The ASHA Leader asked readers: What unique treatment challenges do the upcoming holidays present for you and your students or clients, and how do you deal with them? Here are some of the answers we received on Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail.
Keep the Train Moving
It is sometimes amazing how just a few short weeks off can really throw off the students' routine and progress. Also, trying to keep my students motivated during the last few days before break and right after coming back from break!
—Jennifer McDonough, MA, CCC-SLP
Embracing the Challenges
There are so many strokes around the holidays. Our rehab team becomes stronger together during those challenging times.
—Shannon Coyne Lirette, MS, CCC-SLP
I have many students who take extended trips to Mexico to visit family around the holidays. I never know who I will see on a given day because they may have gone on vacation.
—Hailey Gaida, MS, CCC-SLP
"He's getting speech therapy at school" may receive two diametrically opposed responses: "I can see. He sounds so much more mature than the last time we saw him," or "Coulda fooled me!" With extended family gatherings the norm around the holidays, our work as speech-language pathologists gets scrutinized more than any other time during the year. Grandmas and grandpas want to have perfect grandchildren. It can put a parent in a very uncomfortable position: "My child has to be looked at as perfect, otherwise it's an imperfection in my raising them." Common? No doubt. Fair? Is being judgmental ever fair? Usually not.
In my work with younger, school-age children, my number one goal before any holiday is to infuse positive energy and attitudes. I will often prep the child to the anticipated setting, while telling the parent to showcase progress made in therapy thus far. Even if the child hasn't mastered the technique, his grandparents will think it's cute and will love him for trying. No negative feelings included.
—Noam Ben-Ari, MS, CCC-SLP
So many activities and events mean worn-out kids, which leads to illness and lots of cancelled sessions and slow progress. For some students and families, this can go on for months.
—Natalie Faiman, MA, CCC-SLP
In general, breaks in the routine of speech therapy come along with the holidays. This poses a threat to progress that has been made in the short beginning of the school year, particularly for those children who are just beginning to show gain.
—Sherri Blasingame North, MA, CCC-SLP
Cancellations and Stress
So many outpatient therapy cancellations. In acute care, there are so many strokes and heart attacks affecting families during that time.
—Meagan Hall Bailey, MS, CCC-SLP
Behavioral issues related to changes in routine during the holiday season.
—Christina Frenzel, MA, CCC-SLP
Dealing with economically disadvantaged students is especially heartbreaking during this otherwise joyful time of year. Fortunately this year, some of my dear friends in the education field who work with the gifted student population have decided to adopt my students! We will make a learning experience out of this wonderful opportunity by communicating to enhance written communication skills.
—Mary Jean Rowe, MS, CCC-SLP
We're looking for member voices and want to know: What are you most looking forward to in 2013?
Tweet your response to @ashaweb using hashtag #LeaderPosted or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Your response may appear in a future issue of The ASHA Leader.