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Speech Therapy: Voice

A child with significant physical disabilities is able to make a full life for themselves, if they have a full grasp of their voice. A voice through a device is able to let us know how intelligent a mentee is, which allows the team to create an academic program that will challenge them instead rather than a program that is below their abilities. Communication devices are the tool that the mentee can use to demonstrate what they are capable of doing, academic wise. The communication device becomes a part of the child, so they are able to solely concentrate on school and doing their best.
As a mentor who went through the general education program with success and then was able to go on to college with just my voice, I believe children should have the same opportunities as I had with their voices. If I am able to work with toddlers, then I would be able to get them into general education by the time they are in pre-school age. If a child fully understands and believes that they are able to participate in general education, they are going to expect more from themselves.
As part of the first generation, I went through general education since the second-grade, I believe in showing the children how much they are expected to accomplish with their voice. I tell my mentees, I am going to give them their voice! BUT they have to take the gift and do something great with their lives. Communication enables children to have the ability and power, especially for significantly physically disabled children; it gives them the chance of a “typical” life, which is the reason why Speech Language Pathologists and mentors went into this field.
Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Children

Speech Therapy: Brain Versus Mind

Brain Versus Mind

Someone can be severely brain damaged and they can be severely physically disabled due to an injury but they can have a normal, developing mind. As you know, the brain has specific parts dedicated to movement, thought processing, speech and more. I have referred to my mentees many times in my blog and they are normal children other than needing communication devices to communicate. The communication devices allow us to understand the person inside of the mind and that is how we can get to know the true person inside the severely disabled body.

Most of my mentees are normally developed and we would have not known that if they did not have voices to demonstrate their mental capabilities. The mind is a completely different system from the brain. Take myself for an example: My brain is so severely damaged that I am a quadriplegic and a locked-in individual but my mind is totally “normal”. I am able to be in the field of work that helps children communicate. As a speech-language pathologist you are going to have the power to give people a tool to let their true self be known.

Speech Therapist have the knowledge and the expertise to allow someone to let out their authentic self to the world. My favorite aspect of my job is being present when my mentee first reveals their authentic self with a communication device. There is a big smile and a sound of excitement. When we are able to see the client conversing and stop noticing the communication device — our job is complete! This is the moment that most of us went to school for so let’s take our time to enjoy the moment when the little pieces of the puzzle fall in place.

Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Children

Speech Therapy: The Importance of a Voice

The Importance of a Voice

A person needs a voice to manage their life. With a voice, the person is able to have a productive life and the kind of life they want to live. A voice in which the individual has the ultimate control over, is going to allow the person to control their life. A child who has grown up with disabilities should be well acclimated to the talker and they should be able to completely direct a staff on their routines and needs throughout the day.
As speech-language pathologists and other professionals in the disabilities realm, our main concern should be on the progression of our clients’ communication skills. I become skeptical of the future of a client if I’m not observing progress after seven months of working with them. The sixth month marker tells me if the child is cognitively ‘on time’ or if they are ‘behind’ . By six months of working with the mentee, I am usually able to determine where their abilities are.
If you have a child who is significantly delayed, they may still be able to live independently if the person is able to communicate efficiently. If someone wants to make a life for themselves they must develop communication skills and have the determination to work on them, as well. The person must possess the desire of an independent life, otherwise our efforts of training them with communication skills will not be put to good use. The client must take the initiative to get a communication device which will open a plethora of opportunities for them. Speech-language pathologists and mentors have a challenging time getting a child to accomplish a goal if the mentee simply does not to make the effort.
I like to ask new mentees if they want the help I have been contracted to do with them. If the person says yes, I go over the usual confidential agreement between them and myself. I explain that I will break the confidentiality contract if they tell me that they are going to put themselves in danger.
If they say they don’t want my help, I’m not going to pursue the treatment plan.
My first few sessions with an adolescent are typically getting to know one another and creating the self determination goals and the Framing-A-Future document. Framing-A-Future or FAF is a document that the young individual creates at the junior high age and they will keep updating until their last year of high school. My colleagues and I will then make a plan for mentoring sessions out of these determination documents.
The plan from these two speech therapy programs must be client-directed with the assumption that he or she is literate. Literacy is a big component in the Self Determination program. I have my mentees write out their goals and they must communicate with me through e-mail on a regular basis. If a speech-language pathologist wants to make good use of their time with someone, they may want to create the F.A.F. document with the client, to understand where their head is in regards to their future. Everything I have mentioned in this blog is on the Bridge School website,, allowing people to see how we implement this program. As a mentor I am going to strongly encourage speech-language pathologists to create Self Determination documents so the two of you will have an understanding that this is a partnership between you. The mentee must understand that they are going to have a big part in this program and if they do not follow through with their part, the program may not succeed. If someone can get access to a communication device that they have full control over, they are going to have a life in which they had a big part in creating!

Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Children

Speech Therapy: Get Support Early

Get Support Early

Children who start working with attendants early in their life will have an easier transition when they reach adulthood and are ready to move out. The child needs to practice communicating with hired help, because they will have to deal with aides when starting to receive twenty-four hour care. As a speech-language pathologist it is going to be your job to work on efficient communication skills so the person is able to communicate their needs.
Communication skills are essential for an individual to live and be proactive in every aspect involving their care. As a mentor in the disability field, I empower children by teaching them their rights; and I had to take classes on disability laws and rights in order to receive a degree and do my job. Now I am assisting one of my mentees to get in home support for the first time.

Mentee’s have the potential to live independently if they possess communication skills by the time they reach high school. If I receive an older child who is behind with their communication skills by high school, I have a harder time bringing the mentee up to speed. Communication skills have to be the first skill developed before anything else will be able to happen for the child.

As a speech therapist you must educate yourself on independent living skills because families will look to you for answers. As speech therapist and mentors it is our job to give them the necessary skills to thrive in their life. Our job is only completed when our clients are doing what they have set out to. Yeah we have this awesome responsibility to our clients to get them talking but it takes special people to have longevity in our career.
Until next time, enjoy your children.