sayit SLP Services

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A big update

I've been working hard on updating my website with a new look and new information about my practice! I'm hoping it reflects well what I'm intending to offer my clients. The big change for me is an increased emphasis on neurodiversity-affirming services, which means speech therapy that is accepting and celebrating neurodivergent brains!

This learning and this work is so important to me and close to my heart, especially the area of ADHD support. Please bear with me as I work out the issues that come along with any website update and I hope to have my practice back up and running in the coming months. I'm looking forward to FINALLY working with clients once again, and supporting children in our community.

Hiatus

Hello. So, the last few weeks have been... unexpected. We are in the midst of a global pandemic, school is closed indefinitely, and I have found myself on 100% of the time with my three kids who were suddenly home for 2 weeks of spring break (and evidently beyond) with cancelled camps and no playdates allowed. Sometimes I forget this is all happening — literally all over the world — and just go about making lunch or whatever, then it hits me that everything is upside down and we have a very different "new normal" to adjust to. It's heartbreaking and scary and strange.

This all is to say, I've made the tough decision to suspend my SLP practice and go on an indefinite hiatus until things return to.... normal, I guess. If that's what will eventually happen. It's all very tough to predict, but we are taking it week by week. This is the last week of spring break and we are beginning to gear up for learning at home together. We've made schedule visuals, a plan for our morning routine, tables set up in various places for quiet work, and today we moved a bookshelf into a more accessible area and loaded it up as our "library" — all this novelty has got the kids keen, which is something I'm grateful for; they're not dreading returning to school because it all feels new and fun to plan to learn together at home. I hope that lasts more than a day, I really do.

I will miss my work and my clients; it's hard to just let go unexpectedly in the middle of working with someone so closely, and I recognize it's disruptive to others that I've had to step back. I wish it wasn't the case but I simply won't have enough time to continue seeing clients, even through telepractice, with my kids around all day every day. If anyone reading this is looking for someone new to see their child (probably via telepractice, at the moment), please check out www.vislp.ca for a directory of private SLPs in Victoria who may still be accepting new clients.

Wish me luck with my three little people. Stay healthy. Wash your hands. Practice social/physical distancing. And stay home! Because the sooner we're in, the sooner we're out.

Featured in Island Parent Magazine

Hey look! The wonderful Laura Trunkey took the information I shared on ADHD and executive functioning in my October 2019 viral Twitter thread and went and wrote her monthly Island Parent column on it! I'm really excited that parents in my community will be able to access this information and maybe even put into place some helpful strategies such as getting their children to "match the picture" or seeking to find an example of what "done" looks like to help kids with task planning and execution. And in all honesty, all kids can benefit from these strategies, not just those with ADHD, ASD or any other challenge with executive functioning skills. I hope more parents and teachers can add these strategies to their tool belts and feel empowered to help the kids who might otherwise get stuck or spin out/act out.

I feel very honoured Laura chose to write about this and that she did such a wonderful job explaining it. Thank you, Laura!

Happy New Year

Well, January is nearly over but Happy New Year nonetheless!

This new year I'm in an interesting phase of my practice where a good chunk of my caseload has been paused temporarily (people are in a "wait and see" phase, or taking a few weeks to have therapy sessions at public health, and will be returning for sessions with me once that's wrapped up) and I was just thinking about how I enjoy the ebb and flow of solo private practice. Right now, this pause gives me a little more time to attend to some family happenings, which is great timing for me at the moment because family things are happening!

I've also been able to work on some upcoming projects that I'm really excited about.

One is I'll be presenting in April 2020 about early childhood speech and language development for the Southern Vancouver Island Family Child Care Association! I'm writing this presentation from scratch so I've got lots to do, but thankfully also lots of time.

The other project is a presentation for my kids' school about the executive functioning strategies I learned from Sarah Ward (Cognitive Connections), which I'm preparing with a wonderful OT colleague (and fellow school parent). I'm also really excited about this because it means concrete, practical strategies for teachers to put into practice right away.

I love having a mixture of different ways of working; I think it satisfies my need for novelty to have a couple of projects in the mix that aren't direct client time and that put my brain to work in new ways.

For those wondering, I will be looking at my wait list in February and possibly seeing a new little person or two then. But for now I'm grateful for a little downtime to keep on top of things at home and for some new work opportunities to stretch myself a little.

Bubbles!

Bubbles. Let me count the ways (I use them). Bubbles basically live in the bottom of my therapy bags and don't ever get put away, because everyone under age 5 is gonna be happy with bubbles and they are a great emergency activity if a session is going off the rails! Here are some different ways I use bubbles to work on speech and language therapy goals for my little clients. I use bubbles to target:

  • Lip closure for the /p/ sound in "pop!"
  • Two-syllable words like "buhbuh!" or "bubbos!"
  • Requesting "more" with a single word or sign
  • Body part vocabulary (e.g., Pop the bubbles with your elbow! Now with your feet!)
  • Prepositions — deciding where to blow the bubbles (e.g., in the bucket, under the chair, on the table, etc.)
  • Present progressive -ing verbs — we use different actions to pop the bubbles (e.g., stomping, clapping, poking, waving, punching, etc.)
  • Past tense verbs (e.g., What happened? It popped!)
  • Turn taking (this sets an early foundation for the back-and-forth of conversation)
  • Pronouns (e.g., my turn, your turn, her turn, etc.)

Bubbles can also be a great way to break up the work of a session (and trust me, while my job may look like playing, my clients are working hard at things that don't always come easily; making brand new brain connections is effortful!). They can also be a valuable tool to help with transitions. Here are some ways bubbles help me have a successful session:

  • Bubble break: If effort is high or enthusiasm is waning, simply taking 3-4 quick turns blowing and popping bubbles helps immensely in getting back on track.
  • Bubble reward: While I don't generally use classic reward systems, some kids really respond well to a structured pattern of doing 3-5 attempts at or repetitions of a skill then getting a very quick turn with the bubbles before the next few attempts.
  • Bubbles for movers: Many toddlers need to move to stay with me, attention-wise. They need to jump up, bounce around, or full-on run across the living room to be able to attend to the next activity. Blowing a huge ton of bubbles and having them pop them as fast as they can is a great way to work movement into a session. So is running while dragging the bubble wand to let the air blow the bubbles for us. The point is to make it fun, quick, and a helpful/regulating strategy that keeps us focused together on our work.
  • Goodbye bubbles: Sometimes my clients are sad to know that I am packing up my bag of fun things and heading out! They just want to play with one more toy or do one more game and, sadly, our time is up. I've had great success helping them transition to saying goodbye by setting up a routine where, at the end of every session, we each get a turn to blow bubbles once I'm standing outside the front door. Just a quick "My turn! Now your turn!" and then I quickly slip the bubbles back into my packed bag and a happy goodbye follows easily.

How do you like to use bubbles in your sessions or with your own child? I'm always looking for new ideas for this versatile toy and I'm sure there are almost limitless variations on how to use them in speech therapy and beyond.

view previous posts:
  1. 2022
  2. 2020
  3. 2019
  4. 2018
  5. 2017

Concerned about your child's communication?

Call Jana O'Connor @ 250-588-8747 for a free phone consultation.

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Jana O'Connor, RSLP, is an active member of the following professional organizations:

and a licensed registrant of the College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals of BC.