Have you ever asked yourself, "What makes me a GREAT SLP?".  I have! I want to connect with my students, their parents, and their teachers on a level that makes a difference in that child's life.   So, how can I do that exactly?  Is there some kind of magic potion? 😉 I don't know the answer to that, but as I have been thinking about this, a few thoughts have come to mind.

First, when working with children, often the initial rapport you establish is essential to your therapy program.  I like to start therapy out with the absolute most awesome activities I have.  The younger the child, the more interactive and engaging the activity.  The child typically focuses on the activity as the whole point to being there, but we all know that the activity is just the portal to the goal.

Second, one way I have tried to increase engagement with children and their families is to send home a preference survey.  This little letter typically includes a little intro about myself and an explanation about what I am looking for on the survey.  Mostly, it's just the children's preferences for activities (coloring, art, painting, swinging, etc), food (include any allergies), and what motivates them.  I love getting these back and gearing therapy toward preferred activities and topics.

The third thought was definitely the most reflective one.  I feel like a therapist who treats a child as more than their disability and instills lessons in the children that extend beyond speech therapy is invaluable.  Additionally, an SLP who can provide comfort to a parent and provide them with a positive outlook for their child when the positive outlook is hard to find is a person that I want to learn from.  This is where I want to be! I don't have any experience with counseling, so I would love to hear from those of you out there who do have experience in this area in working with parents.

So, let me hear from you.  I would really love it!


My first post in the Auditory Verbal Strategies series is about Acoustic Highlighting.  In basic terms, acoustic highlighting is giving auditory emphasis to a certain acoustic characteristic of a message.  As a child learns to listen, the goal is to progress towards a more normal, less highlighted mode of communication.

Some examples include*:

MORE AUDIBLE                                              LESS AUDIBLE
(for a beginning child)                                        (for a child who is listening well)

No background noise                                          Increased background noise
6" from hearing aid or CI                                   Increased distance from hearing aid or CI
Simpler language with shorter phrases               Complex sentences
Vowel variation, rhythm and syllable                 Less varied acoustic contrast (minimal pairs, similar
    contrast                                                                        rhythm)
Emphasis on key words                                       No emphasis on key words
Emphasis on words not accentuated                   No emphasis
 (prepositions, articles, verb tenses, pronouns)
Word position (key word) in sentence - end        Middle, beginning
Closed set (choices, context known)                    Open set (no choices, context unknown)
Slightly slower rate                                              Normal rate
Increased pitch variation and rhythm                   Normal rhythm
    (sing what you say)
Clearer enunciation (use of "clear" speech)        Less clear and/or unfamiliar voice
Increased repetition                                             No repetition

*Based on Judith I. Smiser

Having reached the goal of less highlighting, remember that there are noisy environments where acoustic highlighting might continue to be necessary.  This is the same as those with normal hearing.

Another form of acoustic highlighting is Motherese/Parentese.   This is speech that is used by parents/caregivers when talking with young children/babies to help make speech more audible to them.  Cutesy speech! Most people do this instinctively with babies.  It is important to remember that children who are recently aided need to hear this type of speech just the same as babies who are just learning to listen do.
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