As a member of the healthcare profession, my primary goal is to serve our clients and to promote optimal performance and improve quality of life. Interdisciplinary teamwork is imperative to the overall success and performance of so many of the clients and families I work with.
I love being an occupational therapist – but even more so, I love being an occupational therapist that has the opportunity to work alongside speech therapists every single day. Being able to collaborate with my speech therapist colleagues has allowed me to better promote growth, development, and skill acquisition with the children I am working with.
5 REASONS WHY I LOVE WORKING ALONGSIDE SPEECH THERAPISTS:
- Incorporate Visuals and Strategies:
- Pediatric speech therapists are pros when is comes to visual supports. They have helped me determine the most appropriate type of visuals to incorporate into my session pending the child’s needs. But more than just visuals, they have provided valuable insight on other ways to support kids during sessions – whether it be how to more effectively communicate to an individual client or how to support active recall/sequencing – our speech therapists always know just how to help.
- Change My Language:
- Working alongside speech therapists has taught me to be more aware of the impact my language, verbage, and tone within a session. I have learned – and seen in practice – how my language can help support my session goals (or negatively impact overall performance). Using direct and intentional verbage assists in setting boundaries, promotes consistency, supports processing, and can shift the dynamic of the session as needed. For someone that loves to talk in circles, my speech counter-parts have taught me that simple, clear, and concise is sometimes the best approach!
- Treats Common Deficit Areas With A Varying Approach:
- Occupational therapy and speech therapy’s scope of practice overlaps some with certain areas of intervention. With pediatrics, often I am working alongside speech therapists with children who struggle with executive dysfunction, handwriting/written expression challenges, and motor planning/praxis difficulties (to name just a few areas). However, my approach as an occupational therapist is often entirely different then my speech counter-part – but that is the best part about it. It allows these children to improve deficit areas through a multi-fasceted approach which promotes generalization and true skill acquisition.
- Views The Child From A Different Lense:
- Sometimes it is easy to get ‘stuck’ in a treatment plan or hyper focused on the deficits that you have identified as a primary therapist working with the child. Working alongside speech therapy naturally promotes a therapy ‘checks and balances’ by encouraging me to step back and see the whole picture. It is eye opening to hear another viewpoint on a case. Discussing the our own interpretation of the case, then problemsolving, and collaborating together allows us to create the most effecive plan of care that is individualized to meet each clients needs.
- Contributes To A Holistic Approach To Therapy:
- Our mission is to support children and their families as best we can. Working together with speech therapists allow us to look at the whole child, identify areas of challenge, and truly help each child reach their optimal potential.