My Notepad

Dear SLP,

Can I tell you something? If you’re quietly recognizing that your therapy materials could use a bit of a change to be more meaningful or relevant with the adults you treat… but maybe you’re afraid to say something, or ask how…. I just want to let you know that I’ve been there.

I’ve been in countless sessions where I KNEW without a doubt that my therapy tasks were boring. Unrelated to someone’s life. Making the person I was working with mad. Justifying “What does this have to do with anything?” but secretly wondering what it did have to do with anything.

Today I want to give you some encouragement and let you know that it IS possible to switch over to a person-centered approach (acute care, inpatient rehab, home health, outpatient therapy, SNF, LTC… I’m talking to YOU!). It doesn’t have to be complicated.

Let’s start at the very beginning. When we want to work on meaningful goals in language or cognitive therapy, we can set the tone and start this plan on the day of the assessment. We need to do this by making sure our assessment is focused on DISCOVERING FUNCTIONAL NEEDS.

Over the past several weeks, I’ve talked about the practical tools you can use to discover functional needs in your assessment:

-Discovering Functional Needs through Setting-specific checklists

-Discovering Functional Needs through Observation of everyday activities

-Using Motivational Interviewing communication style to help elicit needs and a motivation for change

-Using Person-Centered Outcomes to discover needs and quantify participation with those needs

-Using Standardized tests that give you better information about activity and participation

It’s my hope that this series gave you practical tips and tools that you can actually use in your busy settings. I hope you learned something! I hope you’ve been able to start trying some of the ideas we’ve talked about. And most of all, I hope your therapy is starting to be transformed as you get a taste of how satisfying speech therapy can be when you and your patient work together to meet real life needs.

If you’d like to learn more about a “next step”, consider learning about: Writing Functional Goals.

Once your assessment and goal-setting is pointing you in the right direction, use personally-relevant vocabulary or contexts with an evidence-based intervention (For Language: Script Training, CART, RET, VNeST, SFA, Conversation Partner Training. For Cognition: Goal Management Training, Step-By-Step Activities, External Cognitive or Language Supports, Spaced Retrieval).

Next, you can try using those language or cognitive skills within real-life contexts in therapy – to practice participation, improve confidence, and determine if you need any environmental changes or supports (Home Sweet Home Topics, Back To Work Topics, Med Management, Cooking)

You are well on your way and it IS possible. I’d love to hear your thoughts or questions! You can always email me: [email protected]

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