as to the company's expectation from your day to day at work. Become familiar with the daily life and challenges an online speech therapist meets in that setting. You need to walk into the interview with realistic expectations of what the job entails.

2. Preparation

Here's a simple truth: the more you prepare for an interview, the more you're likely to succeed. Create your list of commonly asked interview questions related to the type of job interview you're expecting — and develop responses that showcase your abilities and accomplishments — and what you can do for your next employer.

Do not memorize your responses but develop some narrative or story to help you remember the key points you want to express. Practice your interviewing style and answers to critical questions, and ask a friend to take you through a mock interview. The more you practice, the more self-assured and relaxed you will be during the interview.

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3. Dress for Success

Recruiters are no different than anyone else. They make snap judgments based on personal appearance, so make sure you dress appropriately for the interview. Dressing unprofessionally or showing up poorly groomed may cost you a job opportunity.

It is safer to be more formal and business-like in your attire for your interview. Neutral colors such as gray, black, navy, and brown are preferred for interviews. Keep ties, scarves and jewelry and makeup understated. 

4. Use Your Head!

Be polite and professional. Keep in mind that your interview begins the minute you connect on the screen. How you behave during the interview indicates to your prospective online speech therapy employer the expectation of how you will interact with co-workers and supervisors if you are hired. 

Remember to...

  1. Find out the interviewer's name and use it as soon as possible during the interview. If the company didn't inform you, do your best to find it out beforehand.
  2. At the start of the interview: smile, make eye contact, and offer a warm greeting to each interviewer.
  3. Speak confidently and passionately. Showcase your knowledge and preparation.

5. Show Time

  1. Keep the conversation with the interviewer focused on your skills and abilities and the requirements of the job. Respect the interviewer's time. Don't get side-tracked into a discussion about your personal life or other things. 
  2. Be sure not to interrupt the interviewer; allow her to direct the conversation. Because your responses need to be thoughtful, it is vital to listen attentively to the interviewer's questions. If you don't understand a question, ask for clarification. Answer questions thoroughly, but avoid rambling on or offering off-topic replies.
  3. Know your strengths and articulate them with confidence. Prepare specific examples to illustrate your skills as well as answers to difficult questions you might expect. Before the interview concludes, attempt to showcase your knowledge of the company while demonstrating a legitimate interest in wanting to know more.
  4. Be ready to explain employment gaps and be honest about why you left a previous job. Interviewers know that even good candidates can find themselves in less than ideal situations and need to move on. Without being defensive, explain what happened, accept responsibility (if relevant) for your part in the termination, and articulate what lessons you learned from the experience.
  5. Even if you have a pretty good understanding of the job requirements, it is still important to ask questions. Ideally, you should be weaving questions into the interview, and those questions should focus on the employer's expectations of you and how your job success is measured.
  6. It is essential to display an emotional connection to whatever this online speech therapy job means to you. Let the interviewer know that it's about more than just a paycheck. It is also important to show passion about what it is that you're offering to the employer. Talk about the enthusiasm that drove you to want to become an online speech therapist in the first place. 

6. Closing

If you are interested in the job, make that clear to the interviewer, and ask about the next steps in the process. Thank the interviewer after the interview and send an authentic and timely thank-you-note. Whenever possible fire off a short and professional thank-you by email followed by a longer thank-you letter by postal mail.

Since the personal touch knows no substitute, it is advisable to send an old-fashioned handwritten note on nice card-stock provides. Thank-you notes also allow you to emphasize a key point perhaps only mentioned in the interview. Remember to carefully spell check — especially the person's name and the name of the employer — before sending!

rural communities

Rural America Offers Unique Opportunities for Therapists

Understanding Rural Communities

Providing counseling in a rural community requires an understanding of the rural community culture.  While most rural cultures share some general similarities, every rural area seems to be unique. In general, therapists are trained to deliver therapy in an urban setting, and many of these counselors experience culture shock when they deliver therapy to rural residents.

Experts claim that it isn’t only about providing therapy in rural areas, but rather it’s about delivering “rural therapy”. Rural therapists often require different treatment suggestions and face different considerations than those in urban environments. This mindset can be crucial in making the difference between the therapist succeeding or failing. 

To begin with, it is critical that therapists delivering therapy in rural communities be familiar with and honor their clients’ cultural values and beliefs, many of which revolve around family. Family needs to be included in discussions regarding life decisions, such as attending college. Sometimes parents are worried about who will take care of them if their sons or daughters leave the rural community to attend college and decide not to return. 

Be a Generalist

Often rural areas are short on therapists in general and on specialists in particular. It is, therefore, incumbent upon the counselor to become knowledgeable and skilled in a wide variety of areas.  To be effective, therapists need to maintain a hunger to learn and remain current regarding innovative treatments that have proven effective.  

The therapist is akin to a “country doctor” in many ways and must be prepared for everything. This more personal persona of the therapist can often enhance the client’s trust in that therapist. On the other hand, this leaves many a rural therapist questioning whether such a broad mandate is pulling him beyond the scope of practice where he feels competent. 

Network with Other Professionals

It’s essential for rural therapists to establish an excellent referral list and network of therapists to refer to when the case is beyond the comfort level. It is necessary to get out there to meet and become familiar with therapists with whom to collaborate. Even when that number is small, rural therapists must develop a professional relationship and learn their areas of expertise.  

Often rural therapists are charged with using their creativity to compensate for the shortage of resources, particularly in the realms of supervision and support. One way is to leverage the intimate closeness of the rural community to form collaborative networks with educators and clergy. Establishing working mutually beneficial relationships with other mental health professionals is a must.

Alternatively, it is advisable to network with peers and maximize the opportunities to connect with colleagues through online directories, conferences, and professional associations. As the world moves online, this is working to the rural therapist’s advantage as his networking deficit is beginning to erode. 

Boundary Issues 

Therapists in practically every setting at some time or another need to confront boundary issues. Boundary issues can take many forms such as whether to develop a friendship with a former client, attend social events at the invitation of the client or even hire a former client to perform a service where that former client has displayed expertise. 

And yet, particular boundary issues that confront a therapist within rural communities can be somewhat unique and thus demand from the therapist delicate and skillful management if the confidential covenant between the client and therapist is to be maintained. 

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Knowing just about everyone in town goes with the territory of living in a rural community. Such closeness, of course, is what makes living in a Rural America so unique and special. Consequently, it comes as absolutely no surprise to the rural therapist that clients may very well be those with whom he knows socially or through business.  

This raises one of the most delicate areas that any therapist needs to deal with, that of having a dual relationship, and the ethical questions that are associated with it. While certainly not preferable, sometimes these dual relationships in rural communities just cannot be avoided and must be engaged to preserve the therapeutic relationship. 

There is certainly nothing unusual about a therapist living in a rural community to have his transmission fixed by the only transmission specialist in town who happens to be his client as well. Or the one local plumber is coming out to the therapist’s home to fix the pipe that just burst only to meet that therapist for a session later in the week. 

Given the fact that these dual relationships are so likely, it would behoove the therapist to anticipate that the professional and personal lives will intersect and therefore adequately prepare beforehand.  

One way to prepare that has been suggested is for the therapist to take the bull by the horns and address the situation head-on by assuring the client early on that confidentiality is secured and that the client’s issues won’t be discussed outside the sessions. In any event, it is the therapist’s responsibility at some point to initiate the discussion so that together the therapist and client will find a way to minimize the awkwardness while simultaneously protecting the client’s privacy and dignity as much as possible. 

Community Connection

There are many reasons that people choose to make their home in a rural community, but foremost for many of them is the sense of connection they enjoy with others in that community. Such a precious bond is far more elusive if not impossible in larger urban areas.  

Aside from finding more physical space and natural beauty, not to mention solitude, many love the rural communities they call home because of their deep and abiding connections to both family peers.  It all comes together to produce a sense of solidarity and security in the environment that, for many, is priceless. Knowing and being able to count on your neighbors is something few in densely populated urban areas ever experience. 

These interpersonal bonds and its consequent strength can often be felt in the therapeutic realm as well. Because there is a deeper connection to people, usually the client has more of an innate trust in the therapist and feels comfortable depending on her. What’s more, the therapist isn’t just a service provider but “part of my community.” 

child anxiety

Are You Unaware or in Denial of Your Child’s Anxiety?

Childhood Anxiety

Does your child sometimes feel anxious? The reality is that childhood is quite an anxious process. Kids are regularly being tasked with learning and developing new skills, being faced with new challenges, confronted with overcoming their fears and being asked to navigate a world that many times doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

At times these stressors and fears are manageable, and at other times they could bring your child to overload. The loving attempts to comfort your child and prod her along are no longer doing the trick. In such situations, it may be that your child is suffering from anxiety or an anxiety disorder.

It is well known that anxiety disorders are at the top of the list of mental illnesses in the United States. Unfortunately, children are no exception. Approximately 12% of children in this country may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. And many aren’t receiving the necessary treatment. Anxiety left untreated puts a child at risk for poor school performance, inferior social skills, and prone to dangerous behaviors such as addiction.

So, is there a way to know when your child’s anxiousness is anxiety?

Symptoms

Some physical clues of anxiety

  1. Regular complaints of headaches or stomach aches without a medical reason
  2. Very reluctant to use a bathroom anywhere but home
  3. Lacking an ADHD diagnosis is still generally distracted, “hyper” or fidgety
  4. Having difficulty either falling or remaining asleep
  5. Intimidating situations cause the child to sweat abnormally or shake

Some emotional clues of anxiety

  1. Crying or displaying sensitivity too often
  2. Prone to anger or grouchiness for no apparent reason
  3. Fearful of committing even minor mistakes
  4. Experiencing panic attacks or expressing fear of having them
  5. Excessive worrying about things that will happen far into the future

Some behavioral clues of anxiety

  1. Incessantly asking “what if something terrible will happen?”
  2. Refuses to join in class activities or to go to daycare or school
  3. Doesn’t interact with others even playing or working together
  4. Approval seeking from friends, teachers or parents constantly
  5. Consistently having tantrums or meltdowns

Anxiety Disorders in Children

Sometimes the child’s anxiety is not only anxiety but something more serious- an anxiety disorder. It happens to be that anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric disorders in children, even more than depression or ADHD.

Types of Childhood Anxiety Disorders

Although there are numerous anxiety disorders, these are these disorders are the most common found in children.

1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder  

A child who presents any of the following symptoms over six months will probably be diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder. They include irritability, sleep disturbances, problems focusing and concentrating, fatigue, or difficulty concentrating.

Children with generalized anxiety disorder may present somatic symptoms as well, such as pains, muscle aches, headaches, or abdominal pain.

2. Specific Phobia

Sometimes a child may show anxiety or excessive fear about a particular situation or object. When this fear doesn’t subside over time but rather becomes calcified in the child’s psyche, there is a reason for concern as it may indicate a phobia. Confronted with the object or situation that is causing the phobia will often cause the child to freeze, cling to an adult, or cry, sometimes uncontrollably.

3. Selective Mutism  

More than any other anxiety disorder in children, selective mutism is often the most frequently overlooked. Such a child is mistakenly viewed as extremely shy. However, a child’s adamant refusal to speak or make eye contact in a social situation, when at the same time that same child is very comfortable speaking at home is usually a red flag.

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4. Separation Anxiety Disorder

For children between 1-3 years old, it is perfectly normal and well within what is considered developmentally appropriate to be anxious about being separated from a parent or caregiver. However, once the child reaches age 4, anxiety or excessive fear of that separation may indicate a separation anxiety disorder.

Children suffering from this disorder often worry quite frequently about the parent separating from them or even dying. This anxiety may cause nightmares about separation, reluctance, refusal to go to school, or even adverse physical symptoms such as nausea or stomach aches.

5. Social Anxiety Disorder

Children who exhibit an excessive fear of interacting with other children or participating in school may be suffering from a social anxiety disorder. This fear may present in any number of ways from clinging to an adult, crying, throwing a tantrum, or just going into a freeze. Withdrawal from other children to the safety of solitude is often an indicator.

6. Panic Disorder

Although it is more common for teenagers to suffer panic attacks than children, occasionally a young child may have a panic disorder. Symptoms may include the sensation of choking, dizziness, getting the chills, shortness of breath, or the impression of a heart attack. Some children report that they feel like they are dying.  

How To Help

Unfortunately, many parents feel helpless when they observe their child suffering from excessive worry or fear. There is a reflexive inclination to remove the child from any and every situation that seems to trigger the child’s anxiety.

But the unwitting parent doesn’t realize that such a strategy often boomerangs, leaving the child even more sensitive and vulnerable to these environments and situations.

The goal of the parent shouldn’t be to eliminate anxiety triggers from the child’s life, which is, of course, unrealistic. Instead, the parent should strive to effectively manage anxiety until the child can be led to professional help to discover and confront the source of anxiety.

Your pediatrician may recommend that the child receive mental health therapy, either face to face or via teletherapy.  An experienced child psychologist can often be very helpful in alleviating the symptoms of anxiety and perhaps uncover the source of the anxiety itself.

Children with anxiety disorders are typically treated with talk therapy either face to face or via teletherapy, medication, or a combination of the two. Often through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a child can learn the difference between real and unreal thoughts, which is often the key to healing the child.

kids and cell phone use

7 Reasons to Get Your Kid to Put Down the Smartphone (If You Can)

Brave New World

The meteoric rise of the smartphone is radically changing our kids' lives by the day in every arena of life, from how they interact socially to their emotional well being. Wherever you can find a cell tower, you will find an ever-increasing number of children and teens whose lives are being impacted and sometimes defined by their smartphone.

As incredible as it may seem, children as young as two years can show signs of mental health problems due to using smartphones and tablets. It doesn't take much. Even an hour a day, staring at the screen is enough to increase a child's anxiety and vulnerability to depression. Staring at the screen reduces their curiosity self-control and, emotional stability.

The Multiple Problems

1. Distorted Communication

Children who spend time on social media and smartphones learn and practice what social-psychologists call deindividuated communication. In other words, communication through social media or smartphone texting gives children a sense of being absent, anonymous, and faceless, virtually unaccountable for what they are saying.

This lack of accountability leads to an increased preponderance to be extreme and aggressive in the verbal sense. The children’s shaming, mocking, and bullying is far more devastating than anything they would ever do face-to-face.

2. Parental Detachment

When technology use is not controlled, the relationship between parent and child suffers. Children and teens who average hours a day alone in their rooms obsessed with their devices are not present to interact with their parents. And even when parent and child are physically occupying the same space, the child is often unavailable.

As if that weren't enough, the degree of trust between parent and child is often defined by how the parent controls social media and phone usage. But parents shouldn't dupe themselves into believing that their perceived control is real. The digital landscape is replete with apps that allow teens to hide their true digital life from their parents.

3. Social Handicapping

Childhood and adolescence provide critical opportunities for developing lifelong social skills. But as the smartphone becomes the replacement for spending face time with friends, there are fewer and fewer opportunities to learn and hone those vital skills. This creates a vicious downward spiral that makes communicating via text or emoji more comfortable than face-to-face interaction further diminishing genuine social interaction.

Some experts have asserted that it's not that the smartphone creates a nonverbal learning disability, but instead, it places everyone involved in a nonverbal disabled context. The critical dimensions of communication such as facial expression, body language, and vocal tone become invisible and hence irrelevant.

4. Creeping Loneliness

Social networking sites such as Facebook promise to be a conduit facilitating connecting with friends. But study after study has shown conclusively that social networking is producing a dislocated and lonely generation. Children and teens who visit their social-networking sites religiously but interact less frequently with their friends are unwittingly creating a detached and lonely existence for themselves.

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Ironically, all of this connecting through social media is exacerbating the sense of being left out or "fomo" as it is fondly known. The sad fact is that children and teens spend less time together, and even when they do meet the activity invariably centers around their social media activities. Without posting pictures to Instagram, it's considered as if their time spent together didn't even happen.

5. Chronic Insomnia

Experts claim that a teen who sleeps less than seven hours at night is a teen that is sleep deprived. Recently two independent national surveys showed that if a teen is on his digital device three hours a day, he is 28 percent less likely to get seven hours sleep. Sadly these studies showed that more than twice as many teens were sleep deprived in 2015 than in 1991.

The consequences of sleep deprivation can be devastating. Without enough sleep, it is difficult to focus on school. Consequently, grades will suffer and motivation will tank along with it. Not enough sleep means slower reaction time, which increases the likeliness of being in a car accident. And when tiredness compounds with social pressure, the child or teen is more prone to depression.

6. Increasing Depression

A recent survey involving thousands of 12th graders found that teens who spend more of their time on non-screen activities are found to be happier. And the opposite was also found to be true. Those who spend more of their time on their smartphones and tablets are likelier to be lonely, anxious, and depressed.

And it has been found in recent studies that struggling with depression as a teen is generally a recipe for suffering depression as an adult. Hard to believe that the smartphone is such a critical factor in the increasing rates of depression all around us.

7. Rising Suicides

Indeed, one advantage of teens being more socially isolated and not spending as much time together is that it is less likely that they will kill someone else. However, the converse is true as well; they are more likely to kill themselves. In 2011 for the first time in quarter century suicide rates for teens surpassed homicide rates.

Girls who are more prone to depression than boys are especially vulnerable. Whereas boys gravitate more to face to face bullying, cyber-bullying is more the bullying of choice for girls. This distinction may account for the statistic that shows that from 2012 to 2015, depression for girls increased at a 250 percent greater rate than boys over that same period.

How Can You Help Your Child?

With all this heartbreaking news, it would be understandable for parents to feel helpless and hopeless, but they need not. Implement these suggestions to begin to gain control of your children's digital lives.

  1. You need to model cell phone control: Set an example for your children of how to use and limit the use of smartphones and social media in your life.
  2. Establish digital family curfews: Ban the use of phones during the dinner hour. Designate the parents' bedroom into the overnight charging station.
  3. Transform the discussion: Instead of instilling within your children a fear of getting caught being digitally inappropriate, focus on the benefits of online safety and healthy social life.