Did you grab a fresh cup of coffee? Maybe you are snacking while browsing the web to find another speech therapy resource? Or perhaps you already know me and came across my first blog post?
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Either way, welcome to the Blog about "Net" Speech!
Hi! I'm Annette, a speech-language pathologist providing online speech therapy to preschool and elementary kids. "A Net Speech Blog" is where you'll get my latest news and valuable information about teletherapy.
So get ready to dive into a treasure trove of information about speech therapy in general, as well as tips about online speech therapy and the general development of speech and language skills in children.
Annette at AnetSpeech
I grew up as an army brat in both the US and overseas. I am the middle child of seven kids. My personality is introverted and analytical by nature, but I definitely have a big dash of play enjoyment thrown in to the mix.
I had the privilege of a first career in the field of linguistics. While overseas, as an adult, I collaborated with two different teams to create literacy programs for both adults and children and turn them over to local leadership.
Returning to the US after linguistic field work, I transitioned to speech-language therapy. I graduated from Eastern Michigan University with my Masters degree, then accepted a 3-month maternity leave coverage position as a Clinical Fellow SLP in Washington. Following my certification with ASHA, I then gained experience with both geriatrics and school-aged children.
After falling in love with its green beauty, I became a permanent resident of western Washington and am now focused on speech therapy for children between the ages of 4 and 10. I absolutely love helping these children and their parents get a solid footing with communication skills! You can read a bit more about me here!
The pandemic and online speech therapy at AnetSpeech
When the pandemic hit, SLPs and parents everywhere frantically turned to teletherapy. We all gained tech skills while transitioning our experience and knowledge to a screen. Teletherapy had already become a proven tool for therapy effectiveness. Now this tool expanded across the world and allowed remote, rural families, as well as those in urban areas to more readily access speech therapy for their kids.
Although an incredibly stressful time for therapy providers, parents, and kids alike, the pandemic I taught me that telepractice was a perfect fit for the nerdy, game-playing, research-browsing SLP I had already become.
My new virtual clinic, AnetSpeech, was finally established in 2020, with a goal of providing excellent online speech therapy services to school students and private clients where an in-person SLP was not accessible.
Ever since graduate school I had wanted to set up my own speech therapy business. So my new virtual clinic, AnetSpeech, was finally established in 2020, with the goal of providing excellent speech services to school students and private clients where an in-person SLP was not accessible.
Online speech therapy and linguistics at AnetSpeech
Many SLPs have many varied amazing skills, but what sets me apart from most is my previous experience and ongoing love of the linguistic aspects of speech and language.
Most pediatric SLPs are great at games. I, too, am always looking for new games, fresh visuals, or quick reinforcers to adapt to teletherapy. Here's a little snapshot of some recently used materials in my virtual sessions.
Any SLP worth their salt will keep up on research, be willing to change a therapy approach when a client stalls in progress, and just plain enjoy their clients and their families. I do those things, too!
Many SLPs have amazing skills, but what sets me apart from most is my previous experience and ongoing love of the linguistic aspects of speech and language.
I pull from my linguistic experience when I target all things speech sounds (think: making sounds and increasing speech clarity) and language development (think: sentence grammar and story level skills). All this can easily be accomplished in an online speech therapy setting as well as in-person speech therapy. A few of the ways I pull from my linguistic background are:
Knowing and using phonetic contexts
Pulling from anatomy training
Clarifying assessment results and treatment approaches
Linguistics (the study of language and its structure) gave me a solid foundation for specific speech therapy techniques. One example is the phonetic context technique. With this technique, I may elicit an 'sh' sound by putting it before or after a long 'ee' sound (like 'she' or 'eesh'), because when the tongues says 'ee' it's already in position to say a great 'sh' sound!
I may pull from my linguistics anatomy training to help give even young clients a solid grasp of terminology so they easily understand an instruction like "try to keep the tongue tip down" for a /k/ sound.
Linguistics also informs my assessments of speech errors, helping identify error patterns versus singular articulation errors. Instead of a list of errors, I can provide a solid write-up in your child's evaluation report about any systemic sound patterns that need addressing. This helps immensely with deciding on an appropriate therapy approach.
Sneak peak into how linguistics affects me: Having a linguistic mindset, of course I annotate many of my tools with the International Phonetic Alphabet. Here are some of my favorite speech sound therapy tools, the Bjorem Speech Sound Cue Cards (by the way, you can buy them here). I absolutely had to add the phonetic transcription on the back!
More about "A Net Speech Blog"
What will you find here? AnetSpeech's blog will have up-to-date of information about speech therapy in general, as well as tips about online speech therapy and about the general development of speech and language skills in children.
Some of the topics to be covered in my blog posts are:
Differences between speech and language
What does a speech therapist do
What does online therapy look like
What sounds should your child have
Three things you need for teletherapy
Benefits of teletherapy for speech
How to know if your child needs speech therapy
My aim in publishing a blog is to provide parent-friendly explanations and resources. Sometimes I will feature a download, like informational handouts or seasonal at-home activities. Other times I will share tips I'm incorporating into some of my online sessions.
The Secret Sauce to Successful Speech Therapy
Many parents may be unsure about teletherapy and hesitant to try it with their child.
Many parents may be unsure about teletherapy and hesitant to try it with their child.
But the secret sauce for successful speech therapy progress lies far more in the non-technical, in the human, aspects of therapy.
Some of the human factors that make both in-person and online speech therapy effective are:
Connection and kindness with your child
SLP's use of evidence-based practice and approaches
Accommodating your child's learning style and interests
Praise the child's efforts, especially his successes, no matter how small
SLP's ability to think outside the box
Give parents actionable support strategies for home
Access to SLP between sessions
All of these are ongoing aspects of online speech therapy at AnetSpeech.
For example, one child needed a lot of gross motor movement before his brain could engage with learning tasks. I built movement breaks into his visual schedule, so he could see right from the start how he could go run, run, run, after a chunks of work. And in fact, he did a ton of work when supported this way, using both connection and kindness with him and accommodating his learning style and sensory needs.
For another child who has worked a lot on her speech sounds and is hitting a plateau where she feels like her mouth just can't do certain hard sounds, I utilized child interests and added drawing fun in between the work. I also changed my approach by using something called cognitive re-framing and instead of tackling the (very hard for her) 'ch' sound, I said we're going to work on a new sound and you get to help name it! After trialing a few different elicitation techniques, we settled on calling it her 'Itchy Sound', and she began moving from imitation to more independent production of this sound in the initial easy words I gave her. Thinking outside the box really helped in this situation.
Some of my private practice clients' parents text or email between sessions. Maybe not every week, but when they need it. As a relational SLP, I feel this is included in your cost of therapy. I've received videos for language samples, requests for records, sent short surveys for quick check-ins on language intelligibility, and more.
Read the testimonials of some of my more-than-pleased parents here!
Thank you for joining me today!
So now you have a good picture of your upcoming journey at "A Net Speech Blog".
Today you and I have chatted about these things (if you jumped here, scroll up to find more):
My background in travel and linguistics
How the pandemic impacted my business
How I use my linguistic background in speech therapy
What this blog will be exploring in the future
The secret sauce (aka the human factor) to successful speech therapy
In the next posts, you'll learn more about speech therapy, about teletherapy, and get answers to many common and frequently asked parent questions. You'll get links to free downloads, and tips on speech sounds and language skills for children. Your comments will help me get to know you, as well!
Did you finish your cup of coffee or your snack already? If not, click the Home button above to explore the website for AnetSpeech. Thank you for joining me on the first blog post!
Send me your questions - I'm happy to pull information together to answer some of your questions with a fuller answer in a post.