@WeSpeechies 1-hour hashtag CHATS


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Special #COVID19 and Clinical Placements Event for #WeSpeechies, #SLP2b and #SLT2B

@WeSpeechies Curator: Bronwyn Hemsley @BronwynHemsley : Bio | Slideshare

#WeSpeechies Chat #131 Tues 3 November, 2020 8:00 pm AEDT (Australian Eastern Daylight Time)


Shoring Up Our Profession During #COVID19—
How have #SLP2B, #SLT2B and @WeSpeechies Experienced Clinical Placements in a Pandemic?

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has impacted on SLP/SLTs' practice worldwide, just as it has affected allied health services, clients, and our #SLP2B and #SLT2B students. When a range of restrictions including physical distancing were progressively or suddenly applied, student placements were variously paused, cancelled, or transferred to online tele-practice and tele-supervision, in moves designed to ensure the continued training of the up-and-coming members of our profession. Universities and clinical placement sites alike struggled to find ways to ensure the availibility of continued placements, in the difficult context of a pandemic. Meanwhile, the pandemic placed, and places great strain on health services, childcare centres, and schools, reducing opportunity and capacity to provide supervision for whole cohorts of SLP/SLT students. In some situations, SLP/SLT services were seen as vital, and in others not, and on a ‘case by case’ basis or else ‘blanket rule’, individual or group by group placements were lost.

Universities and students rapidly moved to shore up available placements, moving supervision online, and commencing or strengthening telepractice services. In the shock of #COVID19, @WeSpeechies switched on to #COVID19SLP and our profession was quick and willing to share resources, including:

  • information about SLP/SLT roles
  • resources to assist with communication
  • discussion of how we would manage in the workplace, since much of our work involves ‘aerosol generating procedures’.

This resulted in:

  • a surge in the development of multimodal communication tools that helped the general population through new types of interactions wearing masks
  • redeployment of clinicians and students alike to COVID19 testing stations helped to ensure testing rates could keep up with the public health demand
  • professional associations (e.g., ASHA, IASLT, NZSTA, RCSLT, SAC-OAC, Speech Pathology Australia) developing clinical guidance documents to help SLPs/SLTs manage and make decisions about service provision, along with student clinical education.

In the 9-to-10 months since wide ranging restrictions began rolling out around the world, our SLP/SLT students (SLP2B and SLT2B in Twitter parlance) have kept on learning, and continued moving through their courses. But what has this been like for them, and SLP/SLT supervising clinicians? What’s it been like for the Universities, seeking on the one hand not to impact a stressed system, but also aiming to ensure that students could progress through their courses with the end goal of achieving their qualifications?

If we can better understand what #COVID19 placements have been like for students and clinical educators, along with University placement co-ordinators, we will be able to shore up our profession through building capacity in its educators and students through COVID19 in 2021.

The questions for this #WeSpeechies chat are framed so that students, clinical educators and University staff can all feel comfortable with answering from their perspectives, acknowledging that this might be in the ‘first person’ and a personal account, or ‘about’ the parties being discussed. While we cannot speak on behalf of another person, we may provide insights from our experience which help to shed light on the answer, ultimately and hopefully to benefit all parties.



Q1: During #COVID19, what have clinical placements been like for our #SLP2Bs #SLT2Bs around the world?  #WeSpeechies #Covid19SLP

Q2: What impact has #COVID19 had on clinical supervisors/educators in relation to student placements? #WeSpeechies #Covid19SLP

Q3: Have you used #Telepractice and/or #Telesupervision in #COVID19 for student supervision? #WeSpeechies #Covid19SLP

Q4: What has been most helpful for new or established clinical educators in taking students during #COVID19? #WeSpeechies #Covid19SLP

Chat concludes

Please do participate in this special event, even if you are a newcomer to Twitter or new to Twitter chats. During the chat, tag your tweets with #WeSpeechies and #COVID19SLP, bearing in mind that hashtags are not case sensitive. Also, remember that when you tweet, you need a space before and after a hashtag such as #WeSpeechies, and before and after a Twitter handle such as @WeSpeechies.


@WeSpeechies Special Event for #DevLangDis Awareness Month, October 2020

@WeSpeechies Curator: Bronwyn Hemsley @BronwynHemsley : Bio | Slideshare

#WeSpeechies Chat #130 Tues 27 October, 2020 8:00 pm AEDT (Australian Eastern Daylight Time)


Social Media and Children and Young People with Developmental Language Disorder: A Clinical Forum

  • Why are we so quiet on the issue of social media use by children and young people (CYP) with developmental language disorder (#DevLangDis)?
  • Is it because we’re mindful of the increased vulnerability of this group, and the dangers of social media, to the point of limiting our attention to this area of practice?
  • Could this have a long term detrimental impact on our clients with #DevLangDis, failing to meet their needs in terms of social media goals for safe and enjoyable use?

Both qualified clinicians and students in the field of speech language pathology / speech and language therapy (SLP/SLT) are increasingly encouraged to use social media

  • For preparation for professional networking and development;
  • To listen to the voices of people with communication disability;
  • To be aware of their social media use and goals.

There is now a relatively large body of literature on the use of social media by people with communication disability, related to cerebral palsy, motor neurone disease, intellectual disability, and traumatic brain injury, and studies that includie children and young people (CYP) with communication and cognitive disability (Buchholz, Fern & Holmgren, 2018).

Rarely does the conversation about increased attention to social media goals in the field of SLP/SLT extend to supporting the social media skills and safety of children and young people with developmental language disorder. This group is potentially at an increased risk of harm associated with using social media, because, on the one hand they have ample access and opportunity to use it, while on the other hand their DLD means they are less likely to access its benefits.

While there is little evidence available to answer critical questions about the benefits and harms of social media use by children and young people in general (House of Commons, 2019), it is recognised that while a little social media may be good, too much can be harmful to mental health (OECD, 2018). The increased risk to mental health associated with extended periods of social media use is well-recognised, and there is a range of resources designed to prevent harms. These are aimed at both children (eSafety Commissioner, 2020a) and their parents (eSafety Commissioner, 2020b).

A growing number of resources that raise awareness and provide guidance for supporting children and young people with developmental language disorder is also available.  For example:

However, there are few resources and little guidance provided to SLPs/SLTs, parents, or children and young people with developmental language disorder specifically on their use of social media.

This chat is designed to open up the conversation about #DevLangDis and social media, and to gather clinical knowledge and experiences so as to identify what might help this group access (a) the benefits and avoid the harms of social media, and (b) the same information as is provided to other children and young people without developmental language disorder.



Q1 What might make children and young people (CYP) with DLD a more vulnerable group in social media than other CYP? #DevLangDis #WeSpeechies

Q2 What might help develop and strengthen the social media skills in children and young people with DLD? #DevLangDis #WeSpeechies

Q3 What might be some common social media goals for CYP with DLD who want to use social media more to engage with their peers? #DevLangDis #WeSpeechies

Q4 What resources and tips could be included in programs working on safe social media skills for children and young people with DLD? #DevLangDis #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

Please do participate in this special event, tagging your tweets with #WeSpeechies and #DevLangDis
(and #DLDSeeMe if it is not going to chew up too many of your precious characters!).

@WeSpeechies Curator: Holly Storkel @hstorkel | Bio

Topic: Considering the impacts of word characteristics on language learning:
‘word frequency’, ‘neighbourhood density’, and ‘phonotactic probability’

#WeSpeechies Chat #129 Tues 14 November, 2017 1:00 pm CST (US Central Standard Time)


Children simultaneously acquire the words of the language with other aspects of language (phonology, sentence structure). This makes it possible for growth in vocabulary, and the structure of vocabulary, to influence growth in other aspects of language and vice-versa. One way to examine this interaction is to investigate how characteristics of words influence other aspects of language, either during typical language acquisition or during clinical treatment.

This week, we will focus on three characteristics of words: word frequency, neighbourhood density, and phonotactic probability.

  • Word frequency refers to the number of times a word occurs in a language with some words occurring very often (e.g., “these”) and others occurring infrequently (e.g., “sit”).
  • Neighborhood density refers to the number of words that are phonologically similar to a given word, with “phonologically similar” typically being defined as a difference of one sound. For example, neighbors of “cat” would include: “bat, cot, cap, scat, at.” Some words have many neighbors (e.g., “sit’) and are said to reside in high density neighborhoods with many phonologically similar counterparts. In contrast, other words have few neighbors (e.g., “these”) and are said to reside in low density neighborhoods with few phonologically similar counterparts.
  • Phonotactic probability is closely related to but distinct from neighborhood density. Phonotactic probability is the likelihood of occurrence of a sound sequence in a language. For example, the first two sounds in “these” occur rarely in English, whereas the first two sounds in “sit” are more common. Words in high density neighborhoods tend to be composed of common sound sequences. In complement, words in low density neighborhoods tend to be composed of rare sound sequences.

Join in on the @WeSpeechies discussions this week, to find out more about the impact of these characteristics have on language acquisition and treatment, and on clinical practice.



Q1 What resources do you use in relation to: word frequency, density, and probability? #WeSpeechies

Q2 How are you currently using word frequency, density, and probability in clinical practice (or research)? #WeSpeechies

Q3 What are some challenges in using word frequency, density, and probability in clinical practice (or research)? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What do youconsider important in selecting words for assessment, treatment, AAC design or research? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes


@WeSpeechies Curator: Speech Pathology Australia @SpeechPathAus | About
Gaenor Dixon and Michael Kerrisk Tweeting

Topic: Championing literacy through the Speech Pathology Australia ‘Book of the Year Awards’

#WeSpeechies Chat #128 Tues 31 October, 2017 7:00pm AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time)


Since 2013, Speech Pathology Australia has conducted its annual ‘Book of the Year Awards’. The Awards (a) recognize that SLPs/SLTs understand the strong link between speaking, understanding words, and reading; (b) promote quality Australian children’s literature as a literacy tool; (c) raise awareness of the role that SLPs/SLTs play in helping children develop language and literacy skills; and (d) champion a love of learning from books.

The Book Awards celebrate ‘best book’ for language and literacy development in 5 categories: 0-3 years, 3-5 years, 5-8 years, 8-10 years, and Indigenous children. The Book Award for Indigenous children is vital, because only ~ 25% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) Year 5 students in very remote areas are at or above national minimal reading standards, compared to 91% of their non-indigenous Year 5 student peers.

Literacy is based on good oral language skills. The Book of the Year Awards aim to highlight quality Australian books that help children get the best start in life. Learning to read and write is a crucial part of a child’s development. Reading and writing are essential skills for adults. Reading for pleasure makes a big difference to children’s educational performance.

On @WeSpeechies, this week @SpeechPathAus (with @SPApresident and @anACTbloke tweeting) will have ample opportunity to explore not only literacy and communication, but also wider issues relating to literacy, including the theme of UNECSO International Literacy Day in 2017 of ‘Literacy in a Digital World’.

Make sure to take part in our discussions over the week, which will centre on:

  • What is literacy, and how do you recognize if someone has ‘early’ levels of literacy?
  • Is literacy just about ‘better education’?
  • Who should take the lead on literacy?
  • What makes for a good children’s book?
  • Are social media changing what we understand ‘literacy’ to be?
  • Is the term ‘literacy’ over-used to refer to ‘skills’ (e.g., digital literacy)?
  • Are pictures really worth a thousand words?



Q1 How can #WeSpeechies better explain the connection between ‘#literacy’ and ‘language learning’ to parents/teachers/others?

Q2 How could #WeSpeechies respond to our rapidly expanding ‘digital world’ in relation to ‘#literacy’ and ‘language learning’?

Q3 What features are important in ‘a really good book’ for children, in terms of learning #literacy and language? #WeSpeechies

Q4  How do SLPs/SLTs currently engage with all key stakeholders to improve #literacy levels for everyone? Could #WeSpeechies do more?

Chat concludes

@WeSpeechies Curator: Tom Sather @TomSatherSLP | Bio

Topic: Using Twitter to Connect New Aphasia Clinicians: Acute Care, Rehabilitation, and Beyond

#WeSpeechies Chat #127 Tues 24 October, 2017 8:00pm CDT (US Central Daylight Time) 



Student SLTs/SLPs and early "aphasia clinicians" face unique challenges in their pursuit of gathering experience, increasing expertise, and balancing perceptions of feeling overwhelmed and insecure about their own clinical services. Seasoned clinicians may also have many of these same perceptions. This week, Tom will explore how SLPs/SLTs may improve their communication skills with individuals with aphasia. How do SLPs/SLTs gain and enhance their experiences in working with people with aphasia? Do @WeSpeechies use strategies and guidance for applying the WHO-ICF framework to aphasia rehabilitation across the patient’s journey? Do we effectively implement new research into our aphasia services, and how do we stay on top of the mass of information available?

This week, we will discuss these challenges and perceptions from the viewpoints of student SLPs/SLTs (#SLP2B) as well as clinicians at any career stage. Throughout the week, Tom will share thoughts from internationally recognized aphasiologists (i.e., clinicians and researchers with extensive experience and expertise working with individuals with aphasia) who reflect on their early work with individuals with aphasia, experiences that shaped them as clinicians, and guidance for others in the field. Together, @WeSpeechies and #SLP2B #SLT2B students will share ideas and crowdsource potential strategies, solutions and facilitators to the pressing challenges that both student and early-career clinicians face.


For clarity of communication, @WeSpeechies request that tweeters limit the use of acronyms as not all audiences know the meaning of the acronym, and acronyms mean different things to different people. Also, tweeters are advised that this week, use of the acronym ‘PWA’ to refer to a ‘person with aphasia’ or ‘people with aphasia’ is offensive to some people with aphasia, and offensive to some clinicians. As such, tweeters are advised to use their own discretion in applying the acronym PWA to tweets, and also to apply advanced Twitter skills to avoid referring to people with aphasia as PWA wherever possible. Also note that the term ‘an Aphasic’ or "Aphasics" (as a shortened form of "person with aphasia") is unacceptable.

Other ways of managing the Twitter 140 limit while keeping communication open, inclusive, and respectful are to:

(a) use the hashtag #SLP2B or #SLT2B if referring to students (as applicable in your country);

(b) use #WeSpeechies or #SLPeeps or SLP/T in the tweet to refer to SLPs/SLTs at any career stage;

(c) reduce redundancy in the tweet, without reducing grammatical content that makes meaning clear;

(d) use ‘threading of tweets’ which are ‘to reply to yourself’. ‘Threading’ connects a number of your tweets together in a reply format so all can read your full thoughts on a topic. There is no limit to the number of tweets that you can send in reply to a person’s tweet or in a thread. If you wish to make a thread, simply write a tweet and tag it with #WeSpeechies, then reply to it, and reply to the next, and reply to the next, until you are done. That way Tom and all of the audience following the #WeSpeechies tag will be able to read the tweets together.



Q1 What are some good experiences you’ve had as a student or instructor embedding #Aphasia content in #SLP2B #SLT2B curriculum? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What guidance helps students and clinicians to better understand the lived experience of people with #Aphasia? #WeSpeechies

Q3 #WeSpeechies What roles might social media have in Aphasia rehabilitation for students, clinicians and people with #Aphasia?

Q4 How does current research inform your #Aphasia therapy services or classes, & how do you stay up to date with new research? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

@WeSpeechies Curator: Sarah Wallace @SarahJWallace | Bio

Topic: Aphasia outcomes: What to measure and how to measure it

#WeSpeechies Chat #126 Tues 17 October, 2017 8:00pm AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time)


Capturing and measuring meaningful outcomes in aphasia rehabilitation is an important challenge.

In clinical practice, SLPs/SLTs measure outcomes to demonstrate the value and impact of their work. In research, outcome measures are used to draw conclusions regarding the effectiveness of an intervention. In both research and practice, our ability to demonstrate the value and impact of aphasia rehabilitation hinges on the outcomes we measure and the tools we use to measure them.

This week on @WeSpeechies, @SarahJWallace will discuss the types of outcomes that are of interest to people with aphasia, their family members and supporters, and the health professionals who work with them. She will also present information and tips on ways to explore meaningful outcomes for people with aphasia and their families, and ways that aphasia teams can better support the identification of ‘measures’ that do justice to these outcomes and improve the lives of people with aphasia. How can the measurement of the desired outcomes inform future therapy, and what measures are important in relation to aphasia research?

During this week, we invite people with aphasia and their families, and clinicians working with them to share more about ‘What’ they measure and ‘How’ they measure it - and ‘When’ it is important to reconsider goals to better meet the desired outcomes.



Q1 From your perspective as an SLP/SLT or person with aphasia/family member, what are good outcomes for people with #Aphasia? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What do you consider important when choosing an outcome measure for #Aphasia therapy? #WeSpeechies

Q3 What are the most difficult outcomes to measure in terms of #Aphasia? Have you found a way to measure these? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What support, knowledge, skills, or resources would help to better measure outcomes for people with #Aphasia? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

@WeSpeechies Curator: @BronwynHemsley and @HazelRoddam1 | Bios

Topic: Using Twitter to help close the research-to-knowledge-to-practice gap in SLP/SLT worldwide: @WeSpeechies and #ResNetSLT join forces

#WeSpeechies Chat #125 Tues 10 October 2017 10:00am - 11:00am BST (British Summer Time)


Experienced SLP/SLT tweeters often report not being confident in using Twitter, or being ‘the only one’ in their department to have embraced Twitter as a useful method of exchanging critical information.

In the UK, the chat tag #ResNetSLT was launched to promote increased awareness and implementation of the research evidence-base by SLP/SLT practitioners. Through hosting themed discussions on applied clinical research papers, #ResNetSLT aims to support SLPs/SLTs to gain more confidence in understanding research design issues and the principles of evidence-based practice.

The chat tag #WeSpeechies is used to focus on a specific topic for a week, involving a different curator each week. Both #ResNetSLT and #WeSpeechies provide opportunities for SLPs/SLTs to take up ‘advanced tweeting’ skills, and at the same time encourage many more SLPs/SLTs to make that leap from ‘lurker’ to ‘tweeter’.

This week the one-hour chat uses the #ResNetSLT tag, and several tweets will also sport the #WeSpeechies tag, to ensure the conversation can be seen in both hashtag communities.


#ResNetSLT - Research Support Network
Note that hashtags are not case-sensitive: #ResNetSLT, #resnetslt, #ReSnEtSLt, etc all 'work'.



Q1 Tweeting at work is tough, and tweeting at home can be hard. How do YOU balance your ‘work-life-tweeting’? #ResNetSLT

Q2 Does the info you find in Twitter stick? What makes you notice it? How can we better promote ‘gems’ of critical information? #ResNetSLT

Q3 What kind of thing do you discover through Twitter – and from whom - that ultimately change your practice? #ResNetSLT

Q4 How do you help yourself (or others) to advance in Twitter skills, get more confident, and use Twitter to make a difference? #ResNetSLT

Chat concludes

@WeSpeechies Curator: Courtenay Norbury @LilacCourt | Bio

Topic: Developmental Language Disorder: What next, for research and practice?

#WeSpeechies Chat #124 Tues 19 Sept, 2017 9:00pm - 10:00pm British Summer Time BST


September 22, 2017 is Developmental Language Disorder Day (#DLD123 day), to raise awareness of developmental language disorder and its impacts. I am also launching a special issue of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry that day, devoted to the current state of the art in Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) research. There are a few consistent themes emerging from this issue:

  1.  Language disorders are persistent from school entry.
  2. Rate of language progress is similar across the range of (children's) abilities, at least in primary school.
  3. Language skills can improve in response to treatment, but this requires consistent input for an extended period, and treatment gains are modest – there is no "quick fix".
  4. Many children with language disorders are not being identified or treated – these children are at increased risk of presenting later in child and adolescent mental health clinics, youth offending, or as victims of abuse/crime.

With this in mind, I’m interested in exploring when in development we should prioritise intervention, and what a successful outcome would be. I’m also keen to know from practitioners what they think researchers should focus on.



Q1 What would ‘good outcome’ look like for children with Developmental Language Disorder (#DevLangDis)? #WeSpeechies

Q2 When are children with #DevLangDis particularly vulnerable if no support is in place? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Working with chn with #DevLangDis, how do you measure the impact of language intervention on other aspects of development? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What are your top research priorities for #DevLangDis? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

@WeSpeechies Curator: Bronwyn Hemsley @BronwynHemsley | Bio

Topic: Communication Access and Raising Awareness

#WeSpeechies Chat #123 August 22 2017 8:00pm - 9:00pm British Summer Time BST


VIDEO: Speech Pathology Week (in Ausralia) 2017 HASHTAG: #SPweek THEME: Communication Access HASHTAG: #CommAccess



Q1 #WeSpeechies What aspects of the PERSON with communication difficulty would you focus on, in raising awareness of #CommAccess?

Q2 #WeSpeechies What aspects of the COMMUNICATION PARTNER would you focus on, in raising awareness of #CommAccess?

Q3 #WeSpeechies What aspects of COMMUNICATION TOOLS and TECHNOLOGIES would you focus on, in raising awareness of #CommAccess?

Q4 #WeSpeechies What aspects of BELIEFS, ATTITUDES, PREFERENCES would you focus on, in raising awareness of #CommAccess?

Chat concludes

@WeSpeechies Curator: Suze Leitão @SuzeFreogirl | Bio

Topic: The craft and science of report writing: meeting the needs of diverse readers

#WeSpeechies Chat #122 August 15 2017, 3:00pm - 4:00pm Australian Western Standard Time AWST

SLP/SLT report writing is both simple and complex—we need to communicate the results of our assessments, and outline recommendations for taking this forward in the life of the person who is the subject of the report. Report writing usually occurs at the initial phase, and then periodically throughout the time that SLPs/SLTs are working with clients, and is needed for a variety of different audiences and for different purposes. A service might use report writing to communicate internally, and ensure good ‘handover’ of clients, and also, externally with the parties most engaged in the process of enacting funds or practices in relation to that client. Unsurprisingly, the thorny topic of report writing came up during the @wespeechies week on ‘Measurement in SLP/SLT’ (curated by @TimothyKittel, in July 2017). This generated much discussion, as clinicians from around the world reflected on the issues they commonly encounter in preparing reports to meet the needs of a range of readers in different and diverse audiences (e.g., parents, teachers, clients, professional colleagues, funding bodies, medical staff, the justice system). These issues include:

  • The need to balance plain English (or 'plain Language', whatever your language) with professional writing
  • The need to meet the background knowledge of differing readers
  • Difficulties reporting data and interpreting it in meaningful ways for differing readers
  • Perceived differences in what universities teach students about report writing versus what is needed in the workplace
  • The use, value, and limitations of ‘templates’ for reports
  • Workplace rules or guidelines regarding the length, content and format of reports

Because SLP/SLT is a 'communicating profession', clinical writing could be expected to be an easier task for SLPs/SLTs—yet anecdotal evidence tells a different story. This week is an opportunity for us to share tips, ideas and resources on writing reports that really do communicate with our intended audiences, for improved client and service outcomes. I look forward to sharing and learning throughout the week and during the Tuesday chat.




Q1 What do you find most challenging when writing client reports? Does this change for different audiences? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What do you or your workplace do that works well in terms of report writing? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Do you draw on frameworks (e.g., the ICF) or templates to structure your reports? Which ones,  #WeSpeechies?

Q4 What useful clinical report writing strategies, tips, resources, or links can you share with other #WeSpeechies?

Chat concludes

August 6 - August 12  2017

@WeSpeechies Curator: Charlotte Forwood @Talking Ed19 | Bio

Topic: Navigating transitions: Focusing on adolescents and young adults

#WeSpeechies Chat #121 August 8, 8:00-9:00pm Australian Eastern Standard Time AEST

There are many transition points in people’s lives. For school students, there are the yearly transitions from one class to another. As students move through secondary school there may be more regular transitions between semesters. In some countries, including Australia, it is not uncommon to have a separate Year 9 campus or middle years’ campuses. Moving from formal schooling to work or further education also poses considerable challenges for many students. This week’s topic will explore some of the transitions adolescents and young adults must navigate, how they can be supported, what still needs to be considered, and the role of the SLP/SLT in easing transition.




Q1 #WeSpeechies What are some of the transitions that adolescents (emerging young adults) must navigate in their schooling?

Q2 #WeSpeechies Self-determination underpins successful transition – what issues arise for adolescent clients with communication difficulty?

Q3 #WeSpeechies How can educational teams and families support adolescents and young adults in these transitions?

Q4 #WeSpeechies What else do can we do as SLPs/SLTs to support adolescents and young adults to navigate transitions successfully?

Chat concludes

July 9 - July 15 2017

@WeSpeechies Curator: Tim Kittel @TimothyKittel | Bio

Topic: Measurement in SLP/SLT

#WeSpeechies Chat #120 July 11, 6:30-7:30pm ACST

Time Zone: Australian Central Standard Time ACST | YOUR TIME ZONE

Hi again! Ok, so when I read a journal article about developmental language disorder, the very first thing I do is look at how the researcher defined this term. I can’t help it, it’s the first thing I read. What measures did they take? Do I agree with this as being how I’d define the term? What clients do I have are are appropriate in terms of use of this measurement, and will this methodology be something I can replicate?

It’s tricky. Is less than one standard deviation on certain assessments enough to constitute ‘language disorder’? Should it be one and a half deviations? Two? Whenever someone in our profession makes a decision, it seems that there will always be a group standing back, fingers on chin, wondering if this is exactly the right place. And that’s great: we need to question one another to make sure that research is valid and carries through into practice with fidelity. But we tend to vary on what constitutes a ‘valid’ measurement, and what constitutes ‘fidelity’ in terms of adapting to individuals who do not quite meet the desired pre-defined criteria for inclusion in related studies,

This measurement ‘stuff’ affects speech and language clinicians too. On a daily basis, we’re asked to make a call on diagnosis, prognosis, and eligibility or priorities for services. One aspect of my work is to take the most complex being (a real live child and their family!) in front of me, and through my observations and measurements, arrive at a reasonable hypothesis as to what, if anything, is causing an impairment or functional difficulty; and then what I can do that will help out. The most challenging thing for me is to explain to parents precisely what it is I’ve measured, why I selected those tools, and why I’m now offering this range of therapeutic options.

Please join me this week for a discussion on measurement and hypothesis. Trust me, I’m no expert on this, but I would like to try and unravel what we use to measure all that’s involved in diagnosing communication disorders, or tracking outcomes, why we choose these tools, and how on Earth we’re sure we’ve got it right.




Q1 What factors must #WeSpeechies consider, in measuring or diagnosing communication disorders or aspects of developmental disorders?

Q2 How do #WeSpeechies choose which aspects of a certain communication or developmental disorder to measure or not to measure?

Q3 What challenges lie in using measurement for determining eligibility for services in your SLP/SLT practice? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What important elements in relation to diagnosis of specific disorders are difficult to measure? How do we respond to this? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

July 2 to July 8 2017

@WeSpeechies Curator: Stephen Parsons @WordAware | Bio

Topic: Teachers and SLPs/SLTs working together to Understand, Promote, and Support Children with Developmental Language Disorder

#WeSpeechies Chat #119 Tuesday 4 July, 2017, 9:00pm - 10:00pm BST (British Summer Time)

The daily classroom environment is important to children and young people with Developmental Language Disorder: DLD, or #DevLangDis. It presents many challenges to this client group, but also many opportunities to develop language, build relationships and learn literacy. Children and young people with #DevLangDis may have a range of needs, related to both language and wider learning needs. Their multiple needs frequently require teachers and SLPs/SLTs to work together.

Teachers may be classroom practitioners, Special Educational professionals, or specialists in language and communication. SLPs/SLTs may be occasional visitors to schools, or may be based in one school for a few days per week or even the whole week. Schools also vary, from specialist, to mainstream, to having specialist provisions within mainstream schools. These roles and settings create many opportunities for learning but also challenges for SLPs/SLTs and teachers alike. These challenges and potential ways of meeting these challenges will be explored this week. I am keen to have contributions from SLPs/SLTs, teachers, and parents, as collaboration makes several demands upon communication across diverse professions.

Wherever you are in the world - if you are an SLP/SLT who works with a teacher (or vice versa), then please invite them to join in.




Q1 #WeSpeechies What are the challenges of teachers and SLPs/SLTs working together to support students with #DevLangDis?

Q2 #WeSpeechies Can you share a success story of teachers and SLPs/SLTs working together to support students with #DevLangDis?

Q3 #WeSpeechies How do you approach collaboration if you are only visiting the school infrequently to work on #DevLangDis?

Q4 #WeSpeechies What are some ways of teachers and SLPs/SLTs working together to raise awareness of #DevLangDis?

Chat concludes

June 25 - July 1 2017

@WeSpeechies Curator: Tracie Lindblad @MonarchHouseON | Bio

Building Effective Collaborative Relationships among Parents, SLPs/SLTs, and Applied Behaviour Analysts: Working Together for Optimal Client Outcomes

#WeSpeechies Chat #118 Monday 27 June, 2017, 8:00pm EDT (Eastern Daylight Time)

In 2010, the World Health Organization released a Framework for Action on Interprofessional Education (IPE) and Interprofessional Collaborative Practice (ICP). This framework is to be adopted by health and education systems to improve outcomes. These systems include settings employing both behavior analysts (BAs) and speech-language pathologists (SLPs). Unfortunately, behaviour analysis and speech-language pathology training programs do not always include the critical components necessary for effective collaborative practice, and work settings might not facilitate collaboration effectively. It is important to talk about interprofessional practice to create more immediate change in our current practices, towards collaboration that supports inclusion.

Clinicians are frequently challenged with incorporating and implementing evidence-based strategies across professional disciplines and settings. Across disciplines, clinicians are challenged with the task of promoting and programming for the positive transfer and generalization of the skills taught across settings (i.e., School, Home, and Community) to achieve successful functional outcomes in the lives of the people receiving services, and their families. Implementing Interprofessional Collaborative Practice involves integrating the patient/client/person/family-centered team’s expertise and participation in the intervention while planning for generalization of the skills developed across disciplines, care providers, and settings (Interprofessional Education Collaborative Expert Panel, 2016). An interprofessional collaborative intervention model provides a way for clinicians to engage and develop the personal skills needed for effective collaboration (IPEC, 2016).

Interprofessional collaboration is an approach to learning that incorporates the skills of different disciplines. It strengthens and builds the community of service which is based on mutual respect for what each discipline brings to the process. However, effective collaboration among different stakeholders is sometimes affected by philosophical and theoretical differences, financial and/or environmental constraints, and time resources.

This week we’ll discuss some of the barriers to effective collaboration. As well as lack of role clarity, differences in (a) approaches to evidence-based practice, (b) access to, valuing, and implementation of scientific evidence, (c) evidence-based decision-making processes, (d) intensity of services, and (e) personal views and preferences of key stakeholders, can be significant barriers to collaborative practices.

What can make it work?

Careful planning, agreement on roles, and open discussion across disciplines is needed. People working together need to discuss and agree on scope of practice including consideration of skills and competencies for tasks/treatments. Keeping the client’s outcomes as the focus of all discussions can help the interprofessional team to work synergistically, collegially, and professionally.




Q1 What does interprofessional or transprofessional collaboration mean to you, and who do you collaborate with?  #WeSpeechies

Q2 SLPs/SLTs, have you ever worked with behaviour analysts? Or psychologists? What helps or hinders collaboration with them? #WeSpeechies

Q3 What do you think encourages interprofessional practice with other professionals/disciplines and parents? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What benefits have you seen through working collaboratively with other disciplines with any group (e.g., ASD, Aphasia, SSD). #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

June 11 - June 17

@WeSpeechies Curator: | @ProfRvach | Bio

#WeSpeechies Chat #117 Tuesday 13 June, 2017, 7:00pm EDT (Eastern Daylight Time)


Co-Occurrence of Developmental Phonological Disorders with Developmental Language Disorder

Developmental disorders often co-occur, in the same children and in the same families. One child may show symptoms simultaneously—or in series over developmental time—of one or more of communication disorders (e.g., developmental phonological disorder, stuttering, developmental language disorder, reading disability). The common co-occurrence of multiple communication disorders presents challenges for the way we think about the causes, risk profiles, and optimum treatment strategies for children who have these complex profiles.

During her week on @WeSpeechies, Susan will focus primarily but not exclusively on the co-occurrence of developmental phonological disorder (DPD) and developmental language disorder (DLD #DevLangDis).

Discussion during the week will consider the implications of explanatory models and the associated research evidence for clinical practice with children who have developmental difficulties in the speech and language domains. Are children with “isolated” speech errors fundamentally different from children who have speech errors and developmental language disorder? Should the treatment approach be different or similar for phonological versus language goals? Join in to consider these and many other issues in working with children with co-occurring conditions.




Q1 #WeSpeechies How much of your pediatric caseload consists of children with co-occurring developmental speech and language disorders?

Q2 #WeSpeechies How do you approach the clinical management of children with co-occurring developmental disorders? Any unresolved questions?

Q3 #WeSpeechies How could future research better support your clinical practice with children who have co-occurring developmental disorders?

Q4 #WeSpeechies What are some good strategies for efficiently managing a child’s co-occurring phonological and language disorders?

Chat concludes

June 4 - June 9, 2017

@WeSpeechies Curators: @PamelaSnow2 & @SpeechWoman as @TxChoices | Bio

Topic: Pseudoscience and SLP/SLT practice: Choosing clinical and classroom interventions with parents and teachers of children with developmental disorders

#WeSpeechies Chat #116, Tuesday 6 June, 2017, 8:00pm AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time)


Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) / Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) regularly encounter non-evidence-based ‘fad’ interventions from among the 170 or so that flourish in the practice areas of children speech, language, literacy, fluency, voice, communication, attention, cognition, working memory, behaviour and social connectedness. Aided and abetted by print and online media, and celebrity figures, they often arise from the Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) arena, which many professionally accredited allied health professionals will approach with caution. They also emanate, however, from apparently conservative and trustworthy sources including the fields of Education, Nutrition, Occupational Therapy, Psychology, and SLP/SLT itself.

It is usually clear to SLPs/SLTs why pseudoscientific interventions don't, won't or can’t work, and in some cases why they are dangerous. However, some of these interventions look like they could work. It can be difficult to guide parents, families, or clients towards safe interventions that are underpinned by published research evidence, strong theory and common sense, and that do not come with an ‘opportunity’ cost. By the same token, individual SLPs/SLTs or their close colleagues sometimes become caught up in dubious practices, raising serious ethical issues, and creating unfortunate workplace tensions.

Drawing on the experience of writing Bowen and Snow (2017), Caroline Bowen and Pamela Snow will guide this week’s discussions. They will outline an ‘information literacy framework’ that can be used to consider interventions more critically. Discussants can help us set the agenda and respectfully review and discuss a range of popular fad interventions within the information literacy framework. We will consider all angles - including the cognitive biases that sustain pseudoscientific interventions in our field; and reflect on the impact of pseudoscience on our own and other fields, and the people we strive to serve. We hope that in these discussions, SLPs/SLTs and SLP2Bs will be joined by colleagues from allied health, education, medicine, psychology, the public, and consumers of our services. Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) practitioners are also welcome to take part.


Bowen, C. & Snow, P. (2017). Making Sense of Interventions for Children with Developmental Disorders. Guildford: J&R Press.



Q1 Is your clinical or teaching practice impacted by a ‘fad intervention’ or pseudoscience, and if so, how? #WeSpeechies

Q2 When a client asks you if a CAM intervention or practitioner is 'legitimate' (evidence-based) how do you respond? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Are you comfortable explaining to a client/parent that a ‘fad’ intervention is non-evidence based, and how do you explain what you mean? #WeSpeechies

Q4 Are there moral and ethical implications for you if you turn a blind eye to a client's involvement in a ‘fad’ intervention? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

May 21 - May 27, 2017

@WeSpeechies Curator: David Kinnane @SpeechBloke | Bio

Topic: Legal and compliance challenges for SLPs/SLTs in private/independent practice (and how to manage them!)

#WeSpeechies Chat #115, Tuesday 23 May, 2017, 8:00pm AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time) 


SLPs/SLTs in private/independent practice are exposed to and challenged by a host of legal and compliance risks. These challenges are increasing with changing demographics, new models of service delivery, an increased emphasis on evidence-based practice, and advances in technology. In some places, a shift to market systems, private delivery of services, and an increasing reliance on casual employment and contracting arrangements also increase risks to private SLPs/SLTs. So, how do we make sense of it all?  Different countries regulate SLP/SLT services differently, but the elements of a good compliance system are universal. In this week’s chat, we will explore some ideas to build and implement quality compliance programs in private SLP/SLT services.    



Q1 What factors make it hard for SLPs/SLTs in private/independent practice to understand their legal & compliance obligations?  #WeSpeechies

Q2 How can #WeSpeechies find good information to build compliance systems? Do you know of any strategies, resources, or tips?

Q3 Given limited resources, how can SLPs/SLTs in private or independent practice develop high quality compliance systems? #WeSpeechies

Q4 How should speech pathologists in private practice update and test their compliance systems? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

May 7 - May 13, 2017

@WeSpeechies Curator: Melissa Brunner @LissBEE_CPSP | Bio

Topic: Information Communication Technologies (ICT) and Traumatic Brain Injury: Getting organised in SLP/SLT

#WeSpeechies Chat #114, Tuesday 9 May 2017, 8:00pm AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time)


People with cognitive-communication disability resulting from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) face significant challenges in accessing information independently and engaging effectively in social situations and networks. #WeSpeechies can play a significant role in assisting people with a TBI re-engage and communicate more effectively, so what is our role in using technology during rehabilitation?

As part of her PhD, Melissa’s recent review of the literature on Information Communication Technology (ICT) use in rehabilitation after TBI (Brunner et al., 2017) considered three major types of communication technologies: assistive technology (AT), augmentative and alternative communication technology (AAC), and information communication technology (ICT), and their use in cognitive-communication rehabilitation. Multiple factors influenced the use of technology in rehabilitation following TBI. These factors included the individual’s needs, motivations, and goals; the individual’s impairments, activities, participation, and environmental factors; and the type of technologies used. While there was considerable research relating to communication technologies and cognitive rehabilitation after TBI, very little research related specifically to the use of ICT in cognitive-communication rehabilitation. Also, very little is known about how people with cognitive-communication impairments after TBI use or experience digital communication and the internet, particularly using social media (Brunner et al. 2015). There is also limited clinical guidance available on the effective use of ICT to support cognitive-communication rehabilitation (Togher et al. 2014; CASLPO 2015). However, ICT can be used in rehabilitation to work on cognitive-communication goals, to facilitate practice in addition to ‘traditional’ rehabilitation, or indeed as a stand-alone intervention (Brunner et al., 2017).

Over this week on @WeSpeechies, we will talk about using technology in SLP/SLT, particularly in relation to its use during rehabilitation. What types of ICT have you used in rehabilitation and what happened? What influences your use of technology in rehabilitation - are there any factors that you consider routinely, is it based on the individual in front of you, the technology available, or is it a combination of these? Join in with our discussions over the week and share any information, tips, and strategies that you have found useful in this area of our role as #WeSpeechies in using technology in SLP/SLT rehabilitation, now and in the future.


Brunner M, et al., Technology and its role in rehabilitation for people with cognitive-communication disabilities following a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Brain Injury, 2017. In press.

Brunner M, et al., Review of the literature on the use of social media by people with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Disability and Rehabilitation, 2015. 37(17): p. 1511-1521. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/09638288.2015.1045992

College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario (CASLPO) (2015). Practice Standards and Guidelines for Acquired Cognitive Communication Disorders. College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario (CASLPO): Ontario, Canada. http://www.caslpo.com/sites/default/uploads/files/PSG_EN_Acquired_Cognitive_Communication_Disorders.pdf

Paterson H, The use of social media by adults with acquired conditions who use AAC: current gaps and considerations in research. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 2017. 33(1): p. 23-31http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07434618.2016.1275789

Togher L, et al., INCOG Recommendations for Management of Cognition Following Traumatic Brain Injury, Part IV: Cognitive Communication. The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 2014. 29(4): p. 353-368. http://journals.lww.com/headtraumarehab/Abstract/2014/07000/INCOG_Recommendations_for_Management_of_Cognition.8.aspx



Q1 What types of technology have you used in SLP/SLT rehabilitation? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What happened when you used technology in SLP/SLT rehabilitation? Any problems or wins? #WeSpeechies

Q3 What factors influence your use of technology in rehabilitation? Availability or ease of use? Patient preferences? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What is the role of SLP/SLTs in developing better technology to use in rehabilitation? How can we get things moving ahead? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

April 30 - May 6 2017

@WeSpeechies Curator: Holly Shapiro @RaviniaReading | Bio

Topic: The Evidence is in the Language: Morphology Driven Reading Instruction

#WeSpeechies Chat #113, Monday 1 May 2017, 9:00pm CDT (Central Daylight Time)


Many people interested in reading instruction point to the evidence base supporting phonics instruction to improve reading. However, the tide is changing and sands are shifting, as study after study demonstrates the greater benefits of instruction driven by morphology rather than by phonology. I am a speech-language pathologist  and have developed a program for teaching students to spell and read that is empirically and theoretically sound. In challenging the conventional wisdom of approaches driven by phonology, my practice has demonstrated the enormous benefits of teaching written language as a system driven by morphology and etymology. In the program, morphology and etymology ‘rule the sandbox’, while graphemes and phonemes play along within the constraints set by the ‘big shots’.

Regarding empirical support, here's my favorite: Devonshire, Morris, and Fluck (2013) randomly assigned  one hundred and twenty 5 to 7 year olds to either a traditional phonics intervention followed by a morphology driven intervention or to a morphology driven intervention followed by traditional phonics.  (Year 8The researchers found that making children aware of the way the English writing system works, in terms of all levels of representation, improved their reading and spelling” (p. 94) over and above the phonics condition. They concluded that “in addition to teaching morphology, children should be taught etymology, and rules about form, from the beginning of their formal literacy education, from the age of five years.” (p.94).

But it’s important not to stop at individual studies - Thereare also several larger scale reviews of the evidence, all in support of including morphology in reading instruction, including:

Reed (2008) narratively reviewed intervention studies and provided a description of effect sizes on word identification, spelling and vocabulary. She found positive effects for morphological awareness instruction, with the strongest effects for students with literacy difficulties.

Wolter (2009) conducted a systematic review to help speech-language pathologists make evidence-based decisions regarding literacy instruction. Wolter’s review of 13 studies concluded that morphological awareness benefits literacy development in children with and without LD as young as second grade and as advanced as seventh grade (Year 8 in Australia, New Zealand and the UK). The evidence further supported giving students opportunities to practice new skills in the context of actual reading and writing.

Bowers, Kirby, and Deacon (2010) included 22 studies in their review, reporting simple averages of effect sizes and standard deviations. They reported that morphological instruction contributed to improvement in phonological awareness, morphological awareness, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and spelling. Again, morphology was particularly beneficial to the youngest and lowest achieving children.

Carlisle’s (2010) conducted an integrative review of 16 studies (i.e., a review that can consider both qualitative and quantitative findings) and concluded that morphological intervention had a positive effect on phonology, orthography and vocabulary development. Again, instruction in morphological awareness led to gains in phonological awareness. Carlisle noted in her review that “even kindergartners can acquire morphological awareness, if this is what they are taught.” (p.x)

Across the literature, it is more than apparent that younger children, who are at an early stage of literacy development, stand to benefit the most from a program driven by morphology. So what are we waiting for? When will SLP/SLTs take up the challenge and hone ourselves into practitioners ready to step in and provide state of the art treatment that includes morphology to children with written language deficits?


Bowers, P.N., Kirby J.R., & Deacon, S.H. (2010). The effects of morphological instruction on literacy skills: A systematic review of the literature. Review of Educational Research, 80(2), 144-179.

Carlisle, J.F. (2010). Effects of instruction in morphological awareness on literacy achievement; An integrative review. Reading Research Quarterly, 45(4), 464-487.

Devonshire, V., Morris, P., & Fluck, M. (2013). Spelling and reading development: The effect of teaching children multiple levels of representation in their orthography. Learning and Instruction, 25, 85-94

Reed, D.K. (2008). A synthesis of morphological interventions and effects on reading outcomes for students grades K-12. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 23(1), 36-49.

Wolter, J.A. (2009). A systematic resratch review of word study treatment practices for the speech-languge pathologist, Evidence-Based Practice Briefs, 3, 43-58.



Q1 Morphology driven = work on how words are built before making grapheme/phoneme connections. How do you do this? #WeSpeechies

Q2 Why might putting ‘graphemes and phonemes first’ more alluring than letting morphology lead the way? #WeSpeechies

Q3 How can we move on from ‘graphemes and phonemes first’ to being more ‘morphology driven’ in treatments? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What kinds of resources would help you get into morphology driven reading instruction? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

April 23 - 29 2017

@WeSpeechies Curator: Susan Ebbels @SusanEbbels | Bio

Topic: Carrying out intervention research in SLP/SLT practice

#WeSpeechies Chat #112 with @SusanEbbels Tuesday 25 April 2017 9:00pm BST

Time Zone: Australian Eastern Standard Time AEST | YOUR TIME ZONE

Evidence-based practice, including evidence from research, is a key factor in providing the best possible service for clients. In some areas of #WeSpeechies’ practice, however, the intervention research evidence is very limited. #WeSpeechies could wait for others to carry out the research needed, or could begin to create some research evidence themselves. Research carried out by #WeSpeechies in their own setting and with their own client group leads to evidence that is highly relevant to that situation and client group, and may begin to fill the priority evidence gaps. Designing, conducting, and writing-up research projects also increases SLP/SLT knowledge and confidence in appraising, interpreting and carrying out research, and de-mystifies the research process. It can also lead to more effective intervention and hence improved outcomes for clients.

This week, and during the Tuesday chat, I hope we can explore the ways in which #WeSpeechies can contribute to the evidence base as part of their clinical practice and identify factors which would support that endeavour.



Q1 What are your top priorities for intervention research? Which gaps in the evidence base matter most to you? #WeSpeechies

Q2 Do you feel able to contribute to the research evidence base? Is this a priority for time when services are stretched? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Do you have or need access to any resources or supports to do clinical research? Funding? Time? Mentoring? Has it helped? #WeSpeechies

Q4 How can we best carry out inclusive research which includes: clients/patients, relatives and other professionals? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

April 16 - 22 2017

@WeSpeechies Curator: Louise Coigley @lisntell | Bio

Topic: Storytelling in SLP/SLT - Where art and science meet

#WeSpeechies Chat #111 with @lisntell Tuesday 18 April 2017 9:00am BST


Storytelling manifests in myriad ways across cultures and through our daily life. For thousands of years BC and since, First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples have told stories to teach and heal. The term 'storytelling' is applied in the media to great novel writing, film directing and advertising, and mistakenly, to oral story reading. Images are a major part of the currency of stories. Neuroscientist Adrian Owen discovered that some patients in coma display patterns of specific brain activity when asked to use their imaginations in particular ways. Researching the basis of human communication, Uri Hasson, has shown that even across different languages our brains become 'aligned' when we hear the same story. In his documentary, 'Bitter Lake', Adam Curtis asserts that we are deliberately fed conflicting stories to confuse us and defines this as 'non-linear politics' - a form of 'divide and rule'. Narrative Medicine is a growing discipline, where patient biography is once again being considered. ‘Narratives’ are recognised in health as an important way of understanding patient experiences, and diagnosing health conditions, and ‘narrative inquiry’ is a well-established research methodology in the human sciences.

So, where is storytelling in our work as SLTs/SLPs? We are rightly expected to be narratively competent in taking case histories and offering advice – and in assessing narrative production both oral and written. In her Narrative Intervention programme, Professor Victoria Joffe says that 'storytelling can prove challenging' because of its demands on receptive and expressive language. Yet storytelling also has to do with other important human skills such as non-verbal participation, turn taking; eye contact; the ability to endure delayed gratification; links between iconic gesture and meaningful intonation patterns; inventive use and choice of props; listener awareness; call and response (which does not have to be verbal); humour (physical non-verbal); repetitive chanting ( cf. Professor Usha Goswami's research into rhythm and learning); role play; empathy, courage and imagination. Storytelling is also brought to life in SLT Dr Nicola Grove’s work with people with severe and profound disability. Storytelling in prison is known as, 'the only legal form of escape'. Storytelling is part of our zeitgeist. It is emerging in different forms in SLT/SLP, for example as a means of building awareness and practice of speech sounds (see Dr Caroline Bowen's work with alliterative stories).

Do you use storytelling in your work? If so - How? When? Where? Why?! I would love to know, and I warmly invite you to share your questions, knowledge and experience - as an exploration into the role of storytelling in SLP/SLT. It will be very exciting to witness what you share on this ancient and modern tool of human communication, which, as a defined discipline within SLT/SLP, is still an emergent area of our work.



Q1 Name, and/or describe the qualities of a favourite or detested character from your childhood/adulthood. #WeSpeechies

Q2 How do you see storytelling as being important for us as SLTs/SLPs? How does it challenge us? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Which storytelling/narrative skills do you use in your practice? How would you like to expand on this? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What (new?) evidence base is needed on aspects of storytelling in SLP/SLT practice? Can we use evidence from other fields? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

April 2 - 7 2017

@WeSpeechies Curator: Haley Tancredi @HaleyTanc | Bio

Topic: SLPs/SLTs working in inclusive education settings

#WeSpeechies Chat #110 with @HaleyTanc Tuesday 4 April 2017 8:00pm AEST


Equity and excellence are key drivers within contemporary classrooms, where student populations are typified by academic, social and access diversity. Inclusive education environments have become the preferred and expected model for education in recent years, where inclusion exists for all students, not just select groups. Inclusion is not integration, nor mainstreaming, where groups of diverse students (including students with disability) are simply present in “regular” classrooms. Inclusive education accepts diversity as the norm. Accordingly, the onus is on educators and school communities to identify and remove barriers to access, and maximise learning opportunities for all (Ballard, 1998; Ainscow, 2004).  

Up to 13% of students in inclusive education settings in Australian schools have speech, language and communication needs (McLeod & McKinnon, 2007), including developmental language disorders (#DevLangDis). Thus, teacher and speech pathologist collaboration is important. Ensuring accessibility and learning entitlement to the learning Curriculum is underpinned by a requirement for educators to provide education adjustment across three broad categories: adjustments to instruction, curriculum and the learning environment (ACARA, 2013).   

Teachers and speech-language pathologists who work in collaborative teams are able to ‘wrap around’ students and offer support in maximising their participation. SLPs/SLTs have a role in engaging with students and teachers in curriculum-relevant intervention. We also have a critical role in supporting teachers in planning that facilitates access to the curriculum and the assessment of learning, ensuring equity for all. We need to combine our SLP/SLT training in communication, with an understanding of curriculum demands and teaching. We have not adequately effected change for students with developmental language disorders if they have developed their communication skills, but barriers to learning persist.

My own experiences suggest that awareness of the diverse and responsive role of that SLPs/SLTs can play in inclusive education contexts is increasing. This week on @WeSpeechies, we will discuss your views and experiences in working in inclusive contexts, including inclusive education settings. What models of practice exist in your local education context? What can SLPs/SLTs add in inclusive education settings? What are some of the barriers to working in an inclusive education context? How do you measure your impact? Join in with our discussions over the week and share any information, tips, and strategies that you have found useful in this area of SLP/SLT practice.


ACARA (2013) Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority. Student diversity and the Australian Curriculum. Retrieved 09 March 2017, from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/StudentDiversity/Pdf/StudentDiversity

Ainscow, M. (2004). Developing inclusive education systems: what are the levers for change? Journal of Educational Change, 6(2), 109-124.

Ballard, K. (1999). International Voices: An introduction. In K. Ballard (Ed.). Inclusive education: International voices on disability and justice. London: Falmer Press.

McLeod, S., & McKinnon, D. H. (2007). Prevalence of communication disorders compared with other learning needs in 14,500 primary and secondary school students.International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 42(1), 37-59.



Q1 #WeSpeechies How can SLPs/SLTs add value and expertise in inclusive education settings?

Q2 #WeSpeechies What models of SLP/SLT practice exist in your local education context?

Q3 #WeSpeechies What are some of the barriers to SLPs/SLTs working in an inclusive education context? How do we remove these?

Q4 #WeSpeechies How can SLP/SLT, teachers, our students, parents measure our impact in an inclusive education setting?

Chat concludes

March 26 - April 1 2017

@WeSpeechies Curator: Stacie Attrill @SAttSpeech | Bio

Topic: Positive learning in the SLP/SLT workplace: Students, clinicians, and clinical educators

#WeSpeechies Chat #109, Tuesday 28 March 2017, 7:00pm ACDT (Australian Central Daylight Time)


Learning in the workplace is an important part of professional development for SLP/SLT students (SLP2B/SLT2B), whose competency development is facilitated in part by workplace learning experiences. This is as true for new graduate SLPs/SLTs, who hone their professional skills and confidence in early career positions as SLPs/SLTs, as it is for clinical educators who have learning experiences that emerge from working with students and clients in their workplaces. Indeed, all SLPs/SLTs have everyday experiences with clients, situations and contexts that facilitate their own learning and professional development as practitioners.

Stacie is particularly interested in all aspects of workplace-learning for all parties, and will use her time on @WeSpeechies to explore how and when people learn in the workplace, what can make this learning a positive experience, and how to use learning to facilitate professional growth. Stacie will encourage us all to reflect on what, how and when we’ve learned in our various workplaces. She asks us to consider learning from the perspectives of students, experienced practitioners, and educators - to facilitate a discussion about how best to learn from events, interactions, change, and incidents as they occur in ‘messy’ workplace learning environments.



Q1 What do you recall of your experiences of learning in workplaces as an SLP/SLT student? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What are examples of learning events in your current SLP/SLT workplace, & how will you apply these to your future practice? #WeSpeechies

Q3 How do you facilitate the learning of others in your workplace? Students/clients/parents/peers? Do you have examples? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What are some strategies you use to reflect about events, interactions, or incidents in your workplace? How do these help? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

March 19 - 25 2017

@WeSpeechies Curator: Bronwyn Hemsley on behalf of @AACjournal | About

Topic: Exploring how editors and authors in SLP/SLT can work together to disseminate and translate research evidence for the public: @AACjourn as a case example.

#WeSpeechies Chat #108 with @AACjourn

Date: Tuesday 21 March
Time: 8:00pm AEDT
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Daylight Time AEST | YOUR TIME ZONE

The AAC Journal is the official journal of the International Society for AAC, and has, since 1985, produced 33 volumes of 4 issues. That’s a lot of research evidence about AAC, but how many people explore this 32-year span of literature online? As an Editor-in-Chief, @BronwynHemsley sees a special role for people interested in AAC who use Twitter, to engage more with the ‘library’ of evidence in the AAC journal and to influence the future of the journal. Traditionally, the social marketing of the journal has been through ISAAC (@ISAAC_AAC) and its membership, and the publisher @TandFonline and @TandFMedicine. So what difference can an Editor make to getting the message across? Join in the discussions this week, and tell @WeSpeechies what you think about using Twitter to get closer to authors, peer reviewers, editors, journals – and families of journals through publishers. The journal @AACJourn will be used as a case example, but the scope of the discussion will broaden over the week to include other SLP/SLT journals (and editors) that we know of in Twitter. 



Q1 Have you ever had contact with a journal editor? was it as an associate editor, reviewer, author, or reader? #WeSpeechies

Q2 How could it help to have more SLP/SLT Editors/Authors/Reviewers in Twitter, engaging with each other and with #WeSpeechies?

Q3 Apart from @AACjourn, which other journals do you know of or wish were in Twitter to help connect readers with authors? #WeSpeechies

Q4 Could Twitter be used to support authors? Find more peer reviewers? Improve the writing/reviewing/reading experience? How? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

March 12 - March 18 2017

@WeSpeechies Curator: Dorothy Bishop @Deevybee | Bio

Topic: How can we raise the profile of developmental language disorders?

#WeSpeechies Chat #107 with Dorothy Bishop

Date: Tuesday 14 March 2017
Time: 8:30pm GMT for one hour
Time Zone: Greenwich Mean Time GMT | YOUR TIME ZONE

In 2015-6, an international group of experts, the CATALISE panel, came together with the aim of achieving consensus on diagnostic terminology for children’s language disorders. This was in response to mounting evidence that children’s language disorders received scant research funding in relation to their frequency and severity (Bishop, 2010). This seemed related to the lack of agreement about how to diagnose or define Specific Language Impairment (SLI). Starting in 2015, a two-stage project, CATALISE (Criteria and Terminology Applied to Language Impairments: Synthesising the Evidence), was developed, using the Delphi method to develop consensus statements about children’s language disorders.

We worked with an international and multidisciplinary panel of experts, and ended up producing two papers specifying criteria for diagnosis and terminology (Bishop et al, 2016, 2017). The consensus was to abandon the term Specific Language Impairment, and substitute Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) for language disorders of unknown origin. DLD is a broad category covering a wide range of language problems, and can be elaborated with specifiers that note the areas of language difficulty, risk factors and accompanying disorders.

Now that we have agreement on terminology, the time is ripe to generate greater awareness of DLD. We have to ask ourselves why most lay people have heard of autism (ASD), ADHD and dyslexia, but very few know about DLD. Funding for ASD and ADHD research runs at 15-20 times the rate of funding for DLD research. There also appear to be clearer pathways from diagnosis to intervention for ASD, ADHD and dyslexia than for DLD, even though we know that DLD can have long-term impacts on educational and social outcomes.

Those of us who work in this area, and people affected with DLD and their families, need to do more to ensure there is recognition of this hidden disability. This Twitter chat provides an opportunity to brainstorm and share ideas to put DLD (#DevLangDis) on the map.




Q1 #WeSpeechies Why is DLD less well-known among the public than ADHD, ASD or dyslexia? #DevLangDis

Q2 #WeSpeechies What can we do to make people more aware of DLD? #DevLangDis?

Q3 #WeSpeechies Are there examples of positive ways that DLD has been highlighted to the general public? Can we learn from other disorders? #DevLangDis

Q4 #WeSpeechies If we could interest the media in a documentary about DLD, what should it feature? #DevLangDis

Chat concludes

March 5 - 11 2017

@WeSpeechies Curator: Thizbe Wenger @ThizbeW | Bio

Topic: Use of new technologies to support SLP/SLT practice: Behind the scenes, in the clinic, home, and school

#WeSpeechies Chat #106 Tuesday 7 March 2017, 8:00pm AEDT

Time Zone: Australian Eastern Daylight Time AEDT | YOUR TIME ZONE

SLPs/SLTs are actively encouraged to use technology to meet the needs of their clients. Each innovation in technology challenges us to develop new skills. During this week, Thizbe @thizbew will discuss the core aspirations of the SLP/SLT profession and explore some of the common drivers of change, challenges, priorities and opportunities for the profession.

Technology is referred to frequently in SLP/SLT practice guidelines and documents, and is an important part of ‘future proofing’ the profession, particularly regarding achieving the aspirations of improved access to services, timely delivery of services, and improved quality of services. Innovation and continual pursuit of knowledge are key drivers in our expanding use of technologies (for an example of this, see SPA, 2016). The inclusion of technology in SLP/SLT practice is encouraged in many countries. For example, the New Zealand Speech language Therapists’ Association’s (NZSTA’s) strategic plan includes a goal to increase opportunities for online or e-learning (NZSTA, 2016-2020). Similarly, the American Speech Language Hearing Association’s (ASHA’s) envisioned future : 2025 refers to ensuring timely access to technological advances and evidence-based application of technology (ASHA, 2017) and the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) outlines benefits to using communication technology including increased access (RCSLT, 2017). 

Technology develops and improves rapidly, and is used increasingly to support communication. New products are available to support speech pathology practice in many ways - behind the scenes (helping us run our services), in the clinic room, at home, in schools, and in the community. The last 10 years have seen an increase in access, and a wider range of technology, used to help support children and adults with communication impairments. SLP/SLT use of mobile devices to access evidence and materials that support clinical practice is also quite common. However, the rapid changes in the technology available to families, teachers, and clinicians raises important questions about how SLPs/SLTs are supported to implement new technologies effectively in practice.

This week’s discussion will focus on whether SLPs/SLTs are able to access technology routinely, or consider it a ‘special’ area of expertise and experience. We will explore the types of technology SLP/SLTs use, and any training that is helpful in supporting that use. Both the challenges and benefits of using technology will be explored.

Thizbe will be draw on her own experience in using a wide range of technologies in the clinic – including ultrasound, iPads, and social media, and how prepared and confident she felt in using these technologies. Taking part in this week’s discussions will involve sharing your strategies for ‘getting to know’ technology, becoming comfortable with its use, and gaining in confidence and competence – perhaps even becoming able to demonstrate its use to other clinicians and parents. Please join the discussion and share your tips and thoughts on this topic. Feel free to mention @WeSpeechies but not distribute product advertisements using #WeSpeechies tag.




Q1 Do you have access to the technology that you need, and what would be on your wish list? Why is it/might it be useful? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What are the benefits of using those technologies? Do they really help meet the needs of your clients? #WeSpeechies

Q3 what are some challenges to your learning to using technology? How do you overcome these challenges? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What training did you receive to use technology at work, or did you learn it ‘intuitively’? What ‘supports’ helped you? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

February 26 - March 4 2017

@WeSpeechies Curator: Jo Steel @DrJoSteel | Bio

Topic: Cognitive Communication and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in Adults

#WeSpeechies Chat #105 with Jo Steele

Date: Tuesday 28 February
Time: 7:00pm AEDT for one hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Daylight Time AEDT | YOUR TIME ZONE

Cognitive Communication and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in Adults

Cognitive communication impairment can be a persisting and debilitating consequence of traumatic brain injury (TBI). SLPs/SLTs have a limited literature-base on cognitive communication assessment, recovery and prognosis. Clarifying what the SLP/SLT’s role is in the management of cognitive communication impairment management can be difficult, especially in the early stage of recovery when the patient is hospitalised, and when the focus of clinical teams may be on physical recovery and survival. How does this fit with evidence for neuroplasticity and early intervention for patients with acquired cognitive impairments?

This week, Jo will explore the early recovery phase for people with TBI, and discuss her PhD findings in relation to the assessment of cognitive communication in this phase. Implications for the roles of SLPs/SLTs and ways to better support adults with TBI will be considered.

If you’ve ever found yourself asking ‘what is cognitive communication?’ or wanted to know more about what happens to patients in the early phases of their TBI recovery, join in this week to ask questions or help develop this important but under-researched area of practice in our profession.




Q1 Assessment: How do you assess cognitive communication in TBI, clinically? What tools or discourse measures are most useful? #WeSpeechies

Q2 Timing: Should we limit our focus to support or counselling in early recovery from TBI, or is this a good time to start Rx? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Which therapy approaches help in cognitive communication: impairment level, functional goals, compensation? #WeSpeechies

Q4. What could be some therapy targets: insight, participation in therapy, social communication, language goals? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

February 19 - February 25 2017

@WeSpeechies Curator: Emma McLaughlin @EmmaMcSLP | Bio | Emma talks about "discharge"

Topic: Managing service and discharge for adults with lifelong communication impairment

#WeSpeechies Chat #104 with Emma McLaughlin

Date: Tuesday 21 February
Time: 7:00pm AEDT for one hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Daylight Time AEDT | YOUR TIME ZONE

Why does talking about discharge with people that have been receiving speech pathology services for months or years cause me so much angst? Why do I feel so bad saying the “d” word? Does it matter that I feel uncomfortable—after all, it’s not about me, it’s about my clients? Am I the only one that feels bad about this? Should I just suck it up? … Ugh.

Communication difficulties acquired during adulthood sometimes last for life. This may be despite early intensive speech pathology intervention, and continuing support once people are discharged from hospital back to their homes in the community. For speech pathologists working with people with long-term communication impairment, the balance of providing support and hope while preparing clients for the time they will no longer see us so regularly, or at all, can be a difficult maze to negotiate.

The concept of “discharge” for people with ongoing communication impairments or support needs raises service delivery, ethical, professional, and many, many other issues for us to consider. We must try to see this issue not only from our point of view, but also from the service’s point of view, and regarding the needs and wants of the people—clients and their families— that we work with. That can be hard. Join @EmmaMcSLP to discuss theory, practice, and shared experience of ceasing contact with clients with chronic or lifelong acquired communication impairment. Together, we may come up with some ideas to improve this process for all concerned.




Q1 #WeSpeechies, does a “good discharge” begin with good goal setting? How? Can you provide an example?

Q2 #WeSpeechies, what are the barriers and facilitators to discharging adults with chronic communication impairment?

Q3 Is it better to cease contact with adults with chronic impairments or change our models of service delivery? #WeSpeechies

Q4 Do any #WeSpeechies have tips for managing the transition from “Speech Therapy” to “Discharge”? Is there a ‘bridge’ between the two?

Chat concludes

February 12 - 18 2017

@WeSpeechies Curator: Tricia McCabe @TricMc | Bio

Topic: Childhood Apraxia of Speech (Dyspraxia)

#WeSpeechies Chat #103 with Tricia McCabe

Date: Tuesday 14 February
Time: 8:00pm AEDT for one hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Daylight Time AEDT | YOUR TIME ZONE

Childhood Apraxia of Speech can be tricky—when and how to diagnose, how to treat at each age/stage, and what to say to parents about prognosis. This chat will draw on the collective wisdom of the Twitterverse (both #SLPeeps and #Parents) to toss around ideas which might have worked for you and to explore cultural differences in these topics around the world.




Q1 How do clinicians diagnose childhood apraxia of speech (CAS)/dyspraxia? #WeSpeechies

Q2 Parents and clinicians - What are the challenges in diagnosis of CAS and how can we respond to these? #WeSpeechies

Q3 What CAS treatments work best with the kids you treat / your child? #WeSpeechies

Q4 Parents and clinicians: Can you share your tips and tricks for treating children with CAS? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

February 5 -10 2017

@WeSpeechies Curator: Bronwyn Hemsley @BronwynHemsley

Topic: Crowdsourcing for knowledge translation and citizen science in SLP/SLT: Where do we start?

#WeSpeechies Chat #102 with Bronwyn Hemsley

Date: Tuesday 7 February 2017
Time: 8:00pm AEDT for 1 hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Daylight Time AEDT | YOUR TIME ZONE

Since March 2014, @WeSpeechies administrators and network members have seen a growing ‘social movement’ related to the willingness and enthusiasm of SLPs/SLTs to share their knowledge online in several online forums. This was illustrated most recently in the rapid recruitment of 21 curators (thank you!) for the Feb-Jun period. Participation in online forums, in facilitator or audience roles, may be motivated by a desire for mutual learning and peer support, or a wish to augment the public profile of an individual or group.

To date, @WeSpeechies weeks have rarely been directed towards community education about SLP/SLT evidence-based practices, or to helping the public to ‘make sense of’ information they find online about communication or swallowing disorders. Several growing SLP/SLT Twitter hashtag communities are networked internationally, yet there is little evidence of an ‘organised’ social movement of SLPs/SLTs towards mutual national or international goals. While raising awareness of various conditions and the needs of different populations served by our profession is important, it is unlikely to be sufficient to evoke change at a societal level. It is also likely to be ineffective in countering the continual growth of pseudoscientific 'clinical treatments' and 'educational interventions' that proliferate online—and across multiple platformst—that are purported to help children and adults with communication and/or swallowing impairments.

At a time when talk of ‘a post-truth era’ and ‘alternative facts’ could impact the knowledge world of science, evidence, and good journalism, it will take a very large and responsive movement of SLPs/SLTs worldwide to constantly monitor and quickly refute and rebuff false claims relating to treatments for populations that we serve. We must do this beyond scientific forums. Readiness to respond to false claims is important if our evidence-based voices are to be heard worldwide and ‘just in time’ as parents, clients and policy-makers form their decisions about therapy and education approaches.

It is possible that SLPs/SLTs who are engaged in Twitter could improve our evidence-based practice by keeping an eye on research developments and research evidence, and working together on building engagement with a wider audience. Can we do more than support one another for professional development in Twitter, and use Twitter collectively to help move high quality evidence from peer-reviewed and credible journals in our field, into policy and practice more quickly—and along the way helping to translate that knowledge? Can we use Twitter for crowdsourcing for ‘knowledge creation’? Can we harness the willingness of much larger altruistic publics to help us in research, like this, perhaps?

The Cochrane Collaboration provides a wonderful example of health-related ‘citizen science’, teaching crowds to spot and report randomised controlled trials, with a call to the public: “Become a Cochrane citizen scientist. Anyone can join our collaborative volunteer effort to help categorise and summarise healthcare evidence so that we can make better healthcare decisions.”

How might we go about building ‘citizen science’ projects that address glaring gaps in our evidence base (e.g., demographics; prevalence)? How can we use Twitter to leverage other platforms that give access to more ‘in-depth’ considerations of evidence (e.g., blogs, media articles in newspapers, online podcasts, etc). Ideas generated during this week could be used to inform future micro-endeavours for keen SLP/SLT tweeters worldwide.

Take part in the chat and bring your experiences and ideas to the table – we need growth in this area and it will take a crowd to get things moving!




Q1 Share your experiences of #crowdsourcing for: Recruiting? Checking ideas? Fundraising? Citizen science? #WeSpeechies

Q2 How will we engage the SLP/SLT crowd in Twitter for 'knowledge translation' of high quality evidence for the public? #WeSpeechies

Q3 How will we engage the SLP/SLT crowd in Twitter and develop (what type of) 'citizen science’ projects'? Ideas? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What ‘micro-efforts’ could multiple #WeSpeechies make towards spotting and responding to ‘fake claims’ in our field of SLP/SLT?

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #101 with Louise Coigley

Date: Tuesday 22 November 2016
Time: 9:00am GMT for 1 hour
Time Zone: Greenwich Mean Time | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Louise Coigley @lisntell (November 20 - November 26 2016)

Topic: Rumble in the Jungle:
Joys and challenges of parenting a child with speech, language and communication needs

I believe that parents and carers are the most essential collaborators in effective Speech-Language Pathology / Speech and Language Therapy (SLP/SLT). Your experience contributes to my professional insight daily.

I spent my childhood and teenage years as a long-term outpatient at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children in London, visiting specialists every three months. I spent a lot of time observing other children while we all waited, often for several hours in good old British National Health Service queues...I was moved, by watching parents accompanying other children, often far sicker than I was.

My father was a Family Doctor in The UK. He always taught me to understand my conditions and the interventions I was receiving, which reassured and empowered me greatly. When I was training as a Speech and Language Therapist, he gave me one piece of advice: 'Always listen to the mother—she knows'. This was in the eighties, coinciding with the rise of the women's movement in the UK, and the beginning of fathers being much more hands-on in raising children.

I wonder how much you, as parents, feel nowadays that you are both invited to be part of working to enhance your child's communication progress? I wonder how much you feel empowered by the SLP/SLT profession?

The information online and from the professionals we encounter face-to-face can seem vast and contradictory—it can be a jungle. Just recently, a mother described her child to me as 'a little Mowgli'. In Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, Mowgli has problems adjusting to human life and is under constant threat from the tiger, Shere Khan. Although Mowgli is naïve, he is saved by his own bravery and the faithfulness and ingenuity of others.

Would you be willing, this week, to share some of your journey with your child and their communication development on twitter with other parents? You might have just the thing another needs to hear, including me! I would love to hear from you.




Q1 Question for parents. Do you remember how your child’s communication needs were first communicated to you? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What has been the most constructive help you've had so far towards addressing your child’s communication needs? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Do you feel “collaborated with” in co-creating your child’s speech / language / communication goals? #WeSpeechies

Q4 Has your child’s communication disorder brought beneficial effects or insights into your or your family life? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #100 with Tim Kittel

Date: Tuesday 11 October 2016
Time: 8:30pm ACDT for 1 hour
Time Zone: Time Zone: Australian Central Daylight Time | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Tim Kittel @TimothyKittel (October 9 - October 15 2016)

Topic: Memes and themes in representations of SLP/SLT in the mainstream,
social, and imagined future media: Get the picture


This is a call to arms for all #WeSpeechies and #slp2b/#slt2b. It is time to step up, and play your part in mimetic interfacing. For a profession that prides itself on our understanding of semiotics, we seem to have a problem portraying ourselves in terms of symbols and referents. So, to paraphrase Salt N’Pepa: let’s talk about memes, they keep coming up anyhow.

Richard Dawkins coined the term ‘meme’ in 1976, describing a way in which ideas and fashions propagate themselves through leaping from brain to brain, in a manner akin to genes. And like genes, the strongest memes thrive, take hold and become the prevailing ways of thinking within a culture. Memes don’t necessarily have to be true or factual, they just need to transmit from one person to another faster, and with more ease, than rival ways of thinking.

Mimetic theory has come under fire in recent years, partly due to its simplicity, but mostly because of all those irritating pictures of cats. But there is also a serious side to memes; they have can shape our behaviour and attitudes. There’s a process called mimetic engineering: deliberately and craftily constructing a group of memes (a ‘memeplex’), and releasing them to the public, with the aim of creating a paradigm shift. So, with our expertise in semiotics, let’s fire up those creativity engines, and see what we can do about communicating our profession’s potential and multifaceted work.

Join @TImothyKittel to look at both the shallow and deep ends of the meme pool and relate this to SLP/SLT. Let’s have some fun with meme creation. What can you attach to your twitter feed that tells the world about our profession? While there are many memes out there, many of these are inaccurate or stereotypes, so why don’t we create our own? And after that, let’s wade right out there to investigate the memes and memeplexes already in existence that we might want to challenge, update or proliferate…




Q1 What are some examples of successful memes on any topic, that you have seen? Why are they so effective? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What sort of memes and representations of #WeSpeechies do you know of, and are these helpful or less helpful to our profession?

Q3 With many ‘jargon’ terms in our field, how do #WeSpeechies select meme terminology for the biggest audience?

Q4 How could #WeSpeechies make more use of memes (e.g., strategic meme ‘gaming’ or ‘warfare’) to improve or change our profession?

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #99 with Carol-Anne Murphy

Date: Tuesday 20 September 2016
Time: 9:00pm BST for 1 hour
Time Zone: Time Zone: British Summer Time | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Carol-Anne Murphy @camisonup (September 18 - September 24)

Topic: Theories of ‘language learning impairment and therapy’:
How are they reflected in SLP/SLT interventions?

Clinical decision-making and research into interventions for children with language difficulties ideally takes into account several factors. At the individual level, these factors include:

  • the child’s profile of speech, language and communication needs: e.g., language components such as morpho-syntax, vocabulary, pragmatics, phonology or receptive/expressive modalities, verbal learning, memory, attention, motor skills;
  • the explanation for the child’s strengths and weaknesses: e.g., the relative contributions of linguistic knowledge, processing skills, verbal learning, memory and attention;
  • the child’s profile across the areas of impairment, activity and functioning.

Interventions will vary in terms of:

  • approach [e.g., recasting (i.e. implicit induction approaches) or direct instruction and teaching of rules and structures (explicit, deduction approaches)], and the extent to which the child’s metalinguistic knowledge and metacognitive abilities are involved and harnessed;
  • in terms of the learning conditions in the intervention: e.g., timing, intensity, amount of active ‘ingredient’ of the treatment; and,
  • may also differ in their focus on factors within the child, or in in the environment or social setting.

Therefore, language interventions are often ‘complex’. In evaluating complex language interventions, researchers need to specify the mechanism of intervention, in order to address the question: “how does this therapy cause the child’s impairment and/or participation to improve?”

Unfortunately, theories of practice and deficit in ‘language learning impairment’ do not always align (Law et al, 2008; Roulstone et al, BRCP, 2012). Also, there are gaps in the evidence base, and evidence on language interventions may not always relate to SLP/SLT clinical contexts. In some language intervention studies, the specific mechanism of the intervention might not be clear, or might be flawed.

To choose appropriate language interventions, SLP/SLTs need a robust research evidence-base, critical appraisal skills, access to databases of evidence (e.g., SpeechBITE, What Works, Cochrane), and evidence-based clinical guidelines. Clinicians also need to be able to determine if a treatment’s stated ‘theory of deficit’ and ‘mechanism of change’ is valid and can be translated to clinical practice.

This week, Carol-Anne @camisonup will guide discussions around theories of language learning impairment and language interventions in both research studies and in clinical practice.  By the end of the week @WeSpeechies may feel more confident and able to ‘tease out the theory’ behind a language intervention—something that we are challenged to do whenever a new or promising intervention appears on the horizon. Judging the logic or strength of a theory at the foundation of a language intervention is vital—but,  depending on how a study has been reported, it is not necessarily something that is easy to do. Carol-Anne will provide examples of the types of ‘questions’ people can ask of a ‘language intervention’, prior to considering its use in clinical practice. Join in and help us all to demystify how theory can be appraised in language interventions in SLP/SLT.




Q1 Let’s talk ‘theory’. What theories underpin the language learning interventions that you use? #WeSpeechies

Q2 How much does the ‘theory’ play a part in deciding on a treatment? Do we or parents ask ‘why’ something works? #WeSpeechies

Q3 What clinical treatments do SLP/SLTs use that might need further theory development, to explain ‘why it works’? #WeSpeechies

Q4 There are other theories (e.g., in education, psychology) that need more research in SLP/SLT. Do #WeSpeechies hear much about these?

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #98 with Nancy Owens

Date: Tuesday 30 August 2016
Time: 7:00pm AEST for 1 hour
Time Zone: Time Zone: Australian Eastern Standard Time (Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Nancy Owens @NancyJOwens (August 28 - September 3)

Topic: "Peer Review” vs. "Reader Review"?
How do you make informed decisions about healthcare and educational literature?

Peer review is a cornerstone of health literature, and has traditionally been considered a guarantee of quality and authority. In the last several years, changing attitudes towards long-established publishing structures have been accompanied by challenges to the validity of peer review, and to its influence on the quality of the published work and how it informs health policy or individuals’ health decisions.

What does peer review (or its absence) tell us about the quality of health literature? What does an informed reader need to know—or need to ask—in order to critically assess the quality of health literature and peer review processes?

This week on @WeSpeechies, @NancyJOwens leads discussions on the many varieties of peer review—open peer review, single blinded, double blinded, post-publication—and ways that both authors and audiences are involved in the present-day culture of peer reviewed publication.

Determining the confidence or weight that can be placed in both peer-reviewed and non peer-reviewed literature relating to SLP/SLT practice makes demands on clinicians, people engaged with SLP/SLT services and their families, and other service providers. These demands are situated in the context of a proliferation of non-peer reviewed publication through self-published blogs, websites and books or e-books; and variation in quality of peer reviewed sources themselves. It is important, therefore, that SLPs/SLTs who hold to a tradition of evidence-based practice, become more aware of issues surrounding "peer review"—so that they can also make their clients/consumers/service users aware and empowered in considering the literature in decisions about service provision.




Q1 What do you see as important in peer review for establishing the credibility of healthcare and educational literature? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What criteria on quality would ‘reader review’ involve for SLPs/SLTs and others assessing the quality of literature? #WeSpeechies

Q3 What resources or strategies would you recommend to others to support better informed ‘reader review’ of relevant literature? #WeSpeechies

Q4 Imagine a world where ‘Peer Review’ and ‘Reader Review’ carried equal weight – are we already moving in this direction? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #97 with Belinda Hill

Date: Tuesday 23 August 2016
Time: 8:00pm AEST for 1 hour
Time Zone: Time Zone: Australian Eastern Standard Time (Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Belinda Hill @TheraBees (August 21 - August 27)

Topic: SLPs/SLTs in private/independent practice: Challenges, opportunities and aspirations.
Is the journey taking us where we want to go?

The workforce of speech language-pathologists/speech and language therapists (SLPs/SLTs) in the private or independent sector is growing. While new graduates are ready to enter the workforce in terms of their clinical skills, the lack of clinical placements in the private sector—and in disability services—means that graduates are unfamiliar with its workplace environments, where workloads, systems and remuneration expectations may vary markedly from those in other workplaces. Furthermore, clinicians moving from the public to the private or independent sector may be poorly equipped to run a health business effectively, despite proficient clinical skills.

The nature of health business management is altering, particularly in Australia, with changes to funding arrangements for services, and an individual funding model. New opportunities for varied and innovative service delivery are arising with client groups that were previously served by government agencies.

While the introduction of new funding models can enable established SLP/SLT private or independent practices to grow, it can also mean challenges in business operations, management, and remuneration of clinical and administrative staff. Accordingly, private and independent SLP/SLT professionals must embrace the opportunity to provide clinical supervision to students, who will potentially join the future private sector workforce.

Clinicians in private or independent practice are well-advised to continue to develop both their clinical knowledge and business acumen, including: employment arrangements, supervision, mentoring, workloads and financial management of their businesses. They will also need to collaborate to continue to develop more ethical and financially sustainable business models in SLP/SLT. Improved business management will contribute to financially sound clinic models which can in turn benefit clients and staff, with greater physical and time resources available.




Q1 What challenges and opportunities await private/independent sector SLPs/SLTs in the future? #WeSpeechies

Q2 How can #WeSpeechies develop appropriate networks to expand their ‘business of health / learning/ inclusion’ knowledge and experiences?

Q3 How do SLPs/SLTs set priorities in private/independent practice? What TIME is spent on staff? Clients? Business practices? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What models of clinical education are being used in private practice and what benefits do SLP/SLT students bring to this? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #96 with Chyrisse Heine

Date: Tuesday 9 August 2016
Time: 8:00pm AEST for 1 hour
Time Zone: Time Zone: Australian Eastern Standard Time (Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Chyrisse Heine @Chyrisse_Heine (August 7 - August 13)

Topic: The SLP/SLT roadmap: Past, present and future!

Around the world, the Speech-Language Pathology / Speech and Language Therapy (SLP/SLT) profession has seen, and is seeing, many developments. They include changes in terminology; increased scope of practice; growth in the evidence base for assessment and intervention; evolving models of student education; novel service delivery models; and different ways and means of collaboration.

SP2030 was an initiative undertaken recently by Speech Pathology Australia as part of a push for necessary forward thinking and planning for new challenges. Its SP2030 Report arose from discussions with clients, families, public figures, and speech pathologists. The report amounts to a “roadmap” for the future of the profession in Australia, with potential wider impacts beyond its shores.

This week, I will present aspects of the preliminary stages of the report in order to stimulate discussion on “the future” of SLP/SLT professions worldwide, with three things in mind:

  1. I would love to hear ideas and opinions from all SLP/SLTs, SLP/SLT students, clients and their support networks, collaborators and anyone interested in furthering this great and diverse profession.
  2. I am interested to know what aspects of this preliminary report on Australian speech pathology reflect similarities and differences in professional practice in other countries.
  3. I am eager to discuss how ideas from the report can be applied to see further development of our profession.




Q1 How can our SLP profession be sustainable? Can SLPs change their traditional ways to accommodate future trends? #WeSpeechies

Q2 How can we integrate the predicted massive increase in demand into current SLP/SLT principles of practice? #WeSpeechies

Q3 What kinds of changes are needed to support our profession’s sustainability, and why? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What are #WeSpeechies' hopes and aspirations for the SLP/SLT profession in the future?

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #95 with Catriona Steele

Date: Tuesday 2 August 2016
Time: 3:00pm EDT for 1 hour
Time Zone: Time Zone: Eastern Daylight Time (Toronto Ontario Time) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Catriona Steele @SwallowRehab (July 31 - August 6)

Topic: Dysphagia diets

Thickened liquids and texture modified foods are the most commonly prescribed intervention for people with dysphagia. Although several countries have established standard terminology, the descriptions and labels vary throughout the world, within countries, and even across hospitals and community services within cities. Adoption of common terminology and definitions for dysphagia diets could offer benefits including improved patient or resident safety; improved communication within and between health professionals, health care providers and people with dysphagia; increased visibility of professional interventions; and greater opportunities to collect and evaluate assessment and treatment outcomes across the lifespan.

The International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (@iddsi_org) was established in 2012 by a multi-professional international group of volunteers. IDDSI is an independent, not-for profit entity. The aims of the initiative were to:

  1. Determine the number of food texture and drink thickness levels for international standardized use (adults and children);
  2. Develop culturally sensitive standard names/identifiers for each food and drink level;
  3. Develop detailed definitions for each level of food texture and drink thickness;
  4. Develop user-friendly, inexpensive, easily accessible measurement methods for determining classification of food textures and thickened drinks;
  5. Seek input and consensus from international stakeholders; and
  6. Publish and widely communicate the international standards.

The IDDSI Framework was released between September and November, 2015 and consists of a continuum of 8 levels (0-7); drinks are represented by Levels 0 – 4, while foods are represented by Levels 3 – 7. Descriptors are supported by a variety of simple measurement methods that can be used by people with dysphagia or by family members, direct support workers, clinicians, food service professionals or industry members to confirm the ‘level’ of a drink or food item.

This week on @WeSpeechies, Catriona will explain and discuss the development of the terminology and the food and fluid tests, and some of the issues that could affect implementation on the international terminology. Please join in and contribute your own views and experiences of food and fluid texture terminology, find out more about the IDDSI framework, and consider what potential future steps might be taken towards adoption of the #IDDSI framework internationally.

Take the time to try out some of the ‘food texture’ and ‘fluid thickness’ tests outlined in the #IDDSI Framework, here. The chat will include a focus on these tests, and give you a chance to ask questions or address any difficulties.




Q1 Why is it important to consider #IDDSI diet texture terminology standardisation? How will you implement this? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What do you think of trying the ‘Syringe Flow Test’ in #IDDSI as a simple way to measure liquid consistency? Any issues? #WeSpeechies

Q3 #IDDSI sets max food piece size at 0.4cm for level 5 minced & moist;1.5cm for L6 soft & bite-sized. What are your thoughts? #WeSpeechies

Q4 Adding barium to thickened drinks triggers more thickening. Can #IDDSI syringe test help match barium and non-barium drinks? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #94 with John McCarthy

Date: Tuesday 26 July 2016
Time: 8:00pm EDT for 1 hour
Time Zone: Time Zone: Eastern Daylight Time (Athens Ohio Time) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: John McCarthy @sayitanywayou (July 24 - July 30)

Topic: The arts and communication: Implications for SLPs/SLTs worldwide

Language—whether it is spoken, written, signed, or represented graphically—is not the only modality for communication. "The Arts"—including dance, theatre, music, painting, drawing, and other time-honored “artistic” media—are potent ways to communicate ideas and meaning. The arts also allow for an infusion of powerful emotional content, whether it is delivered as the shocking, deliberate, sudden blow of an intense music phrase, or as the slow build to catharsis in a classic Greek drama. In everyday interactions we use spoken language or text-based discourse, and we also we communicate through photos, gifs, emoji, music and all manner of multi-media to clarify or extend the meaning and emotional content of messages.

Beyond emotional impact, the arts can provide an excellent milieu for fostering inclusion of people with and without disabilities. With an emphasis on individual emotional expression, there is less emphasis placed on right or wrong answers. Experiences with the arts can be more open-ended and allow for a variety of different interactions between people. Furthermore, the arts allow for opportunities that could seem contrived or unnatural in spoken interactions. For example, a phrase can be repeated again and again in a song, whereas without music the same behaviour would be awkward.

There are different ways to conceptualize the kinds of interactions the arts can establish. Access to the arts can be thought of in terms of appreciation (e.g., as an audience member), recreation (e.g., as an orchestra or band member, storyteller, or chorister), and creation (e.g., as a composer, painter or writer). Each form can offer its own possibilities for inclusive interactions.

This week we will explore the role of the arts to enhance communication and participation for all people, of any age, and any ability or stage of learning. Please join in and help us create a fantastic array of examples of how the arts fit into our scope of ‘communication’ in speech language pathology (SLP)/speech and language therapy (SLT).   




Q1 How do The Arts appear in your practice or experiences with people with communication impairments or disabilities? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What challenges have you experienced in terms of access to The Arts for people with communication disabilities? #WeSpeechies

Q3 What are your experiences of using The Arts as a way to foster inclusion—can you share some examples? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What are your experiences or expectations of working with music, art, or drama therapists—now or in the future? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #93 with Haley Tancredi

Date: Tuesday 12 July 2016
Time: 8:00pm AEST for 1 hour
Time Zone: Time Zone: Australian Eastern Standard Time (Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Haley Tancredi @HaleyTanc (July 10 - July 16)

Topic: Empowering children and young people with communication difficulty to be central voices in their collaborative teams

At the heart of genuine consultation is an awareness and commitment by stakeholders to listen first and foremost to the voice of the person at the centre of any issue. When considering children and young people with communication impairment (Language Learning Impairment #LLI_, speech, voice or fluency disorder), in an education context, the person at the centre of the learning process is the student.

Students with communication impairment have been shown to be able to reflect on their language profiles of strengths and difficulties, and to share their perspectives on the clinical services they have received (Merrick & Roulstone, 2011; McCormack, McLeod, McAllister & Harrison, 2010; Roulstone, Harding & Morgan, 2016). These same principles, however, are not always applied in an education context. Capturing the voices of students with communication impairment and supporting collaborative teams to be responsive to students' perspectives about learning will enable equity, access and social justice for these students.

Awareness of this important issue is increasing in schools. Engaging students with communication impairment as part of their teams will enable them to have opportunities to participate as democratic citizens and to practice the language of collaboration, negotiation and self-advocacy. As this issue sits at the juncture of speech-language pathology/speech and language therapy, teaching and psychology, it is an area where a transdisciplinary approach is crucial.

This week, I am interested to hear your views, and your experiences of ways you have incorporated "student voice" in setting goals and designing education adjustments for students with #LLI_ and/or other communication disorders. How do you capture what students have to share? What do we need to do to support this process, and what skills do students need to be successful? Join in with our discussions over the week and share any information, tips, and strategies that you have found useful in this relatively new area of focus in SLP/SLT practice.


Merrick, R. & Roulstone, S. (2011). Children’s views of communication and speech-language pathology. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 13(4), 281-290. ABSTRACT

McCormack, McLeod, McAllister & Harrison (2010). My Speech Problem, Your Listening Problem, and My Frustration: The Experience of Living With Childhood Speech Impairment. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 41(4), 379-392.

Roulstone, S., Harding, S., & Morgan, L. (2016). Exploring the involvement of children and young people with speech, language and communication needs and their families in decision making: A research project. London, UK: The Communication Trust. SIGN ON HERE TO ACCESS THIS ARTICLE




Q1 How do you engage students with communication impairment to share their views on their impairments and what could help them? #WeSpeechies

Q2 How can we engage students more as part of the collaborative SLP/SLT or educational team? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Have you tried it? What barriers and enablers did you encounter when trying to engage students at the centre of the team? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What can we do to support students with communication impairment in engaging in a consultation process? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #92 with Abigail Lewis

Date: Tuesday 21 June 2016
Time: 2:30pm AWST for 1 hour
Time Zone: Time Zone: Australian Western Standard Time (Perth WA Time) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Abigail Lewis @AbigailVLewis (June 19 - June 25)

Topic: Building an ePortfolio in SLP/SLT:
A reflection on the process and strategies for your professional learning

To demonstrate ongoing development as a Speech-Language Pathologist/Speech and Language Therapist (SLP/SLT) we are required to complete ongoing professional development and continually update our competency. As well as being a requirement for ongoing membership of SLP/SLT organisations, documenting your self-development activities engages you in lifelong learning and reflective practice, and enables you to demonstrate your achievements when seeking promotion or changing employment. At Edith Cowan University (ECU) in Perth, Westen Australia, an ePortfolio has been embedded across the four year course since 2012 and once they graduate, former students are then able to use it for employment and ongoing Speech Pathology Australia (SPA) membership requirements (called Professional Self-Regulation or PSR).

Similarly to peak body SLP/SLT professional associations in other countries (e.g., ASHA, IASLT, NZSTA, RCSLT, SAC-OAC), SPA requires its members to plan professional development, monitor their own progress, collect evidence and submit points each year for PSR, and maintenance of certified status (CPSP). Members who are audited are then required to submit evidence of their activities.

SLPs/SLTs are also required to complete selection criteria for promotion or job transfer by giving examples of skills and activities; further describing these at interview. An ePortfolio is an idea tool for all these purposes, being increasingly used by undergraduates and in workplaces for documenting learning, reflections and showcasing achievements.

What is an ePortfolio?

An ePortfolio is an electronic collection of artefacts (evidence), reflections and narration that demonstrate your learning and development. An ePortfolio is both a process of learning (in developing an ePortfolio you are deepening your learning from your experiences) and a product of learning that can be used as a showcase of your learning and development. The process of establishing and curating an ePortfolio supports your development of the skills and your ability to easily give the evidence and examples required.

This week we will explore what might be the purpose/s of an ePortfolio for you, how you might develop one, and what it might look like.




Q1 How do you engage with lifelong learning, and how do you demonstrate and deepen your learning from life experiences? #WeSpeechies

Q2 Could an ePortfolio prevent professional development from going to waste and instead use it to transform practice?How? #WeSpeechies

Q3 How might an ePortfolio support deep learning, and what would you put in your ePortfolio that shows this? #WeSpeechies

Q4 How might you organise or structure your ePortfolio, and what form would it take – website? PDF book? USB? #WeSpeechies?

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #91 with Suze Leitão

Date: Tuesday 14 June 2016
Time: 4:00pm AWST for 1 hour
Time Zone: Australian Western Standard Time (Perth WA Time) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Suze Leitão @Suze_Freogirl (June 12 - June 18)

Topic: Ethics in professional and clinical practice

Speech pathologists often feel they are inherently ‘ethical’ and can be unsure why they should need to consider ethics in their everyday working life. This week, Suze Leitão (@Suze_Freogirl) will lead @WeSpeechies in exploring the concept of ethics in professional practice. The ever-increasing demands on our resources combined with increasing fiscal constraints; changes to our scope of practice and funding models; as well as the explosion of the number of clinicians working in private practice, all combine and seem to conspire to throw new challenges at us.

Being aware of the potential for issues to arise, and having frameworks and resources to draw upon can help us respond to these challenges.

Suze looks forward to hearing about your experiences and some of the approaches you have drawn upon in considering ‘ethical’ issues in SLP/SLT practice. In our discussion, we will also touch upon bigger dilemmas and discuss the resources available to support us in working ethically.

You are invited to join in the discussion, sharing your stories, strategies, and information. As per usual on @WeSpeechies, all tweets relating to any ethical dilemmas must be general in nature and not potentially identify any cases at all, whether known to the audience or not – we have a lot of lurkers and SLP/SLT is a small community. Remember to maintain confidentiality, respect privacy and send tweets underpinned by the values, principles, and standards of your Professional Code of Ethics, where you are.




Q1 What does ethics in professional/clinical practice mean to you as #WeSpeechies?

Q2 What are some of the challenging ethical issues that you deal with regularly #WeSpeechies?

Q3 #WeSpeechies How can ethical frameworks provide the context in which E3BP can be conducted?

Q4 #WeSpeechies What strategies and resources do you draw on to support your ethical reasoning?

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #90 with Madeline Cruice

Date: Tuesday 7 June 2016
Time: 9:00am BST for 1 hour
Time Zone: British Summer Time (London, UK Time) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Madeline Cruice @MadelineCruice (June 5 - June 11)

Topic: Making a meaningful difference in SLP/SLT services for adults: Aphasia as a case example

Making a meaningful difference in clients’ and families’ lives is important in speech and language therapy/ speech-language pathology. How we achieve this as individual clinicians, as a team or service, and as a profession is a topic ripe for in-depth discussion. Meaningfulness is relevant to all aspects of service provision whether it be information gathering, assessment, diagnosis, collaboration with others, direct and indirect intervention, advice-giving, education, training, or awareness raising. Making a ‘discernible’ and meaningful difference is currently a subject of much interest, most specifically in outcome measurement. It raises questions around how change is measured, how much change is ‘real change’, and whose perspective of change needs to be considered.

During this @WeSpeechies RoCur week, a range of topics in aphasia will be discussed as they are relevant to making a meaningful difference in aphasia: quality of life and living successfully, client-centredness/person-centredness, the therapeutic process including outcome measurement, meaningfulness, measurability, and other topics that emerge through discussion with this network.

It is hoped that some of the papers and discussions brought forward in tweets will have relevance beyond the field of aphasia to clinicians working with clients across the lifespan.

Please join in the discussions and share your perspectives and any other papers/resources that people can consider.




Q1 What does ‘making a meaningful difference in SLP/SLT services’ mean to you? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What benefits do you see for meaningful SLP/SLT services to patients/clients, outcomes, and/or the profession? #WeSpeechies

Q3 What hinders or prevents you or your SLP/SLT service from making a meaningful difference? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What helps or enables you or your SLP/SLT service make a meaningful difference? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #89 with Felicity Bright

Date: Tuesday 10 May 2016
Time: 9:00pm NZST for 1 hour
Time Zone: New Zealand Standard Time (Auckland NZ Time) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Felicity Bright @FlissBright (May 8 - May 14)

Topic: Hope: Its relevance for speech and language therapy

Hope is an essential part of being human. To lose hope can be catastrophic. Yet, hope can be a fraught concept for clinicians. On one level, we encourage hope - as some research suggests hope is associated with positive outcomes. On another level, we struggle if a person’s hope is perceived to be unrealistic, or a ‘false hope’. While some authors suggest therapists strive for realistic hope, patients report striving to ‘simply’ maintain hope. There is a risk that patient hopes may create tensions if they are not shared or valued by the practitioner, or are perceived as ‘false’ or ‘unrealistic’ hopes, and there is a real risk these tensions might impact on the development of a therapeutic relationship and engagement in therapy.

This week, we’ll start by asking ‘what do we mean by ‘hope’?’ It’s a somewhat nebulous concept, understood by different people in different ways. Making our own understandings of hope explicit is important in reflecting on how we consider and work with hope in the context of SLT/SLP. We’ll consider what these different understandings might open up, and what they might limit.

There can be tensions when a person’s hopes appear unrealistic, or unsupported by evidence. This is an area that can be challenging for clinicians, and for families, so let’s share our experiences, consider what our remit is in this situation, and discuss how we might approach such a scenario. Rather than taking a ‘black and white’ view of hope as realistic or unrealistic, I’d like to talk about how exploring hope with patients can help engagement in therapy, and how hope can be a therapeutic resource. I’ll share ideas from my research and teaching, and will draw on the work of others – and you as the audience - as well.

Over the course of the week, I’d love to hear from clinicians and patients/service users and family. Hope is such a part of our everyday language but it can be a taken-for-granted concept, something we don’t often stop and explicitly reflect on. I hope that this week will provide a forum for reflecting on our understandings of hope and the role hope can play in speech language therapy practice.




Q1 What does the word ‘hope’ mean to you? If you changed ‘hope’ to another word or three, what would that word/s be? #WeSpeechies

Q2 How do you talk about ‘hope’ with your clients/families? What questions do you ask? Do you speak of your hopes for them? #WeSpeechies

Q3 If you and your clients/families/patients have different hopes, why might this happen, and what do you do? #WeSpeechies

Q4 Do you harness ‘hope’ in your therapy - fostering hope, using hope as a therapeutic resource? What are your views on this? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #88 with Rachael-Anne Knight

Date: Tuesday 3 May 2016
Time: 8:00am BST for 1 hour
Time Zone: British Summer Time (London, UK Time) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Rachael-Anne Knight @r_a_knight (May 1 - May 6)

Topic: Research training for SLP/SLT students: Growing research capacity to strengthen our profession

SLT and SLP programmes are incredibly broad, requiring students to interact with core sciences, communication differences and disorders, and strategies for intervention, alongside spending significant numbers of hours in clinical placements. In addition, most regulatory bodies require students to gain an appreciation of research methods and skills, often taking the form of a research review or final year research thesis/dissertation or report. 

Students gain enormously from such research projects, and their reports, as they can see research in action, put into practice many of the design, analysis and writing skills they have developed over the course of their programmes, and communicate their findings to a wider audience. Nevertheless there are distinct challenges in providing a useful, relevant and authentic research experience in the context of SLT/SLP training programmes. For example, how do we negotiate ethical review procedures when time is tight? How do we design projects which provide useful information yet can be managed by students for whom this is their first experience of research? Are there document research methods that might be suitable to consider as ‘research’ studies? How do we provide parity of experience for students, and how do we ensure that the skills gathered are useful for their future careers? All these issues will be considered throughout the week, alongside discussion of how practicing therapists interact with research in their working lives.




Q1 What have you experienced as the benefits of research training, as a lecturer or a student #SLP2B #SLT2B? #WeSpeechies

Q2 Have you encountered any challenges to providing or receiving research training as a lecturer or student? #WeSpeechies

Q3 What kinds of research questions suit research training for final year #SLT2B #SLP2B? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What activities can be used to provide the best research training experience for future #SLPT2B #SLP2B? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #87 with Lucy Nicoll

Date: Tuesday 26 April 2016
Time: 8:00pm BST for 1 hour
Time Zone: British Summer Time (London, UK Time) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Lucy Nicoll @LucyNicoll1 (April 24 - April 30)

Topic: Figuring it out: SLPs/SLTs targeting figurative language skills in children and adolescents with language learning impairment: #LLI_

Figurative and non-literal language include metaphors, similes, homophones, proverbs and idioms. Although content of this chat will relate to all figurative language, it will focus on idioms. An idiom is a non-literal phrase such as “hold your horses,” meaning “wait.” Idiom Skills encompass four components; appropriate identification, understanding, definition and use of idioms across multiple contexts.

Children are exposed to idioms increasingly through teacher-talk and classroom resources as they progress through primary and secondary school (Colston and Kuiper, 2002; Lazar et al, 1989). It will not be surprising to SLPs/SLTs that school-age children with Language Learning Impairment (#LLI_) have significant and persistent difficulties developing Idiom Skills (Grunwell and Kerbel, 1998; Norbury, 2004). This means that they may have difficulties understanding and responding to teacher-talk, classroom texts and social conversations.

Research exploring methods to evaluate and support the Idiom Skills' development of school age children with #LLI_ has been limited, involving various participant population groups and use of a range of Idiom Skills assessment and intervention methods. Findings have shown that Idiom Skills assessment and intervention is complex. There is evidence to suggest that Idiom Skills assessments should include idiom items that are relevant to the child’s age and geographical area and should range in familiarity and complexity (Qualls et al, 2003; Grunwell and Kerbel, 1998). Furthermore, idioms should be presented both with and without supportive context (Cain et al, 2009; LeSourn Bissaoui et al, 2012).

Intervention studies have shown a range of intervention methods to be effective for developing Idiom Skills in children with language, learning and pragmatic impairments. Effective methods include use of mind maps (Mashal and Kariser, 2011), small group storytelling and worksheet tasks (Whyte et al, 2011; Ezell and Goldstein, 1992) and Classroom support (Lundblom and Woods, 2012; Abrahamsen and Smith, 2000). All highlight the importance of discussion exploring idioms across multiple contexts.

More research is required in this field but there is enough to build on to improve! Please join in the discussion this week, and take part in the chat if you can…




Q1 Are #WeSpeechies all in ‘the same boat’? Are we on ‘the same page’? What are figurative language skills and need we work on them?

Q2 Do #WeSpeechies ‘take the plunge’ in targeting figurative language skills in children/adolescents with #LLI_?

Q3 Are #WeSpeechies in a pickle?: What formal and informal assessments or tasks do you use to assess figurative language skills?

Q4 Giving kids with #LLI_ a hand: What interventions do you find helpful to developing figurative language skills? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #86 with Lisa Archibald

Date: Monday 18 April 2016
Time: 8:00pm EDT for 1 hour
Time Zone: Eastern Daylight Time (London, Ontario time) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Lisa Archibald @larchiba6 (April 16 - April 22)

Topic: SLPs/SLTs collaborating with teachers on #LLI_ and language goals in the classroom: Evidence and implementation

In many classrooms today there are children with widely differing skills and abilities. Some children might have a language learning impairment (#LLI_) or other communication disorder, and require the services of an SLP/SLT. As SLP/SLTs, we’ve long been asking ourselves how best to deliver services in the educational setting. Removing the child from class using a ‘pull-out’ model might seem to be the most efficient method of providing focused instruction and practice on individualized goals. However, there is a concern voiced by some that any gains achieved in such contextually-isolated environments might not generalize to the classroom (Throneburg et al., 2000). And so, we’ve begun examining the possibility of providing SLP/SLT services in the classroom, right where the skills need to develop. Surely that makes sense? But how do we maintain a therapeutic focus in a busy classroom?

Recently, educational service providers have begun to adopt a focus on inquiry-based learning and differentiated instruction (e.g., Inquiry-based Learning, Capacity Building Series, May 2013). Differentiated instruction refers to tailoring instruction to meet the individual needs of children in the classroom (watch this video to find out more about it). Differentiating instruction for several children in a classroom can be challenging, and some educators are struggling to meet these demands (Palincsar et al., 2000; Silliman et al., 2000).

Given the potential benefits of both contextually-based therapeutic services by SLP/SLTs and differentiated instruction by educators, a focus on how educators and SLP/SLTs might work together to target both instructional and communicative goals is important. Such practices may be part of both interdisciplinary models (i.e., where educators and SLP/SLTs teach cooperatively, each making distinct contributions to the classroom experience consistent with their roles) and transdisciplinary models (i.e., where the team members share roles across disciplinary boundaries and work together to provide instruction relevant to the goals).

Theoretically, in transdisciplinary teams, communication, interaction, and cooperation are maximized so that the common core of knowledge and competency of each team member is enlarged. However, little is known about how SLPs/SLTs and teachers experience the implementation of both instructional and communicative goals in a busy classroom.

This week, I am interested to hear your views and experiences of ways you have incorporated language goals in the classroom setting, using inter-disciplinary or transdisciplinary models, and collaboration with teachers, for students with #LLI_ or other communication disorders. How did you get started in doing this, what were some barriers and enablers, and importantly, where did you first see success? We can also discuss how this integrated service delivery model can progress into the future.


You can watch a video about differentiated instruction here.


Inquiry-based learning (May, 2013). Capacity Building Series. Secretariat Special Edition #32.

Palincsar, A.S., Collins, K.M., Marano, N.L., & Magnusson, S.J. (2000). Investigating the engagement and learning of students with learning disabilities in guided inquiry science teaching. Language, Speech, & Hearing Services in Schools, 31, 240-251.

Silliman, E.R., Bahr, R., Beasman, J., & Wilkinson, LC. (2000). Scaffolds for learning to read in an inclusion classroom. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 31, 265-279.

Throneburg, R. N., Calvert, L.K., Sturm, J. J., & Paramboukas, A. A. (2000). A comparison of service delivery models: Effects on curricular vocabulary skills in the school setting. American Journal of Speech and Language Pathology, 9, 10-20.




Q1 Do you go into the classroom when providing services for #LLI_? What do you tend to do there? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What barriers or enablers have you faced when working alongside teachers and focusing on mutual #LLI_ goals in the classroom? #WeSpeechies

Q3 What impacts has working in the classroom had an on your students with #LLI_ and your collaborative working relationship with teachers? #WeSpeechies

Q4 How can we make time to build effective collaborative relationships with teachers for #LLI_ in the classroom? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #85 with Bronwyn Hemsley

Date: Tuesday 15 March 2016
Time: 8:00pm AEDT for 1 hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Daylight Time (Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Bronwyn Hemsley @BronwynHemsley (March 13 - March 9)

Topic: #WeSpeechies and the global conversation about speech-language pathology:
Implications of the 10 year Twitter anniversary for clinical, research, and policy impact.


Did you know that @twitter celebrates its 10th birthday in March 2016, and that it now has 300 million users worldwide? Where were you when it launched, on 21st March 2006?




I was in the middle of a PhD on the experiences and needs of older parent carers of adults with cerebral palsy and complex communication needs in hospital, and possibly doing laps at the swimming pool, or hanging out at the skate park with a laptop and my 9-year-old son. I was oblivious to Twitter!

Other health professions in Twitter have been at it longer, but Speech-Language Pathologists/Speech and LanguageTherapists globally are now making great strides, on a number of hashtags, in Twitter networks; and of course one of those networks is #WeSpeechies. But there is far to go. What can ‘we as SLPs/SLTs’ learn, and take from the leadership demonstrated by other health and education professionals, in Twitter?

This week we’ll discuss and consider how Twitter-use might be developed as an instrument, not only for our ‘professional learning networks’ but also for ‘public health outreach’, rehabilitation and empowerment for the people and communities, worldwide, who are disenfranchised and disempowered, because of their communication impairments or disabilities.

Every tweet in @twitter is connected. How can we combine our voices, to make the world take note of the people whom we serve: people with communication and swallowing disorders, and their families, and those who work with them? During the week we will reflect upon the time we have all been in Twitter – whether it be one month or one decade; how each of us came to this public platform, and how we can help others to do so too. We will consider ‘public health’ and speech-language pathology / speech and language therapy, and explore the question: how can we spend the next 10 years of Twitter making a difference, with whatever tools are at our disposal, together?




Q1 How do you ‘listen’ on Twitter, to particular voices or communities? Which hashtags give you an insight into our service? #WeSpeechies

Q2 If you lost your speech tomorrow, through accident or other condition, would you tweet? Why? What would you tweet about? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Do you use Twitter to promote clinical improvements? What kind of difference do you want Twitter to make? #WeSpeechies

Q4 Do you use Twitter to make a change in your area? How? Is there a ‘speech activist’ in you? Which other tags could help? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #84 with Alexander O'Sullivan

Date: Tuesday 8 March 2016
Time: 8:00pm AEDT for 1 hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Daylight Time (Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Alexander O'Sullivan @os_alexo (March 6 - March 12) BLOG

Professionalism and Speech-Language Pathology / Speech and Language Therapy

As a new graduate Speech Pathologist, 'professional' is a word I hear often, as a noun or adjective. We think and talk about 'Allied Health Professionals' (AHPs), 'professional standards' and 'professional behaviour' regularly. It seems that ‘professionalism’ has ‘profession-long’ relevance and is something of keen interest to SLPs/SLTs worldwide. Twitter provides a good opportunity to discuss the meaning and actions of being 'professional' in SLP/SLT, and to interrogate our practice to determine whether the way we act reflects professionalism.

Throughout this week I hope to analyse the history and components of professionalism, and seek to contrast our position with colleagues who are AHPs and teachers. Together, we can clarify what some people might say are the most important aspects of professionalism: professional autonomy and professional responsibility. Autonomy allows us to plan our practice within our scope of practice according to our expert opinion, and we have a responsibility to abide by our professional standards and ethics. We also take our own personal ethics into account, in our professional decision-making - but this is not always straightforward. We will discuss how the settings and institutions in which we work define our professionalism.

I welcome contributions from the #WeSpeechies community on the state of SLP/SLT, now and in its future, through the lens of the concept of 'professionalism'. I particularly welcome your thoughts on the way you resolve any conflicts arising between rights (e.g., to autonomy) and responsibilities (e.g., for standards) in your practice. We’ll also consider ‘opportunities’ and ‘threats’ to our professionalism - either arising from outside our profession or from within - so that we can plan for the future and manage these appropriately.




Q1 What does the term 'professionalism' or ‘being professional’ mean to you?  #WeSpeechies

Q2 Why are SLPs/SLTs 'professionals'? Is it about status, autonomy, the services we provide, or something else? #WeSpeechies

Q3 What are some possible conflicts between autonomy and responsibility in our work? How are these resolved? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What are some opportunities for SLPs professionalism in the future? Are there also threats to consider? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #83 with Charlotte Forwood

Date: Tuesday 1 March 2016
Time: 8:00pm AEDT for 1 hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Daylight Time (Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Charlotte Forwood @talkinged19 (February 28 - March 5)

Topic: Teachers and SLPs/SLTs collaborating to support older school students’ language for academic tasks

Numerous speech language-pathologists/speech and language therapists (SLPs/SLTs) work in educational settings. Many arise from working collaboratively with teachers: better understanding of students’ needs, goals tailored to the school environment, opportunities to support change in teachers’ classroom practices, and improved understanding of the academic and other demands of the school.

Models of service delivery in school settings vary from country to country, and from organisation to organisation. Quite rightly, there is a focus on early intervention both in preschool and in the early years of schooling. As students move through school, access to additional resources (including SLP/SLT) may be more limited, sometimes due to funding guidelines. At the same time though, school text becomes denser and language more abstract. The cognitive and language load of learning in secondary schools increases—and the gap between students with language impairments and their peers widens.

The focus areas of this week’s chat are the

  1. key academic tasks that have a high "language load";
  2. language features and structures of different subject areas;
  3. ways in which SLPs/SLTs can assist teachers to make adjustments that may support students’ learning.

For example, science teachers typically use more conjunctions in their discourse than do other teachers. This increases the general complexity of spoken instructions and information, potentially increasing difficulties with comprehension. Secondary students’ engagement in science typically decreases as they progress through secondary school, and students with language impairments are at increased risk of less positive attitudes to science than their peers who are progressing typically.

There are many ways that SLPs/SLTs collaborate with and support their teaching colleagues. The key emphasis this week’s chat is to share expertise, relevant research, and ideas on collaborating with teachers. I hope that, by sharing ideas around collaboration, we can help to develop good relationships between teachers and SLP/SLTs for the long term wellbeing of our students.




Q1 What key academic tasks have a high language load? what are some of their language features and structures? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What interventions and strategies assist students to manage tasks with a high language load? #WeSpeechies

Q3: Does the increased use of digital technologies impact on the language demands of academic tasks? How? #WeSpeechies

Q4 How can SLPs/SLTs assist teachers to make adjustments which support students with language impairments? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #82 with Nathaniel Swain

Date: Tuesday 23 February 2016
Time: 8:00pm AEDT for 1 hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Daylight Time (Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Nathaniel Swain @NathanielRSwain (February 21 - February 27)

Topic: What do we mean by “higher order language skills”, and is this term useful?

This week I want to discuss “higher order language skills” with SLPs/SLTs in our network. When working with older children and/or adolescents with language impairment, we are likely to have come across this commonly used, but poorly defined term that could include consideration of the following areas:

  • discourse
  • inferencing
  • abstract language
  • non-literal language
  • metalinguistics (the language of language)
  • metacognition (thinking about one’s thinking)
  • self-monitoring
  • interpretation of complex language
  • multiple meanings in words and sentences
  • using language for complex tasks (e.g., debating arguing convincing persuading)
  • narrative cohesion

This term is also sometimes used in literature about TBI or cognitive-communication disorder. After researching this topic, it seems clear to me that we do not yet have a clear definition of ‘higher order language’.

For some clinicians and researchers, higher order language is equated with metalinguistics, or skills involved with ‘complex language’. There are larger issues around the definition of ‘complex language’, but this may be important to unravel to work towards a better definition of higher order language. Some authors in education or psychology use the corresponding terms ‘higher order cognitive skills’, or ‘higher order learning’. These are often defined using learning taxonomies, such as Bloom’s Taxonomy, which attempt to classify a hierarchy of forms of learning. These range from low order skills such as remembering, or understanding, to higher order skills such as evaluating and synthesising.

Maybe we need a similar taxonomy or hierarchy for the construct of ‘higher order language skills’? Do we need to define that construct first? How can we shape our understanding of this construct so that it becomes a more functional and useful one for our own understanding and for our clients, when trying to improve language skills, as well as advocating for their needs in wider society?

Throughout the week I seek your counsel and insight for this concept, and hope to have a spirited discussion about ‘Higher Order Language’ skills with #wespeechies everywhere.




Q1 What do we mean by ‘higher order language’ skills? Let’s make a list! #WeSpeechies

Q2 What skills do you feel might NOT be included as ‘higher order language’? #WeSpeechies

Q3 How is ‘higher order language’ different from metalinguistics? Or other areas of language? #WeSpeechies

Q4 Is the term ‘higher order language’ useful for clinical practice or research? Is there an alternative? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #81 with Melanie Gibson

Date: Tuesday 16 February 2016
Time: 8:00pm AEDT for 1 hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Daylight Time (Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Melanie Gibson @Speech_Blossoms (February 14 - February 20)

Topic: Using Social Media as an #SLP2b/#SLT2b: Perspectives of a new graduate #SLP

There are many challenges and successes on the path to becoming a speech-language pathologist/speech and language therapist (SLP/SLT) and the journey may feel long and—at times—quite scary. However, you are not alone. Thanks to social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, students are able to connect with their peers, and leaders in the field, from all over the globe 24/7.

For students, online professional communities can extend the real classroom to a virtual classroom in your pocket. No more waiting for the next class or for emails to be read to have a questioned answered—in social media there is an online community to ask ‘right now’!

Slowly and over time, though, participating in online professional communities, can enhance student learning by connecting with other students and experienced clinicians in an informal and positive environment. It is a place where students can receive or provide support and feedback, reflect on experiences, share or access ideas and information, keep up-to-date with current evidence-based practice and research, support professional development, and increase professional networks.

Online professional communities allow students global access to new graduates and seasoned professionals and encourages engagement in collaborative learning processes, increasing our knowledge base and expanding our thinking.

By inspiring, encouraging and learning and from each other, we will continue to be inquisitive and passionate about the field of SLP/SLT, allowing us to evolve both personally and professionally on the road to becoming a fully qualified SLP/SLT.

This week I’ll share my experiences of using social media as an #SLP2b/#SLT2b and I look forward to hearing your thoughts and experiences as well.




Q1: As an #SLP2B/#SLT2B What social media platforms do you prefer for connecting with others for learning professionally? #WeSpeechies

Q2: Do any of these platforms have particular advantages or disadvantages for learning? #WeSpeechies

Q3: Do you blend your personal self and #SLP2B self online or prefer to keep them separate? How do you manage this? #WeSpeechies

Q4: What tips would you give to other students & new grads to make the most out of using social media for learning/networking?  #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #80 with Gaenor Dixon

Date: Tuesday 9 February 2016
Time: 7:30pm AEDT for 1 hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Daylight Time (Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Gaenor Dixon @SPAPresident (February 7 - February 13)

Topic: What’s your vision? Speech Language Pathology/Therapy from now to 2030! #SP2030

Where will our profession be in 15 years’ time? How will we be practising? Who will be seeing? How many of us will be working? How diverse will the profession be? What skills will we need to work in the mid twenty first century? What skills will we no longer need? What do we want to ‘look like’ as a profession? How can we get to where we want to be as a profession?

Speech Pathology 2030 (#SP2030) is a Speech Pathology Australia futures project

As the peak body for the speech pathology profession in Australia, Speech Pathology Australia recognises the rapidly changing environment that speech pathologists work in—and this applies for many SLPs and SLTs around the world. For example, changes are occurring in client and community expectations, models of support, funding models, expectations regarding evidence-informed practice, and training pipelines and pathways. Speech Pathology Australia seeks to understand how these changes might evolve, and proactively work to positively influence the impact of them.

Ultimately, the project ‘SP2030’ is intended as an activity to inspire Speech Pathology Australia, its members, and the profession more broadly, to influence change. It will inform as well as guide responses to future trends influencing the profession, and focus on ensuring that opportunities are harnessed and challenges are prepared for. We hope that by engaging with SLPs and SLTs worldwide on this issue that we can also take global trends and the experiences and ideas of our international colleagues into account.

This week I aim to explore what our profession may ‘look like’ in15 years’ time. With increasing globalisation, discussions during the week, and in the chat on 9 February 2016, in particular offer opportunities to garner a worldwide perspective on the future direction of our profession, where we would like it to end up by 2030, and how to get it there.




Q1 What are some critical strategic issues that #WeSpeechies need to pay attention to now— that might affect their future service?

Q2 What obstacles currently exist to the progress of the profession in a positive direction? #WeSpeechies

Q3 What are our greatest opportunities towards improvements in the profession? #WeSpeechies

Q4 Are there any things that we need to let go of and move on from? And what should we keep as we move forward? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat 79 with Bronwyn Hemsley

Date: Tuesday 8 December 2015
Time: 7:00pm AEDT for 1 hour
Time Zone: Canberra, Sydney, Hobart, Melbourne time | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curators: Bronwyn Hemsley and Caroline Bowen (December 8-12)

Topic: Quo vadis, #WeSpeechies?

From December 8 to December 12, @WeSpeechies’ Administrators, Caroline Bowen @SpeechWoman and @BronwynHemsley hope speech-language professionals everywhere will contribute ideas and suggestions for the directions the handle might take in 2016, and of course, offers to curate. Here are the chat questions for December 8:



Q1 What have been your professional highlights over 2015? #WeSpeechies

Q2 Has your online engagement changed over 2015? how, and what led to this change? #WeSpeechies

Q3 What’s on your 2016 horizon, in the real world professionally, and online? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What’s your wish list for listening in on, or participating in, for #WeSpeechies’ topics in 2016?

Chat concludes

There will be no #WeSpeechies Chat on Tuesday 1st December...

. . . Because We're Riding and Writing

The @WeSpeechies Admins, Bronwyn Hemsley and Caroline Bowen will have their minds and energies on other things until December 8. Bronwyn is taking a short, well-earned holiday and is participating in the RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride from Ballarat to Bendigo. Meanwhile, one-time @WeSpeechies RoCur, Pam Snow (from Bendigo) is getting together with Caroline in the Blue Mountains to work on their forthcoming book, Making Sense of Interventions for Children's Developmental Difficulties. Expect random Tweets throughout the week on goldfields, camping, bike riding, wineries and beautiful Australian scenery (tagged #GreatVic); and collaboration, research, writing, writer's block, pseudoscientific interventions, and as Pam would say, scientific flapdoodle (tagged #WritingOurBook). #WeSpeechies' advice, information, encouragement and general spurring on, from around the world is welcome, Cheers!

Our Time Zone: Canberra, Sydney, Hobart, Melbourne time | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curators: Caroline Bowen and Bronwyn Hemsley

#WeSpeechies Chat #78 with Melanie Gibson, Bronwyn Hemsley and Caroline Bowen

Date: Tuesday 24 November 2015
Time: 8:00pm AEDT for 1 hour
Time Zone: Canberra, Sydney, Hobart, Melbourne time | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curators: Bronwyn Hemsley, Caroline Bowen and Melanie Gibson (November 22-28)

Topic ‘SLP2B/SLT2B Job Ready, Interview Ready’ skills

Once or twice in a year, our @WeSpeechies community faces the exciting prospect of colleagues, friends and (now former) students completing their #SLP2B/#SLT2B courses and entering the workforce as #WeSpeechies! This time is coming up in Australia and New Zealand, so we’d like to take this chance to help the #SLP2B and #SLT2B communities worldwide think, reflect, and talk about ‘job seeking’ and particularly about navigating the application and the job interview - before, during, and after!

In doing so, we’d like to draw upon the collective wisdom of #WeSpeechies who have been to job interviews as successful and unsuccessful applicants, and been on interview panels as interviewers or panellists. What helps people to become ‘job ready’, not only in terms of qualifications, but also in terms of presentation and performance in the time-limited and often high-pressure environment of a job interview? Members of interview panels do their best to help applicants to relax, and applicants can also do a lot of things to ensure that their ‘ability to do the job’ comes through well on the day.

What about assembling your CV or résumé, addressing the criteria in the job description, and practicing for the interview questions? How does an applicant prepare for the relatively new experience of ‘SIM’ practice in an interview context, or group interviews? Not all of us have been through all of these things, and our new graduates are entering the profession in a new era of interview techniques.

This is your chance to hear about what goes on in interviews these days, and the types of scenarios emerge - and you can give your own tips and tricks for surviving and thriving in interview settings, from the viewpoint of the interviewer or the interviewee. Along the way we’ll also talk about some ‘smarts’ that it pays to have when approaching particular job situations and work settings - what can the applicant ask the panel? What details can you gather before the interview to help you make a decision if offered the position? What’s important to know from a legal and financial standpoint? A professional role brings with it many responsibilities for both employers and employees - and what if you want, or feel you have to be, to be self-employed, or consulting?

This week @BronwynHemsley and @SpeechWoman will curate, with assistance from @SPUN_UON (curator @Speech_Blossoms, Ms Melanie Gibson, an #SLP2B in her final year) to engage with #SLP2B and #SLT2B community and #WeSpeechies worldwide in helping our students get ready for ‘interviews’ - with a very broad scope of questions and answers. In fact, we will pose one Key Question on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday and four questions in Melanie’s Tuesday chat. Feel free to pitch in and give your own tips and tricks of the trade, and anything to make the process more enjoyable and effective experience for all involved.

Key Questions

Sunday 22 November
What is the best #WeSpeechies job interview you have had? And the one you’d prefer to forget?

Monday 23 November
How do you tailor your CV and job application to the job being advertised? #WeSpeechies
What do you do to ensure your Cover letter, CV, and Response to Criteria meet the advertised job's requirements?

Tuesday 24 November
See the four chat questions below

Wednesday 25 November
What do YOU ask in a job interview as an applicant for a position in public health/education/non-profit organisation?  #WeSpeechies

Thursday 26 November
What need applicants to Private/Independent Practice positions ask employers before accepting a contract? #WeSpeechies
Here are some suggestions for questions interviewees for private/independent practice positions might ask. and TRANSCRIPT

Friday 27 November
1. #WeSpeechies! So our #SLP2B/s #SLT2B/s got their jobs! How will YOU support your new colleagues, just starting out?
2. So, #SLP2B/s #SLT2B/s you got the job! What support do YOU hope for from #WeSpeechies colleagues, as you start out?

Saturday 28 November
Let's talk about career progression, confidence building and moments of transition to independence, and forging professional identities.
#SLP2B #SLT2B #WeSpeechies how would you like clients, colleagues, friends & the community to perceive you as an SLP/SLT? You might like to read:
Webwords 53: Forging professional identities - November 2015

Questions for Tuesday #WeSpeechies hashtag Chat


Q1 What are your tips for preparing for an interview, #WeSpeechies?

Q2 Have you ever been asked to DO anything in an interview, #WeSpeechies? e.g., mock scenario, SIM, role play? What happened?

Q3 What is a good way to ask for feedback after an interview? Can it help? #WeSpeechies

Q4 How can you psych yourself up for an interview and stay calm? Does practice help? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #77 with Chris Lightfoot

Date: Tuesday 17 November 2015
Time: 8:00pm PST for 1 hour
Time Zone: PST (Vancouver) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Chris E Lightfoot @ChrisELightfoot (November 15 - November 21)

Topic: SLP/SLT as Serious Leisure Perspective: Second Careers in Speech-Language Pathology

Training to become speech-language pathologists/speech and language therapists (SLPs/SLTs) typically involves extensive undergraduate coursework in linguistics and/or psychology followed by graduate studies in speech-sciences. The path to becoming an SLP/SLT can demanding, with the list of prerequisites long and competition for a limited number of seats tough. Nevertheless, many people are drawn to the profession out of a passion for science, communication, teaching, creativity, flexibility, and perhaps above all, a desire to help people.

This week’s topic will be of interest to people who have become, or want to pursue, SLP/SLT as a second career, as we explore the when, why and how people have made career transitions. Discussion will touch on theories such as Donald Super’s ‘life-span, life-space approach’ which proposes that people cycle through stages of growth and exploration of interests, and establishment, maintenance and decline of careers, often many times before retirement. Discussion will also touch on Robert A. Stebbins' ironically abbreviated term ‘serious leisure perspective’ (SLP), in particular his concepts ‘fulfilment career’ and ‘devotee work’ to describe people whose pastime has become paid work which is a source of life satisfaction. Not everyone is able to ‘follow their dream’, however. Reasons why people are not able to transition to a career in SLP/SLT may also be explored. As an SLP/SLT who had a previous career, I look forward to sharing my perspective and hearing yours as well.




Q1 What led you to become an SLP/SLT as a second career? If not you, what might lead others towards SLP careers? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What aspects or skills from your previous career or training are most applicable to your current SLP/SLT role? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Which first careers do you think lead most or least smoothly into SLP/SLT second careers? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What advice would you give someone who is considering becoming an SLP/SLT later in life or as a second career? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

This week on @WeSpeechies, #WeSpeechies

Time Zone: AEDT (Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney time) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curators: Bronwyn Hemsley @BronwynHemsley and Caroline Bowen @SpeechWoman (November 8 - November 14)
Chat: No chat this week

Topic: Volunteering to curate the @WeSpeechies handle for a week in 2016

This week, the @WeSpeechies Administrators seek to fill as many spots as possible in the 2016 Rotation Curation (RoCur) calendar. The calendar is linked below, with available weeks in red.

Rather than having a Chat on Tuesday, we are happy to spend the whole week answering questions about the RoCur process and discussing what is involved when you take charge of the lighthouse. As well, we hope to engage some of our 55 previous curators - some of whom have curated two, three or more times - in talking about what assuming the RoCur mantle was like for them, and whether they experienced any ongoing 'benefits', personally or in terms of their academic, clinical or research work.

It would be good too, to hear from the >5,100 @WeSpeechies followers who are perhaps not interested in curating, but who would like to provide feedback, nominate curators, and suggest topics.

Finally, if there is anyone interested in initiating and administering a Rotation Curation handle, this would be a very good week to get into discussions with (now) experienced administrators and seasoned curators. Perhaps you are a British speech and language therapist who would like to run a @WeSLTs #RoCur in the We Communities stable, or an Audiologist somewhere in the world who would be interested to manage @WeAudiologists, or maybe you have an idea percolating away that @WeSpeechies haven't thought of!

Looking forward to hearing from lots of people from lots of places!

Bronwyn ^bh and Caroline ^cb











#WeSpeechies Chat #76 with Tom Sather

Date: Tuesday 3 November 2015
Time: 8:00pm CST for 1 hour
Time Zone: US CST (Chicago, Dallas, Kingston, Lima, Winnipeg time) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Thomas W Sather @TomSatherSLP (November 1 - November 7) BLOG

Topic: SLP/SLT service delivery in non-traditional environments

Speech-Language Pathology/Speech and Language Therapy (SLP/SLT) services are provided in a variety of settings that include schools, hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient departments and clinics. Meanwhile, SLP/SLT services are also offered in less common settings, such as aphasia camps and in international emergency relief situations, among others. These less common and non-clinic settings are referred to this week as ‘non-traditional environments’. They provide unique opportunities for learning, growth and development for clinicians and others engaged in delivering services; and for the participants in those services. 

This week’s discussions will focus on non-traditional environments for SLP/SLT services, and on the potential advantages and disadvantages of SLP/SLT provided in such environments. We will use the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) as a framework, specifically focusing on aspects of the environment.

Environmental factors are a part of the ICF and include the impact of the physical, social and attitudinal aspects of the environment that may influence functioning. Environmental factors, displayed diagrammatically below, may be positive (facilitators) or negative (barriers) as outlined in the ICF model, also shown below. We will discuss how barriers and facilitators relate to service provision in non-traditional settings. 

My familiarity with such environments relates primarily to aphasia camps. For the past twelve years, I have been part of the Chippewa Valley Aphasia Camp in western Wisconsin. This weekend-long, participation-based camp takes place at a YMCA camp, where, as a staff, we modify the environment to support participation and activity among all campers with aphasia and their families. I believe that environments like aphasia camps (and other such settings) provide unique and valuable opportunities for SLP/SLT service delivery.

Whether or not you have worked in non-traditional SLP/SLT settings, you will find the discussions this week to be worthwhile. I look forward to your input and learning more about your views and experiences of non-traditional settings of any type. 




Q1 What non-traditional SLP/T environments - beyond clinic walls - are you interested in and/or have had experience with? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What are potential advantages for providers and/or consumers in such non-traditional environments? #WeSpeechies

Q3 What are common barriers to SLP/T service delivery in non-traditional clinical environments? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What are some facilitators/enablers for enhancing SLP/T services within non-traditional environments? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes




#WeSpeechies Chat #75 with David Kinnane

Date: Tuesday 27 October 2015
Time: 8:00pm AEDT for 1 hour
Time Zone: Canberra, Sydney, Hobart, Melbourne time |
This week's curator: David Kinnane @speechbloke (October 25 – October 31)

Topic: Consumer protections and speech pathology services: Are we doing the right things at the right times?

This week's discussion is about consumer protection and speech-language pathology / speech and language therapy (SLP/SLT) something I'm passionate about as both a speech pathologist and a lawyer.

Although the form and content of specific consumer protections vary from country to country, general consumer rights usually include the right to safety, the right to be informed, the right to choose, the right to be heard and to seek redress for harm, the right to consumer education, and privacy. In healthcare, consumer rights include rights to healthcare, access to information, choice, participation, dignity, confidentiality, and complaints and redress, although again specific rights (and their enforceability) vary from country to country.

Consumer rights and protections give rise to several important legal, ethical and practical issues for SLPs/SLTs. For example, SLPs/SLTs must make decisions about how we:

  • provide information to the public about what we do (and do not do);
  • advertise and market our services to potential clients;
  • get informed client consents;
  • respect client choices;
  • handle complaints;
  • manage clients’ privacy; and,
  • balance, collaboration and competition (particularly in private practice).

Interesting questions include whether clients owe us any obligations when they retain our services and whether there is a straightforward relationship between evidence-based practice (E3BP) and consumer protection.

This week I’d like to explore these issues and find out what you think is most important in your SLP/SLT practice. 


My tweets during this week are not legal advice and you should seek legal advice before relying on anything discussed this week. Furthermore, no lawyer-client relationship is created with anyone who participates (or lurks!) on @WeSpeechies this week.  

Now the obligatory disclaimers are out of the way, please feel free to ask me anything. I look forward to chatting with you on consumer rights and protection.




Q1 What does ‘consumer’ protection mean when it comes to SLP/SLT services? Is ‘consumer’ the wrong word? #WeSpeechies

Q2 Which ‘consumer rights’ are most important for you as an SLP/SLT and what can we do to respect or protect these rights? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Do ‘consumers’ of SLP/SLT services have any responsibilities in relation to their engagement with the service? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What role (if any) does evidence-based practice E3BP in SLP/SLT service delivery play in protecting consumers' rights? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #74 with Joy Pénard

Date: Tuesday 20 October 2015
Time: 9:00pm CEST for 1 hour
Time Zone: Central European Summer Time | YOUR TIME ZONE
This weeks's curator: @JoyPenard (October 18 - 24)

Topic: Multilingualism in the 21st Century: Implications for Speech-Language Pathologists

The majority of the world’s population is multilingual (Grosjean, 2010).  However, there is only a small percentage of multilingual speech therapists and few tests tailored for multilingual assessments (ASHA, 2014). Most research on the topic of multilingualism to date has used monolingual models of language acquisition to compare multilingual development, leading to an expectation of multilinguals to "catch-up" to monolingual peers (Cruz-Ferreira, 2010).

At least anecdotally, SLPs/SLTs have the reputation in some quarters for being a detail-oriented, high-achieving group. We often spend hours researching and creating just the right age-appropriate materials for our students and patients. How can we ensure that this diligence extends to building our cultural competence and our understanding of how multilingualism affects language acquisition - and how it affects the materials we use?

Despite research demonstrating the devastating effects on family relations, reports of speech therapists, doctors, teachers and other professionals recommending a family use the majority language and reduce or stop using a minority home language are commonly seen on social media sites. An example of this can be seen on NPR, in This American Life, episode 567, Act 2.

In the age of evidence-based practice, how can we come together to disseminate research, and to ensure that best practices and up-to-date research on multilingualism is implemented?

Come and share your experiences with the @WeSpeechies global community and learn effective strategies for multilingual students and patients based on recent research.


Grosjean, F. (2010). Bilingual: life and reality. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. [book review by Nicole L. Sweeney]

Cruz-Ferreira, M. (2010). Multilingualism, language norms, and multilingual contexts. In Madalena Cruz-Ferreira (Ed.), Multilingual Norms (pp. 1-17). Frankfurt am Main, Peter Lang.




Q1 Which country are you in and what languages do you consider in your work with children and adults? #WeSpeechies

Q2 Do you think multilingual families are often advised to use the majority language instead of the home language? Why? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Do you have much access to evidence regarding multilingual development, assessment and intervention? What else is needed? #WeSpeechies

Q4 Do you have resources or materials to share with #WeSpeechies, parents, and others to help multilingual students and patients?

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #73 with Emma McLaughlin

Date: Tuesday 6 October 2015
Time: 8:00pm AEDT for 1 hour
Time Zone: (Canberra, Sydney, Hobart, Melbourne time) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Emma McLaughlin @EmmaMcLTU (October 4 - 10)

Topic: Dysphagia intervention for adults with acquired conditions - who, what, when, how and why?

Most people don’t think about eating and drinking very much until they have trouble (e.g., after a visit to the dentist, or when injured). We eat food for nourishment, and because it gives us pleasure, or to satiate a need. We drink for hydration, to quench thirst, to relax, and/or to celebrate with others. While eating and drinking are central to survival through nutrition and hydration - they are also central to our quality of life, culture, and identity. Eating and drinking are of critical importance for people with acquired health conditions (such as stroke, motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s disease, and traumatic brain injury) that impact their ability to swallow and manage secretions safely.

SLP/SLT practice has expanded immensely over the last 20 years, continuing to grow and include more and more aspects related to dysphagia, feeding, swallowing, and mealtimes. Dysphagia management is necessarily complex, person-centred, and ideally involves several professional disciplines working collaboratively with the person with dysphagia, towards mutually agreed goals. As SLPs’/SLTs’ scope of practice and knowledge broadens, we need to be very clear about who we are working with and what we are treating, how we are intervening, and what we are aiming to achieve when we work with adults with acquired dysphagia.

Clarity of purpose in the who, the what, the why, the when and the how of dysphagia interventions is vital in planning and implementing dysphagia treatments.

The importance of dysphagia management decisions is often related to the scale of their impact on ‘life’ and ‘death’ for people with dysphagia. As a result of this complexity and importance, working in the field of dysphagia can be a stressful field that impacts on us as professionals and as people. Our emotions and experiences may influence our practice - but how do we manage this in addition to all the other considerations that we must take into account?

This week I hope to foster discussion about assessment, diagnosis, intervention, decision making, evidence, outcome measures, ethics and many other considerations related to working with adults with dysphagia secondary to acquired health conditions (e.g., stroke, traumatic brain injury, progressive conditions).

In short, when we work with adults with acquired dysphagia, do we know what we are doing, and why we are doing it? Good question...let’s grab a coffee and talk it over on @WeSpeechies.




Q1 What are the greatest challenges you and your clients with acquired dysphagia face in relation to managing the dysphagia? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What factors do you take into account first when working with an adult with acquired dysphagia? #WeSpeechies

Q3 What might the statement ‘living successfully with dysphagia’ mean to people with acquired dysphagia; and to SLP/SLTs? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What tips would you give SLPs/SLTs, other health providers, & clients about progressing goals related to acquired dysphagia? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #72 with Megan Panatier

Date: Tuesday 29 September 2015
Time: 6:00pm PDT for one hour
Time Zone: Pacific Daylight Time (Los Angeles, Vancouver) (YOUR TIME ZONE)
Curator: Megan Panatier @meganpanatier (September 27 - October 3)

Topic: Online Personal Learning Networks (PLN) in speech language pathology: What's in it for me, and for us as a community?

Online Personal Learning Networks PLNs are expanding the way professionals connect with one another, share information, get to know colleagues from around the world, open doors to conferences that one might not be able to attend in person, and provide access to discussions and research at the touch of a smartphone.

Thanks to social media platforms such as Twitter, chatting with well-known identities in our field just down the road and halfway around the world is now common. Sharing therapy ideas with other clinicians, gaining insight into evidence based practice uses, and getting and giving feedback about any topic are all benefits of utilizing personal learning networks (PLNs).

PLNs are one application of current Information Communication Technologies (ICT) that can help to influence and advance our knowledge base in many areas. For people who are isolated and are unable to talk regularly with colleagues, a PLN can provide a mobile conferencing room in your pocket. With social media PLNs, there is always someone awake, somewhere on our planet, hoping to also connect and network with other curious minds.

Over the years, I have increased my PLN to include many kinds of people outside of the communication disorders and sciences field. Among the people I learn with and from are: scientists, artists, writers, comedians ... and I find that keeping an open mind just increases my chances of learning something every day. It is by learning something new every day that we can promote advances in our field. New learning inspires us to stay curious, relevant and ready to evolve in our important work as speech-language pathologists/speech and language therapists (SLPs/SLTs), around the world.

This week I’ll share my experiences and find out what you get out of using technology for professional learning, so that we all have a broader understanding of what’s in it for ourselves, and for our networks.




Q1 What is a Personal Learning Network PLN online to you? Who is part of your online PLN? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What social media platforms (FB, Twitter, etc.) do you use to build a PLN? What does each one add to your network? #WeSpeechies

Q3 How do you personally benefit from an expanding PLN? Will that also advance our profession? How? #WeSpeechies

Q4 Do you blend your ‘real world’ & ‘online’ PLN or are they separate? Can we get more of our real world contacts to the online PLN? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #71 with Adrian Bradley

Date: Tuesday 22 September 2015
Time: 9:30pm IST/BST for 1 hour
Time Zone: Irish Standard Time | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Adrian Bradley @ABradleySLT (September 20 - 26)

Topic: Men in speech language therapy/pathology: Addressing the gender imbalance positively

Gender (In)Equity: Lack of fairness or justice policies aimed at redressing inequity
Gender (In)Equality: Difference in size, degree, circumstances, etc.; lack of equality: e.g. social inequality
Gender (Im)Balance: Lack of proportion or relation between corresponding things

As a male SLT, I am intrigued by the topics of ‘men in speech language therapy’ and what can be done about the current ‘gender imbalance’ in our profession. There is no doubt that there are many more women than men in our profession. This week, I’m going to explore whether this gender imbalance matters in SLP/SLT, and find out what people think about encouraging males to become SLP/SLT professionals.

It is important that there be more men in the SLP/SLT profession, because the people we serve need to have access to clinicians with similar cultural characteristics . Also, good decision-making requires the ability to hear and consider different points of view. One way that this can become possible is having decisions that emanate from a team of people who have different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. 

I think that having a truly representative SLP/SLT workforce would send a clear message that we value diversity of thought and experience. It may also be the case that a gender balance approach helps in making a positive case for attracting more men into the profession.

So this week, I encourage speech-language professionals around the world to contribute to the discussion on encouraging the participation of men in our profession.




Q1 What is your experience of the gender distribution of SLTs/SLPs in your area? Does any gender imbalance matter? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What factors do you think have contributed to the male/female gender imbalance in SLP/SLT?#WeSpeechies

Q3 What might be the benefits be the people we serve in having access to a gender balanced SLT/SLP workforce?#WeSpeechies

Q4 What steps could be taken to further balance SLT/SLP as a profession? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #70 with John Pierce

Date: Tuesday 15 September 2015
Time: 8.00 pm AEST for 1 hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Standard Time| YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: John Pierce @JohnPierce85 (September 13-19)

Topic: Parkinson’s disease: Speech, swallowing and secretions

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disease, primarily affecting movement. It is a disease that affects an estimated seven to ten million people worldwide. Its symptoms are extremely varied and go far beyond the traditional tremor that Parkinson’s is known for. Some of the most troubling symptoms for patients with Parkinson’s include those managed by speech pathologists – dysphagia, dysarthria, dysphonia, poor saliva control, language changes, and cognitive changes.

Each person with Parkinson’s presents differently, so the challenge for speech-language pathologists/speech and language therapists (SLPs/SLTs) is to provide best practice across all domains. As it is a progressive disease, there are no easy answers to the many clinical questions that can arise.

This week we will discuss what helps in treating patients with Parkinson’s, share resources; explore challenges and opportunities in this area of work, and the implications of recent research.




Q1 What challenges do you experience in working with people with Parkinson’s disease? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What are your best tips for managing people with Parkinson’s - voice, speech, swallowing, saliva, communication? #WeSpeechies

Q3 What services and treatments are lacking for people living with Parkinson’s? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What new knowledge is needed to better work with patients with Parkinson’s? What could research be exploring? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #69 with Andrea McQueen

Date: Tuesday 8 September 2015
Time: 8.00 pm AEST for 1 hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Standard Time | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Andrea McQueen @aj_mcq (September 6-12)

Topic: Funding supports for people who use AAC/AugComm: An exploration of what is ‘reasonable’ and ‘necessary’ in the light of ‘equity’ and communication needs

Communication is the essence of human life ~ Light, 1997 

For people who have little or no speech, and for those whose speech is particularly difficult to understand, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC or #AugComm) systems provide vital means of communication and of participation in daily life (Beukelman & Mirenda, 2005). Funding for AAC systems varies, however, from country to country and often from state to state (or county to county or province to province) within countries.

Discussions of the current allocation of funding in AAC frequently focus on the provision of high-tech communication equipment. But if AAC is to be successful, funding must encompass a range of services. All AAC systems and strategies, including unaided systems, also involve the training needs, and on going support needs, of the person with communication disabilities and their communication partners. As well, funding is necessary at a community level to ensure that communities are communication accessible, and that appropriately trained communication assistants are available when required.

In considering funding of tools and equipment, the people behind funding schemes need to consider access to appropriate technology, supply of peripherals (e.g., external speakers, protective cases), and flexibility as new technologies are developed and old ones become obsolete. In addition, the needs of users change across the lifespan, and many users need access to several communication systems at any one time in order to meet all of their communication needs (Smith, 2011).

Given that funding and service delivery models change over time, it is important to reflect on the nature of AAC funding, and how to ensure that it is equitable and sustainable in light of budget limitations.

In Australia, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funding model represents a move to individualised funding. There is an increasing focus not only on what the person needs, but also what the person themselves might want, and decisions around what is reasonable and necessary to support that person’s participation in society. The scheme will also take into account the informal supports (which are not paid for) provided by family and friends (National Disability Insurance Scheme, 2014). 

This week we will talk about all aspects of AAC funding throughout the world, and relate this to some of the issues arising now with ‘individual funding’ for AAC. How do we decide what is provided? Who decides what is needed - or if something is not needed?  How can we make funding systems work optimally to support AAC users to communicate and participate throughout their lives?


Beukelman, D., & Miranda, P. (2005). Augmentative and alternative communication: Supporting children and adults with complex communication needs. (3rd ed.). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Company.

Light, J. (1997).  Communication is the essence of human life: reflections on communicative competence. Augmentative and Alternative Communication. 13(2), 61-70.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (2014): Reasonable and necessary supports

Smith, M. (2011). Embracing Technology (video file)




Q1 #WeSpeechies How is #AugComm funded in your state/country? What’s in and what’s out? What limits have been set? Don’t forget low tech!

Q2 Moving to individualised funding for #AugComm - what services will people with communication disabilities really value? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Are there gaps in the way AAC is funded? What is overlooked? Where would you like to see more funding allocated? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What ‘informal’ (unpaid) supports are needed for success in AAC? How do we ensure that these happen without funding? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #68 with Russell Cross

Date: Tuesday 1 September 2015
Time: 5:00pm EDT for 1 hour
Time Zone: Eastern Daylight Time | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Russell Cross @SpeechDudes (August 30 – September 5)

Topic: Speech Therapist? Speech-Language Therapist? Speech-Language Pathologist?
Topic: What do we call ourselves and how does that affect what others think we do?

Speech and language professionals are called by various names around the world:

Australia: Speech Pathologist
Canada, Cyprus, Malaysia, Malta and United States: Speech-Language Pathologist
France and French Canada: Orthophoniste
Hong Kong, Indonesia, the PhilippinesSingapore and Vietnam: Speech Therapist
Hungary, Iceland, Ireland and the United Kingdom: Speech and Language Therapist
Japan: Speech-Language-Hearing Therapist
New Zealand and South Africa: Speech-Language Therapist
And that’s not all: elsewhere in Europe we could be Orthophonistes or Logopedists, or …the list could go on and on.

As an international group we may agree generally on what it is we all do, but how do these labels affect what the rest of the world thinks we do?

Here’s a thought. When some of us refer to ourselves as “Speechies”, we may be tacitly acknowledging that we have an issue with what we call ourselves as professionals. Although long-used in Australia, the word “speechie” is relatively new in other countries. I would argue that it is used partly in order to avoid having to choose from all the possible variants mentioned above. Unconsciously, many of us have taken to using the diminutive and more colloquial “speechie” as perhaps a more international shorthand referent in our communications with each other, both in Twitter and in the real world.

To what extent does what we call our profession and ourselves affect what people outside the profession think of us? If you ask people what plumbers or dentist do, are their answers likely to be more accurate than they would be if asked what SLPs/SLTs/SPs/STs etc. etc. do? Do our colleagues in other professions really know what we do, and does this affect how they work with us? Do they only know from personal experience, or are their perceptions of what a “speechie” does shaped by mainstream media and movies? Do the general public, for instance, conceptualise a typical “speechie” as a friendly 1920’s Lionel Logue-like character with matinee idol good looks?

The Internet is a global computer network with massive information and communication capabilities. This means that nowadays, a quick search allows people who know nothing about what we do may be in a position to access copious – but not necessarily readily understandable or accurate – information. One thing that can confuse is the maze of different names for the profession. If my child is a slow talker, do I need a speech therapist, or a speech-language pathologist – or some other person?

So, this week, let’s think – and talk – about what we can do at a global level to help people understand what it is that #WeSpeechies do - and whether we are muddying the waters by not being unanimous in what we call ourselves in the real world. Is it time for a unifying name for our profession?




Q1 Does the official name that refers to your profession reflect what you do? Do you choose to use another term? Which one? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What are some misconceptions of what #WeSpeechies do that you’ve heard about from parents, patients, educators, funders, or the public?

Q3 What things do you do as #WeSpeechies that are rarely thought of or known to be part of what we do professionally?

Q4 What are TWO things we could do as an online community to foster better understanding of ALL of our professional roles? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #67 with Charlotte Forwood

Date: Tuesday 25 August 2015
Time: 8.00 pm AEST for 1 hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Standard Time| YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Charlotte Forwood @talkinged19  (August 23-29, Speech Pathology Week in Australia)

Topic: Literacy assessment and intervention with adolescents in the school setting

In her keynote address at the May 2015 Speech Pathology Australia National Conference in Canberra; Associate Professor Pamela Snow discussed a range of literacy-related issues. Among them was the remarkable information that an Industry Skills Council reports more than 7 million Australian adults are likely to experience difficulty with reading skills, including difficulty reading and following instructions, communicating reliably via email or interpreting graphs and charts. These people are not illiterate, but they don’t have the appropriate literacy skills required in the workforce. This unfortunate situation is replicated in workplaces around the globe.

Students’ access to speech therapy services in schools, anywhere you care to look, can be limited, reducing the opportunity for intervention to develop the five key areas of literacy: phonemic awareness, vocabulary, phonics, fluency and comprehension. Many of today’s infants/elementary and primary teachers attended school during the whole language education phase, so many have not been taught the literacy skills they now need to teach their own students in the foundational early grades. This means that students often enter secondary school with poor literacy skills – a matter of great concern to many speech-language pathologists.

Making links between oral and written language is vital. When people think about speech-language pathologists, in my experience, they are still more likely to associate them with developing spoken rather than written language skills. Could this be due to a lesser focus in our profession upon written language skills, than spoken language skills?

This chat and the week's conversations focus on ‘what is’ and ‘what could be’ when considering adolescents’ literacy needs, the role of speech-language pathologists/therapists with this client group, and optimal methods and models of service delivery. In the process we will discuss the skills we have and need to develop as speech-language pathologists/therapists working with adolescent literacy, the literacy-based challenges for adolescents living in a technology driven society and ways we can foster and develop positive collaboration with teachers.




Q1 What do literacy assessment and intervention ‘look like’ in secondary schools? A ‘rich’ or a ‘thin’ service? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What areas of literacy can SLPs/SLTs promote as areas of expertise? How can we promote these areas more effectively #WeSpeechies

Q3 How can speech language pathologists and teachers collaborate more effectively to develop literacy skills? #WeSpeechies

Q4 How can we help adolescents use ‘new media’ (e.g., texting) to help them communicate with others effectively? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #66 with Bronwyn Hemsley

Date: Tuesday 18 August 2015
Time: 08:00pm AEST for 1 hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Standard Time| YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Bronwyn Hemsley: @BronwynHemsley (August 16 – August 22)

Topic: Social Media and Communication Disability: Implications for Speech Language Professionals

People with a communication disability want and need to use social media to connect, engage, and exchange information. However, they are frequently excluded from discussions about increasing access to social media and remain under-represented in social media participation and research. As yet, there is little information from professional associations to guide speech and language professionals in their work for and with people with communication disability on social media platforms. This week on @WeSpeechies, Bronwyn aims to increase awareness of the important role of social media in communication within our profession, and to share more information about ‘how’ to do social media research with people who have communication disabilities.

Recently, a Special Issue of the journal ‘Disability and Rehabilitation’ entitled ‘Social Media and Communication’ was published to showcase research on social media and people with communication disabilities. The Special Issue was co-edited by Bronwyn at The University of Newcastle, Australia, and Janice Murray at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.

The Publishers (Taylor and Francis) have generously agreed to the Special Issue being made free access until 22 August 2015 to coincide with Bronwyn’s week curating @WeSpeechies. Each paper has a different focus on various social media platforms for adults and for children with communication disabilities.

Furthermore, responding to a request from @WeSpeechies, IGI Global, has kindly freed up, for a limited period, access to two book chapters by Dr. Stephen Dann that relate to social media ‘Twitter’ data and research.

Both the special issue and the book chapters by Dann (2015) are also linked on @WeSpeechies free access articles page.

During this week on @WeSpeechies, while these publications are still free to download, Bronwyn will engage in discussion with the authors, and discuss implications of the papers for speech language professionals worldwide. We hope that you will join in with @WeSpeechies worldwide to have your say about ‘communication’ and social media research.


2015 Special Issue of Disability and Rehabilitation, Issue, Vol 37 Issue 17

Dann, S. (2015a). Benchmarking Micro-Blog Performance: Twitter Content Classification Framework. In J. Burkhalter, & N. Wood (Eds.) Maximizing Commerce and Marketing Strategies through Micro-Blogging (pp. 313-332). Hershey, PA: Business Science Reference.
Dann, S. (2015b). Twitter Data Acquisition and Analysis: Methodology and Best Practice. In J. Burkhalter, & N. Wood (Eds.) Maximizing Commerce and Marketing Strategies through Micro-Blogging (pp. 280-296). Hershey, PA: Business Science Reference.

Hemsley, B., & Dann, S. (2015). Social media and social marketing in relation to facilitated communication: Harnessing the affordances of social media for knowledge translation, Evidence-Based Communication Assessment and Intervention, 8(4), 187-206.




Q1 How do you include a focus on social media in your SLP/SLT practice, with people with communication difficulties? #WeSpeechies

Q2 Does age really matter? Younger or older, how do we tailor our work on ‘social media communication’ work to people’s needs? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Is there REALLY a difference between ‘real’ and ‘virtual’ worlds for communication? What are the defining characteristics? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What can speech language professionals do to help others connect, engage, learn, and share information in social media? #WeSpeechies

Chat Concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #65 with Pauline Ackermann

Date: Tuesday 11 August 2015
Time: 08:00pm BST for 1 hour
Time Zone: British Summer Time | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Pauline Ackermann @P_Ackermann (August 9 – August 15)

Topic: The challenge and promise of ICT - Exploring the impact on the tasks and roles of SLPs/SLTs

The use of information and communication technology (ICT) in healthcare settings has become routine, usually with the stated aims of widening access to care, improving the flow of information between care providers, and ultimately improving the quality of care.

ICT takes varied forms in healthcare environments. Aspects of care may be delivered remotely through fixed or mobile technologies (i.e., telepractice, telemedicine, telerehabilitation) and in various formats (e.g., online text or video). Clinical tasks may be delivered digitally (e.g., with apps on tablets or other devices) in place of, or as well as, “the paperwork”. Also, records of clinical contacts may be entered into Electronic Health Records, collated onto a single platform from multiple sources of different types of electronic data. Social media are now also used in the healthcare environment.

This exploration of the engagement of SLPs/SLTs with ICT will start with a discussion of current terminology and concepts in eHealth. Pauline will bring to the surface the particular technologies SLPs/SLPs embrace in clinical practice, and will tease out which aspects of SLP/SLT service delivery (e.g., assessment and intervention), are impacted by rapid advances in ICT. She will encourage us to share with each other our experience of where the use of ICT has delivered on its promise to be of benefit, and also where the expected benefits have not been realised.

Over the week, Pauline will explore the impact of ICT on the identity and role of speech-language professionals’ service users, and family/carers, specifically as it relates to agency and control in therapy relationships. The notion of ICT competence in clinicians, particularly in terms of the ethical concerns arising from so much clinical work moving on to digital platforms, or through digital channels, will be discussed.

Large-scale ICT projects and their implementation may reflect the ways of working of medical and nursing personnel in hospital contexts. As members of multidisciplinary teams, SLPs/SLTs have roles to play in designing and implementing ICT methodologies in order to achieve team objectives, and how this may be achieved will be considered.

SLPs’/SLTs’ views will be sought on the principles that might optimally underpin future developments in the application of ICT in our profession. We will also explore the perspective that service users and citizens might take in regard to the principles and values that should underpin the use of ICT in the healthcare environment.




Q1 What Info Communication Technologies have you brought into routine clinical practice by your own initiative/ someone else’s? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What Info Communication Technologies that you engage with do you find beneficial? How do they help? #WeSpeechies

Q3 What challenges and/or risks are posed to #WeSpeechies and their clients & families by emerging Info Communication Technologies?

Q4 What principles and values would you, as #WeSpeechies, wish to see underpin future developments in ICT, as applied to our profession?

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #64 with Emily Cole

Date: Tuesday 4 August 2015
Time: 7:00am EDT for 1 hour
Time Zone: Eastern Daylight Time | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Emily Cole @ecoleSLP (August 2-8)

Topic: Schools-Based SLPs and working with children with complex needs

School students who have complex communication needs are a population that requires the development of both communication and literacy skills.

This week I would like to discuss how school-based SLPs can successfully manage all the components of communication development and literacy development for these students.  

I want to know:  ‘what works’ and ‘doesn’t work’ and how do we navigate a complex evidence base?  What are strategies for engaging partners to share the work and joys of communication development? If using communication systems, how do you decide to change or adapt the system? Where do you see the development of oral language in the mix of multimodal communication strategies? 

Finally, how do we make time for everything and get the paperwork done?




Q1 What questions could school-based SLPs/SLTs ask themselves when first meeting a student with complex needs? #WeSpeechies

Q2 How do SLPs/SLTs currently support the school staff to implement communication programming beyond therapy sessions? #WeSpeechies

Q3 How might SLPs/SLTs coordinate direct services, communicating with the team, monitoring progress, and documentation? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What is one thing you would tell a teacher or SLP/SLT starting to work with a student who has complex communication needs? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #63 with Jackie McRae

Date: Tuesday 28 July 2015
Time: 9:00am BST for 1 hour
Time Zone: British Summer Time| YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Jackie McRae @daisy_project (July 26 – August 1)

Topic: Critical Care Management in SLP/SLT: Trache/Vent, Dysphagia, Communication and Oral Care

As the number of people admitted to critical care in the UK increases, congratulatory reports (Intensive Care Society, 2015; NCEPOD, 2014) highlight the valuable role of SLTs in these settings. The realities of service provision, however, do not match the rhetoric and many patients in critical care miss out on our input in both the UK and Australia (Freeman-Sanderson, Togher, Phipps, & Elkins, 2011).

Speech-Language Pathologists/Speech and Language Therapists (SLPs/SLTs), now have in-depth knowledge of the interplay between the oral, pharyngeal and laryngeal functions needed for speech and swallowing, and we are often the only professionals in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) environment to give consideration to communication needs. But, recent publications (Ledlie & Cobby, 2014; Mullender, Wheatley, & Nethercott, 2014) have challenged the value of our roles, particularly in dysphagia. Furthermore, clinicians sometimes report that their recommendations are ignored in favour of a ‘quick fix’ rather than our more prolonged approach of therapy and long term gains.

I currently provide an Outreach Service, supporting SLTs in other ICUs to optimize their care to patients with complex spinal cord injury, so I see varied practices employed. My current practice includes overseeing good oral hygiene especially for those who are NBM (nil by mouth), supporting the ventilator and tracheostomy weaning process, contributing to team decisions about feeding and oral intake, and providing options for patient communication.

This week I would like to discuss service delivery and clinical practice issues in the critical care setting. We’ll consider ‘what works’ and ‘what doesn’t work’ in this demanding environment for these patients. Whether you’re an insider or an outsider to ICU or acute medical settings, @WeSpeechies would love to hear your thoughts about managing this complex range of roles and implications for SLPs/SLTs worldwide.


Freeman-Sanderson, A., Togher, L., Phipps, P., & Elkins, M. (2011). A clinical audit of the management of patients with a tracheostomy in an Australian tertiary hospital intensive care unit: Focus on speech-language pathology. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 13(6), 518-525. ABSTRACT

Intensive Care Society. (2015). Guidelines for Provision of Intensive Care Services (GPICS). DRAFT February 2015

Ledlie, N., & Cobby, T. (2014). Patients being ventilated with a cuff-inflated tracheostomy can safely be fed an oral diet. Paper presented at the The State of the Art 2014 Meeting, London.

Mullender, J. L., Wheatley, E. C., & Nethercott, D. R. (2014). Oral feed for patients with a tracheostomy: Balancing risks and benefits. Journal of the Intensive Care Society, 15(4), 336-339. OPEN ACCESS

NCEPOD. (2014). Tracheostomy Care: On the Right Trach? DOWNLOAD HERE




Q1 Do you work in Intensive Care Units? What are the barriers and facilitators to the SLP/SLT role in critical care? #wespeechies

Q2 What communication or dysphagia assessments, tools and interventions do you use or think are useful in critical care, #wespeechies?

Q3 In your hospital, does the ICU have a dedicated SLP/SLT? How can managers obtain dedicated funding for this service, #wespeechies?

Q4 Heard a positive ‘Impact of SLP/SLT in the ICU’ story? How can we demonstrate our impact with ICU staff and management, #wespeechies?

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #62 with Oonagh Reilly

Date: Tuesday 21 July 2015
Time: 1:00pm BST for 1 hour
Time Zone: British Summer Time | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's Curator: Oonagh Reilly @OonaghReilly (July 19 - July 25)

Topic: Creating a Safe Simulated (SIM) Learning Environment for SLT/SLP students

If you’ve ever seen the movie The Matrix or watched Star Trek, you’ll be familiar with either a holodeck or the concept of a computer-generated room in which you can practise martial arts against a computer-generated image or dictate the surroundings and who will be present, and what will happen.

Now transfer this to the clinical setting…high fidelity full context simulation involves the use of rooms equipped as hospital wards, operating theatres or home settings. With the help of service users who play themselves, we are able to create a semi-fictional world of different clinical scenarios. Students do not role-play; they are themselves and are given tasks to complete (e.g., case history taking, assessment or giving feedback). We can freeze frame the scenario at any time to help students consider alternative words or actions or even let them steam ahead to learn from the consequences of their actions! Students can ask for time out at any point to gather their thoughts or ask for help, and great attention (and time) is dedicated to the briefing and debriefing.

This is an environment in which it is safe to make mistakes, but in simulation there is nowhere to hide! We all like to perform to the best of our abilities in front of others, so how can we encourage students to fully engage and be prepared to take risks? How can we make this a psychologically safe environment?

I believe students learn best when they are relatively relaxed and open to learning, with little fear of ‘getting it wrong’ - so I would like to explore how we can encourage this in simulation and how this can be transferred to clinical placement and used by placement educators. Let’s hope lots of student SLT/SLPs will bring their perspectives to the discussion!

Log in as a guest



You can log in as a guest with the case sensitive password wespeechies to explore "all things simulation". This is a Birmingham City University site co-authored by Claire Hartley and this week's curator, Oonagh Reilly.




Q1 SLP/SLT, SLP2B or, SLT2B - what makes you feel safe when you’re learning clinically? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What are the optimal conditions to help you learn best? How can these be achieved in simulation? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Which features of simulation help to establish a safe learning environment? What are your top tips for SIM learning? #WeSpeechies

Q4 Which aspects of ‘safe learning’ in SIM can we transfer to student clinical placements? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #61 with Rachael-Anne Knight

Date: Tuesday 14 July 2015
Time: 9:00am BST for 1 hour
Time Zone: British Summer Time | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's Curator: Rachael-Anne Knight @r_a_knight (July 12 - July 18)

Topic: Prosody in Clinical Practice

Prosody relates to features which extend beyond a single segment, over perhaps a syllable, foot, word or an even bigger domain. Prosodic features are, for example, stress, intonation, tone and rhythm. Prosody can give us information about affect, and also grammatical and pragmatic functions such as whether an utterance is a question or a statement, and whether a speaker has finished their turn in a conversation. As such, prosody is seen as being crucial to effective spoken communication and intelligibility.

Despite these many functions, it seems that prosody is often overlooked in assessment and intervention in speech and language therapy, and somewhat the poor relation to other aspects of communication. Nevertheless, there are both assessments and interventions focusing on prosody for many client groups. Similar issues are also raised in teaching phonetics and phonology to student SLTs. There is a great deal of variability in if, and how much, prosody is taught on clinical courses, and how its relevance to clinical practice is shown.

This week, Rachael-Anne will generate enthusiasm for the three P’s among her Clinical Linguistics passions: prosody, phonetics and phonology.




Q1 In what ways do you think prosody is important for effective communication? #WeSpeechies

Q2 Do you include prosody in Assessment, Intervention or in another aspect of your practice? If no, why not? If yes, with whom? #WeSpeechies

Q3 How do you use prosody in Intervention with children and/or adults? Which of the various aspects of prosody do YOU focus on? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What core information do #SLP2B/s need to know about prosody? What’s essential/inessential? What’s best left for later study? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #60 with Lauren Jones

Date: Tuesday 23 June 2015
Time: 9:00pm BST for 1 hour
Time Zone: British Summer Time | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's Curator: Lauren Jones @Lauren_SLT (June 21 - June 27)

Topic: The role of SLPs/SLTs in mental capacity assessment for adults

When older people enter hospital through stroke, brain injury, or other health condition, it is important to determine all of the factors that might have led to the admission, and to adequately plan discharge to environments that will support their safe and enjoyable function to return home; or to supported residential care. An older person’s ‘mental capacity’ might be a difficult topic to broach with families, who are also dealing with the upset of the person’s admission to hospital. Sometimes, a person’s mental capacity has been in decline (at home) for some time, and the family may have noticed but not wanted to acknowledge it, or not been sure how much decline is ‘normal ageing’ and how much might be due to a health condition.

Our ‘mental capacity’ is often a very highly prized personal characteristic that is also highly valued in society. Reduced ‘mental capacity’ is often seen as a weakness, or occurs at a difficult stage at which decisions about residential care become more important. There are many aspects to ‘mental capacity’ that might be well-understood by health professionals, but not by families or the patients themselves. Mental capacity assessments are important in relation to some difficult decisions around enteral tube feeding, end of life wishes, and decisions around accommodation.

This week, Lauren will discuss her experiences in her role of facilitating mental capacity assessments in her work. She will invite you to reflect on aspects of the mental capacity assessment and the implications for the patient, family, and health providers involved. 




Q1 What are your experiences of doing or conducting a ‘mental capacity assessment’ as a speech language pathologist/therapist? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What helps a person with reduced or fluctuating mental capacity to communicate? #WeSpeechies

Q3 What are the main things to consider in the case of [fictional] "Mr Smith", #WeSpeechies?

Q4 What next, for [fictional] "Mr Smith", #WeSpeechies?

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #59 with Sean Pert

Date: Tuesday 16 June 2015
Time: 9:00pm BST for 1 hour
Time Zone: British Summer Time | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's Curator: Sean Pert @SeanPert (June 14 - June 20)

Topic: Treatment intensity and the impact on client outcomes: How do #WeSpeechies manage?

Until recently, treatment intensity has been overlooked as part of the evidence base. Treatment intensity refers to the number of sessions and total hours of face-to-face contact invloved in delivering a speech and language therapy intervention. It also includes concepts such as how many responses or inputs are given to a client within a particular therapy session.

Different models of service delivery including writing programmes for others to deliver, and giving recommendations and training the wider team to engage with the client has, in some instances led to reduced client contact from therapists. This may be especially true where global austerity has reduced the number of government funded services.

Previous research has highlighted that reduced treatment intensity may lead to poor outcomes to clients. This issue obscures the debate as to whether therapy is effective. What are the optimum treatment intensities for therapy, and should this be urgently considered by the profession?




Q1 Is treatment intensity critical to successful outcomes for some clients? Which ones? #WeSpeechies

Q2 How do you currently consider treatment intensity in your therapy planning and recommendations? #WeSpeechies

Q3 How could treatment intensity information be provided to parents, professionals and funders? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What do we need to do to make treatment intensity evidence more accessible and available? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #58 with Bronwyn Hemsley

Date: Tuesday 2 June 2015
Time: 6:00pm AWST for 1 hour
Time Zone: Australian Western Standard Time | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's Curator: Bronwyn Hemsley @BronwynHemsley (June 1 - June 5)

Topic: #WeSpeechies in Transit: Distance and Proximity in SLP/SLT

Associate Professor Bronwyn Hemsley is a speech pathologist with a special research, clinical, and personal interest in the use of Twitter for connection, engagement, support, and communication worldwide. Her work is funded by the Australian Research Council, and this week - after returning from a conference in Hawaii - she is visiting Edith Cowan University in Western Australia and disability organisations in WA, within her ‘Tweet Reach’ Discovery Early Career Research Award program (2014-2017).

This week on @WeSpeechies, Bronwyn will reflect on being one of the many #WeSpeechies in transit. As her co-administrator Caroline Bowen is also travelling, in Indonesia providing continuing professional development, the handle could take on the flavour of a ‘top tips for travellers’ as well as providing a forum for discussion about ‘moving around’ in our field of practice, research, and training.

What kinds of transit and travel appear in the lives of SLPs/SLTs? Some of us work on the move, providing domicillary services - moving from setting to setting within the period of the day or the regular week. It is not unusual for speech language professionals to move around from job to job: adept at taking up a new role, settling in, making connections within and across teams, making good progress, and knowing when to move on.

What happens when you travel for work; that challenges and expands your horizons beyond what is ‘at home’? When is it time to ‘stay put’ and not make those tracks beyond the familiar? How does travel impact on us before we go, during the trip, and in the recovery period afterwards? Join in this week, whether you have moved around a lot or would prefer to ‘stay put’ - and hear about what impacts on decisions to move, and outcomes of moving around in our field of SLP/SLT.




Q1 What kinds of transitions or ‘moves’ have you experienced, #WeSpeechies, whether in a day, a week, a month, or ‘years’ of practice?

Q2 How can #WeSpeechies prepare for transitions & moves: any ‘top tips’ for enjoying the ‘anticipation’ or 'implementation’ of the move?

Q3 What are some good reasons to make a ‘move’ or ‘stay put’ as #WeSpeechies - what helps us to decide where to ‘go’?

Q4 So we’re on the move - but where are we going? As #WeSpeechies, what resources can we use to help with strategic direction?

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #57 with Carol-Anne Murphy

Date: Tuesday 26 May 2015
Time: 9:00pm IST/BST for 1 hour
Time Zone: Irish Summer Time / British Summer Time | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's Curator: Carol-Anne Murphy @camisonup (May 24 - May 30)

Topic: Improving Children’s Comprehension of Spoken Language in the Context of a Weak Evidence Base

Language comprehension difficulties in children are explained by a variety of limitations, including poor knowledge of words and grammar and poor general processing skills including memory. The evidence base for intervention to develop comprehension is weak, and this is compounded by fewer research studies having been conducted in comprehension than in other areas of communication difficulty, such as expressive language. This is of particular concern, since comprehension difficulties contribute to a poorer prognosis for children than some other communication difficulties.

Successfully understanding a spoken message reflects the end point of several stages, from initial processing of the auditory signal, through analysing the sounds heard, extracting words and phrases and mapping to what is already known. All of this has to be done taking account of context, so a child may need to choose from different options for word- or sentence-meaning depending on the speaker’s intent. 

Speech and Language Therapists (SLPs) / Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs) use a number of approaches in therapy both directly, and indirectly with others who include parents and teachers. Therapy may include mediating the input so that the child hears frequent examples to increase learning and so that the most salient information is enhanced and augmented; explicit teaching of concepts, word meanings and structures; and providing strategies to support understanding. Supportive strategies include working with others to reduce the complexity of information the child is processing; providing visual supports; and working with the child to monitor their comprehension. Regardless of resource constraints on research and practice, improving comprehension is a critical objective when we consider the potential impacts on children’s ability to follow a conversation, to participate in, and benefit from, school activities and to enjoy and fully participate in everyday activities.

Why might intervention be less effective for comprehension difficulties than for other impairments of language? How do we best decide among different approaches to therapy in this context? What do clinicians, researchers, parents, children and others consider are the important priorities for developing this area? Carol-Anne Murphy (@camisonup) is looking forward to clinicians, academics and parents contributing to the discussion and sharing ideas so that we can collectively make progress on this important topic!




Q1Do #WeSpeechies and others really 'get' why children have language comprehension difficulties? How can we help to explain it? 

Q2 What factors (profile, assessment results, etc) do #WeSpeechies consider when choosing intervention approaches for comprehension? 

Q3 Given our weak evidence base what intervention approaches might #WeSpeechies use to improve language comprehension in children?

Q4 What could be our priority areas for future research to develop and enhance evidence-based practice in this area? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #56 with Andrea McQueen

Date: Tuesday 19 May 2015
Time: 8:00pm AEST (Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney time) for 1 hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Standard Time | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's Curator: Andrea McQueen @aj_mcq (May 17 - May 20)

Topic: Collaborative Teams of All Types: Implementing Team Models in Speech-Language Pathology / Speech and Language Therapy Services

Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) / Speech and Language therapists (SLTs) work in a diverse range of environments and with a wide variety of people - children and adults with communication or swallowing difficulties, and their families, and others. 

Some SLPs/SLTs are sole practitioners, while others form teams with other SLPs/SLTs and/or professionals from other disciplines. Sometimes the ‘ideals’ of teamwork work are difficult to realise in practice, because of a range of factors affecting implementation of strategies to enhance various models of teamwork.

Whether we work in teams on one site, or spread across a wide geographical area, it is important to consider the purpose of the team and its individual members’ roles to foster effective collaborative practice. But what do we really know about teamwork in SLP/SLT?  How can being part of a team enhance our practice?  Which models of teamwork are most successful?  How can you make the most of opportunities for teamwork in your workplace and avoid the pitfalls?

This week on @WeSpeechies Andrea McQueen will guide us through her own diverse experiences in working in teams of different types, so as to bring to our attention many factors impacting upon good teamwork. She will encourage you to reflect upon both negative and positive experiences of working within teams of different types, recognising that our diverse experiences can lead to new insights on ‘what makes teams work’ to improve service delivery across a variety of populations.

With a focus on implementation of great principles of teamwork and collaboration, some policy guideline links are provided for background reading (see also the journal articles associated with this topic, here).

Australian Policies

Speech Pathology Australia (2009) Policy Statement: Transdisciplinary Practice {pdf}

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) (2013). Teamwork in early childhood intervention services: recommended practices {pdf}


Gilbert, K. (2008). The evidence base for an effective chronic disease collaborative {pdf}




Q1 What have you found are some pros and cons of different team models (e.g., multidisciplinary, transdisciplinary…)? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What do you think are ‘the secrets’ of successful team collaboration? Are there ‘unwritten rules’ that can help? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Is it important to maintain your individual discipline identity within a team? Do you have any strategies to achieve this? #WeSpeechies

Q4 If you lack a formal team, what are some ways to establish informal teams and networks in your area of work? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #55 with Claire Smith

Date: Tuesday 12 May 2015
Time: 8:00pm BST for 1 hour
Time Zone: British Summer Time | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's Curator: Clare Smith @clarrysmith (May 10 - May 16)

Topic: Screen time and child development: Exploring the impact of audiovisual and interactive screens from all angles

There is no doubt that we live in a time of rapid technological advances. Travelling on a London Underground train recently, I estimated that around 70% of passengers were using smartphones. The screen has exploded out of cinemas and living room TVs and into people’s back pockets. In addition, small screen based technology has provided a platform for many other uses, including, but not limited to social networking, audio-visual communication (such as Skype and Facetime), education and gaming.

The widespread adoption of the small screen is said to be changing behaviours (Ley, et al., 2014) and questions have been raised about the effects of screen time on child development (Ebbeck, et al., 2015). This is no new phenomenon; indeed the effect of the television on children’s development was questioned by Meerloo, back in 1956. Concern was raised in 2005 when a UK survey reported 20% of young children had a television in their bedrooms. Nowadays, many children have regular access to up to five screen based devices in their own homes (Kesten, et al., 2015).

Over the years screen use has been reported to be associated with both a range of positive and negative developmental outcomes. Across the research to date, the variety of aspects examined obviously makes it impossible to generalise findings from different studies to all screens, all media and all user behaviour.  None-the-less, certain trends emerge.

There are of course advantages associated with the availability and use of screen technology for communication, learning, and social connectedness. Applications have been developed to support child development, and social media platforms may facilitate networking for children with their peers, families, and many other people. By contrast, there are potential risks to children’s privacy, safety and mental health that may result from unsupervised use of Internet based apps on the small screen (Broughton, 2005).

As speech-language professionals, we face many decisions about how much to recommend or use ‘screens’ in our work with children and families. We must take account of all of the evidence, not only the representations made in the mainstream media. On @WeSpeechies this week, I will challenge all taking part in discussions, and reading along, to consider the role of speech-language professionals in providing reliable advice to parents on screen use and how we might adopt screen use in our own clinical practice.

Clare Smith's Blog: 'Blogsmith'

SUNDAY: Chatting about screen use on WeSpeechies
MONDAY: Commentary and links
WEDNESDAY: Tuesday Chat overview and reflections


BROUGHTON, D. D. 2005. Keeping kids safe in cyberspace: Pediatricians should talk to patients, parents about Internet dangers. AAP News, 26, 11-12.

EBBECK, M., YIM, H. Y. B., CHAN, Y. & GOH, M. 2015. Singaporean parents’ views of their young children’s access and use of technological devices. Early Childhood Education Journal. ABSTRACT

KESTEN, J. M., SEBIRE, S. J., TURNER, K. M., STEWART-BROWN, S., BENTLEY, G. & JAGO, R. 2015. Associations between rule-based parenting practices and child screen viewing: A cross-sectional study. Preventive Medicine Reports, 2, 84-89.

LEY, B., OGONOWSKI, C., HESS, J., REICHLING, T., WAN, L. & WULF, V. 2014. Impacts of new technologies on media usage and social behaviour in domestic environments. Behaviour & Information Technology, 33, 815-828. ABSTRACT

MEERLOO, J. A. M. 1956. Technology invades our minds. The rape of the mind: The psychology of thought control, menticide, and brainwashing. Cleveland, OH, US: The World Publishing Company. Purchase facsimile edition




Q1 What do #WeSpeechies need to consider when advising clients and the public on screen use & child development?

Q2 Need #WeSpeechies incorporate information on child screen use into our assessment and treatment of children and adolescents?

Q3 What are the benefits & risks of #WeSpeechies using screen based technology in clinical practice? Do we relay these to children/parents?

Q4 How do you access information about screen based technology, child development and clinical practice? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #54 with Belinda Hill

Date: Tuesday 5 May 2015
Time: 8:00pm AEST (Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney time) for 1 hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Standard Time | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's Curator: Belinda Hill @TheraBees (May 3 - May 9)

Topic: Building a private practice: Strategies for creating an ethical, sustainable and progressive balance in a speech pathology service

Anecdotal reports suggest that the number of speech-language pathology (SLP) /speech and language therapy (SLT) private (or independent) practices is growing and some practitioners feel that the complexity of operating and successfully managing such an entity is increasing. Being both ‘business operator’ and ‘health professional’ is challenging. While new graduates are equipped with the clinical skills for speech pathology service, the necessary business competencies may, through want of training and/or experience, be lacking.

Unfortunately, in a private, or independent practice, poor business management can pose both ethical and legal dilemmas for speech language professionals. Learning the necessary business skills ‘on the run’ while performing a clinical role can result in stress and have unforeseen consequences.

Once established, speech language professionals must manage a business entity that is financially viable while maintaining consistent ethical and evidence-based practices. Connecting with other speech and language professionals for support and mentoring is one way private practitioners can continue to grow and learn about successful health business practice.

Over her 20 years of private practice, Belinda Hill has learnt from experience, and from colleagues, that a key factor in 'surviving' the challenges has been the ability to evolve as societal change occurs. These changes are diverse and can include changes in market competition, funding models, the evidence-base, practice workplace laws, human resources issues, service provision laws and standards, professional association guidance, lifestyle changes, and personal circumstances.

While successful and sustainable practices are efficient, as geographical boundaries shrink and market competition increases, it is important to be aware of individual points of difference and strengths. These may be related to clinical interests, business practices, or service delivery. Even more senior clinicians - often suitably trained or experienced in managing a complex caseload - may have limited knowledge in the area of management of employees, from recruitment to completion of employment. When staff members are provided with a supportive and nurturing workplace, benefits can flow on to clients and positively impact the financial stability of the business.

During this week’s chat and discussions, Belinda will focus on ways to ‘survive and thrive’ in a private practice, taking account of many competing demands and issues facing private practitioners.




Q1 What are your best tips for starting up and surviving in a ‘private practice’ or ‘independent practice’ model of service? #WeSpeechies

Q2 If you manage, work in, or work alongside a private practice, what is that enterprise’s ‘point of difference?’ #WeSpeechies

Q3 How can private practices motivate and retain quality staff – both speech language professionals and administrative staff?  #WeSpeechies

Q4 What are some challenges to, & facilitators for, increasing & sustaining business & clinical services in a private practice? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #53 with Kathleen Munro

Date: Tuesday 28 April 2015
Time: 8:00pm ACST (Adelaide time) for 1 hour
Time Zone: Australian Central Standard Time | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's Curator: Kathleen Munro @speechiekate (April 26 - May 2)

Topic: Parents as Very Important Partners (VIPs): How can we work together to optimise outcomes?

As Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) / Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) we often provide or recommend extra ‘work’ for our clients to do in their own time—in the form of ‘home programs’ or ‘home practice’ or ‘homework’—and we know when this isn’t being done. But do we always know whether this work is feasible for families? Or whether it fits in with their everyday lives?

Parents want therapists to consider the impact of ‘therapy homework’ on their family-lives—including the impact on quality of life and on relationships.

SLP/SLT homework can encompass many things, ranging from using a child’s Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) or visual communication supports, to performing articulation therapy drill. Even though families and clinicians both want to optimise the effects of therapy, homework can still be difficult to ‘fit in’ and hard to complete.

This week on @WeSpeechies, Kate Munro will open the dialogue and ask our Very Important Partners (VIPs: parents and others) the what, where, when, and why of work not being completed—and what would work more effectively?

What can SLPs/SLTs do to make it easier?
What kind of work is achievable?

Why is extra ‘work’ at home important?
What helps parents to do your recommended or requested activities?

In this week’s #WeSpeechies chat, SLPs/SLTs will share the floor with our VIPs to help us understand what the annoying things are, what needs greater emphasis, what we could be doing differently, and how we can best work together for great outcomes.




Q1 Very Important Partners including parents, what ‘extra work’ does your SLP/SLT set work to do outside of therapy? #WeSpeechies

Q2 Is the ‘extra work’ feasible for you? What activities are easy to fit into your lives and what activities are too hard? #WeSpeechies

Q3 SLPs/SLTs, what helps families to do extra activities at home? How do you modify tasks to suit families? #WeSpeechies

Q4 Parents, if you could tell your speech pathologist one thing about doing therapy ‘work’ at home, what would it be? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #52 with Claire Hartley

Date: Tuesday 21 April 2015
Time: 11:00am BST for 1 hour
Time Zone: British Summer Time | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's Curator: Claire Hartley @cljclh (April 19 - April 25)

Topic: Simulation as a Learning and Teaching Tool in SLT/SLP Education

You can LOGIN as Guest (see the blue rectangle) with the password wespeechies (all lower case) to explore "all things simulation", a Birmingham City University site co-authored by Claire Hartley and Oonagh Reilly.

Patient simulation is a strong feature in nursing, medicine, pharmacy, dentistry and chiropractic curricula (Zraick, 2002), but it is still an emerging learning and teaching methodology in SLT/SLP Education. Expanding on an introductory week on simulation, held from December 7 to 13, 2014 on @WeSpeechies, this week’s discussions focus specifically on the standardised or simulated patient simulation methodology. Discussions also provide tweeters with guidance as to how to involve service users in developing, running and debriefing simulations bringing “the unique and valuable expertise” (Purves et al., 2013 p.378) of people with communication disorders to the curriculum. As well, thought is given to how best to use actors, and include paediatric cases in standardised/simulated patient simulation scenarios.   

As a methodology, simulation enables individuals to practice skills without putting real clients at risk (Friberg, et al., 2013); in doing so there is a perception - which lacks an evidence base - that this makes students more prepared for real clinical situations. Some professional groups such as physiotherapy (e.g., Blackstock et al., 2013) have agreed that simulation based education can replace clinical hours, enabling more capacity within the clinical education system.

As the “Embedding Simulation in Clinical Training in Speech Pathology” Project team embark on a randomised controlled trial investigating the use of simulated learning environments with Australian Universities, this is a chance for interested clinicians to share experience and learn from others. If you want to/have to develop simulations, or are interested in service user involvement more generally, this week’s chat offers food for thought. 

Friberg, J., Ginsberg, S., Visconti, C., & Shober-Peterson, D. (2013). This Isn't the Same Old Book Learning: Learn about interprofessional education and patient simulations at the 2013 ASHA Convention. The ASHA Leader, June 2013, 18, 32-33.

Purves, B. A., Peterson, J., & Puurveen, G. (2013). An Aphasia Mentoring Program: Perspectives of Speech‐Language Pathology Students and of Mentors With Aphasia.  American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology Vol. 22 S370–S379

Theodoros, D., Davidson, B., Hill, A., & MacBean, N. (2010). Health Workforce Australia: Simulated Learning Environments Project: Final Report. The University of Queensland.

Zraick, R. (2002). The Use of Standardized Patients in Speech-Language Pathology.  SIG 10 Perspectives on Issues in Higher Education, June 2002, 5, 14-16.   




Q1 Do you or could you use standardised patient simulations to develop staff/students’ knowledge or skills? #WeSpeechies

Q2 Need standardised patients be service users or actors? What might the benefits and challenges of each of these options? #WeSpeechies

Q3 How could you or your organisation work with service users and SIM to enhance what is already offered? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What are your recommendations / ideas for establishing standardised patient simulations and/or service user involvement? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #51 with Caroline Bowen as @TxChoices

Date: Tuesday 14 April 2015
Time: 6:00pm AEST for 1 hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Standard Time | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's Curator: Caroline Bowen: @TxChoices (April 12 - April 18)

Topic: Making Sense of Interventions for Children’s Developmental Difficulties

In February 2015, Caroline Bowen and Pamela Snow signed a contract with J&R Press to write a new book for parents and the wider community, professionals, and health and media publishers, writers and presenters. The book, Making Sense of Interventions for Children’s Developmental Difficulties @TxChoices, is about non-evidence based crank or fad interventions for children’s speech, language, literacy, fluency, voice, communication, behaviour and social connectedness. It also guides readers to interventions that are underpinned by science.

The fads proliferate in the fields of education, psychology, medicine, alternative and complementary medicine (CAM), speech and language therapy and allied professions. The shonky interventions range from costly (and often complicated) diets and dietary supplements to alleviate speech problems, to spectacles with coloured lenses that cure dyslexia, to music CDs that boost academic performance and/or social connectedness, to weighted clothing to ameliorate the manifestations of autism and hyperactivity, to curricula that remediate specific learning difficulties, and more. These thrive alongside a raft of pseudoscientific ‘cures’ for apraxia, ADHD, (C)APD, articulation disorders, stammering (stuttering), voice disorders and behaviours of concern, as well as remedies for a number of ‘made-up’ conditions such as Functional Disconnection Disorder, Sensory Integration Disorder and Irlen Syndrome.

Typically, fads are marketed, spruiked and talked-up to parents and professionals, including teachers, speech and language therapists (SLTs), occupational therapists (OTs), psychologists and allied health professionals (AHPs), usually without a scrap of evidence. Sometimes professionals themselves get caught up in the hype and fail to adequately critique the evidence behind such approaches. The hype surrounding fads is persuasive, the advertising seductive, the lure of the quick fix often irresistible, and the endorsements emotive and plausible – often playing to a parent’s insecurities, anxiety and guilt over their child’s predicament. Among those who are not quite convinced about the benefits, there are even those who purchase them on an it-might-work-and-it-can’t hurt basis. After all, what parent would not want to give their child every possible chance of success?

This week, Caroline Bowen @SpeechWoman curates the @WeSpeechies handle to encourage the @WeSpeechies community to discuss fad interventions, make suggestions for fads that might usefully be included in Making Sense of Interventions for Children’s Developmental Difficulties, and other resources, and help us all with our thinking as we travel this often distasteful road.


Bowen, C. and Snow, P. C. (forthcoming, about January 2017). Making Sense of Interventions for Children’s Developmental Difficulties. Guildford: J&R Press.




Q1 Sock it me baby! Name a fad/crank intervention/website that needs our attention. Has it impacted your practice/families? #WeSpeechies

Q2 Why do you think crank treatments thrive and survive. Do mainstream treatments or professionals fall short? #WeSpeechies

Q3 “I incorporate [name of a crank tx] into my practice. It-might-work-and-it-can’t-hurt". But what harm can it do? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What is one crank intervention you would like removed from public popularity/mass media/clinical practice forever? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #50 with Bronwyn Hemsley

Date: Tuesday 7 April 2015
Time: 8:00pm AEST for 1 hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Standard Time | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's Curator: Bronwyn Hemsley: @BronwynHemsley (April 5 - April 11)

Topic: Tweeting, listening, lurking, and learning on Twitter: The warp and weft of Twitter

Following a review of the speech pathology literature in 2014, Hemsley & Bowen (2014) discovered a ‘very thin literature’ relating to the use of Twitter. No literature on the use of social media in our profession made any mention of ‘lurking’ behaviours or their value for learning and maintaining connectedness to professional learning, practice, or support. It is known, however, that 90% of tweeters ‘lurk’ (or listen; or read silently). This implies that lurking is of great value, and that the experiences of lurkers might be important to understand when creating guidelines for the use of social media for speech and language professionals.

This week, Bronwyn will focus our attention upon the research relating to ‘lurking in Twitter’ across disciplines, and seek to discuss the implications of this for speech-language pathology worldwide. Along with the more active tweeters in the @WeSpeechies network, she will invite the more active ‘tweet readers’ (lurkers, listeners, or silent readers) to help us all to understand the phenomenon and experience of ‘being a lurker in Twitter’ as a speech language pathologist.

Hemsley, B. & Bowen, C. (2014). A Call for Evidence To Inform The Use of Twitter in Speech Language Pathology. Journal of the Speech-Language-Hearing Association of Taiwan, 33, 61-72.




Q1 Terminology: How does the term ‘lurker’ fit with what it ‘means’ for you, or ‘not fit’ with your experience of lurking? #WeSpeechies

Q2 Guidance: what tips would you have for lurkers, to help ‘newbies’ in Twitter who really want to lurk more than tweet? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Limitations: Do you ever feel ‘limited’ by your own lurking behaviour in Twitter? What do you do about it? #WeSpeechies

Q4 Pre-Debate Chat: Lurking is better than Tweeting – discuss, #WeSpeechies!

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #49 with Jill Bradshaw

Date: Tuesday 31 March 2015
Time: 8:00pm BST for 1 hour
Time Zone: British Summer Time | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's Curator: Jill Bradshaw: @JillBradshaw13 (March 29 - April 4)

Topic: Making great services for people with learning disability/intellectual disability

How do we make great services and an inclusive society for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) / learning disabilities (LD)?

Services for people with IDD or LD have undergone dramatic changes with the move from institutional to community living. Whilst we have some fantastic services, the move to the community hasn’t necessarily brought about the expected improvements in quality of life or improved inclusion or self-determination.  Many people with IDD or LD still spend too much of their time unoccupied, having things done for and to them, without the opportunity to make meaningful choices.  They are much more likely to have unrecognized and unmet health needs. Compared to the general population, they are much more likely than to experience hate crime and victimization. 

We don’t spend nearly enough time trying to find out about what they, the people themselves, think and want, and instead tend to rely on ‘proxy’ reports. Too often, people with IDD/LD and their families are not listened to, and positive strategies such as Active Support, Person Centred Planning, Visual Supports, and Augmentative and Alternative Communication systems are not necessarily implemented consistently across services.

Consulting directly with people with IDD/LD can be difficult but is important. In this week’s chat we will discuss how to make a positive difference in the lives of people with IDD/LD. We will consider what we mean by good communication, and what we know about communication quality. And importantly, we will talk about what people with IDD/LD say matters to them in terms of good communication, and think about what practical things we can do to bring about positive changes in society for people with IDD/LD.




Q1 What does 'good communication' in IDD/LD services look like? Share an example! #WeSpeechies

Q2 How can we improve the quality of communication within services for people with IDD and/or LD? What are your views? #WeSpeechies

Q3. How can #WeSpeechies include the views of those who are  ‘experts by experience’ in relation to good communication?

Q4 What might #WeSpeechies and others do to help support good communication in services for people with IDD and/or LD?

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #48 with Mike Cannon

Date: Tuesday 24 March 2015
Time: 8:00pm EDT for 1 hour
Time Zone: Eastern Daylight Time | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's Curator: Mike Cannon: @Journals2025 and @ASHAJournals (March 22-28)

Topic: Increasing access to SLP/SLT peer reviewed literature for improved research translation: A concerted community effort

‘Research translation’ increasingly is the subject of discussion and debate, but what does it really mean? The term itself can convey some magical notion that upon a discovery being made, clinicians will have the tools and guidance at their disposal to achieve definitively better outcomes for their patients and clients. That’s the (perhaps) hoped for type of translation.

Ultimately, though, research translation is about change. A major shift in practice is complicated, impactful, disruptive, and the product of people. Every research translation effort can only thrive if all stakeholders are involved and working together. Completion of a research translation effort in a given area, therefore, requires structure and informed stakeholders. It also requires the energy and coordination of many different people.

Because of the nature of published research and the rapid change in online tools and technology at any individual’s disposal, I’d like to explore a framework in which networking, compiling resources, and connecting in order to learn, can truly advance understanding.



Q1 How can our own networks most effectively develop to advance change as discoveries are made? #WeSpeechies

Q2 Do we have enough online “compilers” of information? What sort of curation is most helpful for improved research translation? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Are online tools effective for connecting our network and actively learning together? Do you see yourself doing this? #WeSpeechies

Q4 How should published literature change to promote accessibility and use, either broadly or at the individual article level? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #47 with Dominique Lowenthal

Date: Tuesday 17 March 2015
Time: 8:00pm GMT for 1 hour
Time Zone: Greenwich Mean Time | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Dominique Lowenthal @DomLowenthal (March 15-21) READ MORE

Topic: Innovation and change: How can Continuing Professional Development (CPD) be made more accessible for SLPs/SLTs?

This @WeSpeechies topic is about change, posing the questions, how do we stay informed of things we need to know, and how do we share our knowledge?

We know we have limited resources as individuals. We know there is great knowledge, talent and expertise within us and ‘out there’. We know we’re working in an environment of accelerated change. Discovery and iteration (such as advances in research, technology and changes in models of service delivery due to austerity) are normal across SLP/SLT professional practice.

We know there are increasing pressures and expectations from stakeholders – employers, patients, carers and family members. Finally we know we need to process, assess and deal with changes while continuing to receive an unprecedented volume of new information from all areas of our personal and professional lives, on a daily basis.

This week Dominique Lowenthal @DomLowenthal leads @WeSpeechies in exploring issues for continuing professional development. We hope you’ll join us in sharing ideas and resources on this key issue.




Q1 Please share innovative ways you or your SLP/SLT team engage in, or deliver CPD. Do you face time and resource limitations? #WeSpeechies
Q2 #WeSpeechies don't have to look far for numerous opportunities for CPD/training/CEUs, but are more OR fewer opportunities needed? Why?
Q3 As a #WeSpeechies CPD provider, what beneficial skills / knowledge would you like to impart to SLP/SLT 'audiences' now and in the future?
Q4 What key factors might promote CPD efficacy & improve trainers' & trainees' experience of #WeSpeechies CPD?

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #46 with Susan Ebbels

Date: Tuesday 10 March 2015
Time: 9:00pm BST for 1 hour
Time Zone: Greenwich Mean Time | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Susan Ebbels @SusanEbbels (March 8-14)

Topic: Research to practice and schoolchildren with language difficulties

I consider that SLT/SLP services are at a crucial point. We need to be able to show that what we do is effective, worthwhile and based in evidence. If we cannot do that, our clients/patients/students and we will lose out.

When resources are tight, tough decisions are required about how to manage the gap between the available resources on the one hand, and demands on SLP/SLT time, and the difficulties that surround delivering for evidence-based treatments on the other. Different solutions are used by different services: some set lower and/or upper age limits on access to services; some set severity limits (seeing only less severe cases who are more likely to resolve or seeing only the most severe who arguably most need help); some only see children with particular diagnoses (with arbitrary severity levels); some don’t provide any direct therapy and only work through others who can provide a cheaper service; and some restrict services to advice and training.

I would like to focus our discussion on the extent to which intervention decisions are based on evidence. If we ignore the evidence and base our decisions purely on cost, beliefs or ideologies (whether of politicians, journalists, celebrities, parents or indeed ourselves), we may well achieve very little of benefit to our clients. The result could be that we lose the respect of parents, other professionals and funding bodies. If others don’t value our services, the existence of the SLT/SLP as an important and integral part of mainstream health and education services could be endangered.

I am passionate about understanding, improving, and sharing knowledge of the evidence base for SLT/SLP in general, but in particular for school-aged children with Developmental Language Impairments (DLI). As a clinician (with a PhD), carrying out research in a clinical setting with SLT colleagues, and through my involvement in the work of both academic journals and my professional body, I aim to bridge the gap between research and practice. Therefore, while leading this week’s discussion on “Research to practice and schoolchildren with language difficulties”, I hope that everyone will join in, regardless of whether they are primarily a researcher or primarily a clinician - at undergraduate or qualified level. Let’s share insights from our many varied and valuable perspectives and work ‘virtually’ together for the benefit of the people for whom we work.




Q1 Treatment decisions are based on Evidence - Experience - Resources - Policies - Client wishes: What is your mix or balance? #WeSpeechies

Q2 How important is a diagnostic label versus a profile of strengths/weaknesses in determining what service clients receive? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Which children with what language needs do you prioritise for treatment if demand exceeds resources?  Why? #WeSpeechies

Q4 It’s not easy, but how do you measure any effects of intervention on language, academic/social skills &/or well-being? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

@WeSpeechies 1st Anniversary week March 1-7 2015 - informal 'chat' all week long!















#WeSpeechies Chat #45 with Speech Pathology Australia (Gail Mulcair and Michael Kerrisk)

Date: Tuesday 24 February 2015
Time: 8:00pm AEDT for 1 hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Daylight Time (Melbourne | Canberra time) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Speech Pathology Australia @SpeechPathAus (Gail Mulcair & Michael Kerrisk: February 22-28)

Topic: Strategic planning: objectives, deliverables and future directions

Speech Language Pathology and Speech and Language Therapy Associations around the world work to connect and support their members, and to regulate and guide many aspects of the profession. This week on @WeSpeechies our curators are Gail Mulcair @GailMSpa, the Chief Executive Officer, and Michael Kerrisk @anactbloke, the Communications and Marketing Manager, at Speech Pathology Australia. Together, Gail and Michael will raise issues for the profession that are of National importance and have International relevance.

At the end of 2014, Speech Pathology Australia had 6,502 members – a record for the Association. This milestone followed closely on the heels of the Association’s release of the ‘Strategic Plan 2014-2016’. This document outlines the vision, values and key objectives of the Australian Association for the three-year timeframe.

The Association’s strategic plan has three key goals that are summarised under the headings: Influence, Professional Standards, and Future Ready.

Through the week February 22-28, Gail and Michael will ask us to reflect upon SLP/SLT having ‘influence’, maintaining ‘professional standards’ and being ‘future ready’. They will ask people to reflect upon the future of the profession in Australia and overseas; the challenges and threats that the profession will need to contend with over the coming decade; the profession’s key objectives and what it delivers for its clients and the wider community; and what SLPs/SLTs wish and dream about for their profession.

They will also talk about ways that government processes, such as the recent Australian senate inquiry concerning the speech pathology need of the community, might be used to effect policy change, and how speech pathology associations might ‘future proof’ the profession.

This #WeSpeechies chat is designed to stimulate discussion and reflections about the speech-language pathology/therapy profession.

  • What should the profession’s key objectives be?

  • What should it be delivering for its clients and the wider community?

  • And what of the future; what are SLP/SLTs wishes and dreams for their profession?

Gail and Michael write: 'We hope that the following questions will encourage discussion and prompt those speech-language pathologists/therapists and association colleagues around the globe taking part in the chat to think about the future direction of their profession.

United in the Twitter Community - ASHA @ASHAWeb, SAC-OAC @SAC_AOC, IASLT @iaslt, NZSTA @NZSTA, RCSLT @RCSLT and SPA @SpeechPathAus might even have combined influence. We hope that everyone interested in SLP/SLT will feel welcome to take part in considering the many issues facing our profession during the first ever @WeSpeechies week to be curated by a Professional Association!'




Q1 Are SLP/SLTs undervalued by the community? If so, why? And how can we change this? #WeSpeechies

Q2 How can the SLP/SLT profession influence local and national governments and key policy makers? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Does professional self-regulation or registration help or hinder the professional standards of the SLP/SLT profession? #WeSpeechies

Q4 Is the SLP/SLT profession #futureready and what can we do to secure a strong future for SLP/SLT? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

Latest News on the Speech Pathology Australia website!

#WeSpeechies Chat #44 with Nikki Botting

Date: Tuesday 17 February 2015
Time: 8:00pm GMT for 1 hour
Time Zone: Greenwich Mean Time (UK time) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Nikki Botting @NicolaBotting (February 15-21)

Topic: Publishing YOUR research in an academic journal

Sometimes people working in the field of SLP/SLT find there are difficulties pursuing evidence based practice. These include paywalls (having to pay for articles) and also problems translating research into practice in a meaningful way. Time is always a major issue for busy clinicians, but there are lots of Top Tips for helping with these issues that @wespeechies hope you will share!

This #WeSpeechies chat is designed to engage and inform the global community of SLPs/SLTs. It might also interest health professionals in other disciplines, Linguists and Phoneticians, who are interested in publishing their research. The questions are aimed at promoting honest discussion about what is most useful in the evidence base, and what obstacles people encounter getting involved in research and then publishing that research. 

I hope the questions will prompt discussion and also enable people taking part in the chat to ask questions that I can provide answers to about the editorial / publishing process. 

In an era where it is so important that people access evidence, I hope the discussion will widen out to a bigger issue: the role of open access publishing and what it means for speech-language professionals all around the world.




Q1 Tell #WeSpeechies the most useful types of published evidence in your area of SLP/SLT practice! Is it easy to access? Any barriers?

Q2 What inspires / puts you off engaging in research? Any top tips for #WeSpeechies, #SLPeeps?

Q3 Is Info for Authors always clear? Do parts of the publishing process mystify you a bit? Now’s your chance to ask an Editor! #WeSpeechies

Q4 What do you think of Paywall (PW) journals & #openaccess (OA) papers, what would #WeSpeechies like to say to Editors and Publishers?

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #43 with Madeline Cruice

Date: Tuesday 10 February 2015
Time: 8:00pm GMT for 1 hour
Time Zone: Greenwich Mean Time (UK time) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Madeline Cruice @MadelineCruice (February 8-14)

Topic: Stories with Aphasia

Our lives are full of stories. We tell stories to introduce ourselves. We tell stories about things we've done, places we've been, and things that have happened in our lives. We tell stories about our past, our present, and our future. We tell stories to reach out and connect with others.

Stories and narrative are the fabric of life and being human. What do stories look like when someone has aphasia? What happens to those stories? What happens to the person? What can we do in clinical work, and beyond, to promote stories that work with people with aphasia, and indeed anyone with a communication disability?




Q1 Personal stories are vital for all of us, but do we consider the importance of stories to our clients?  #WeSpeechies

Q2 What can inspire stories? What experiences have U had supporting people w communication difficulties to share their stories? #WeSpeechies

Q3. What are the pros and cons for people with communication disabilities sharing personal stories online? #WeSpeechies

Q4. How will we know whether stories make a difference? What will the people we work with and ‘the world’ be able to see? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #42 with Caroline Bowen and Bronwyn Hemsley

Date: Tuesday 3 February 2015
Time: 8:00pm AEDT for 1 hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Daylight Time (Sydney, Australia time) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curators: Caroline Bowen @speechwoman & Bronwyn Hemsley  @BronwynHemsley (February 1-7)

Topic: How #WeSpeechies can tell the world who we are and what we do

#WeSpeechies begin 2015 by asking #SLPeeps and #SLP2b everywhere to nominate a topic they'd like us to focus on (or focus on again) for a week.

There's more! #WeSpeechies also invite you to volunteer to curate! Is there a topic that inspires you and absorbs your interest? What is it? Are you nervous just thinking about curating the handle? Don't be! Detailed curating instructions are provided to , and the Admins provide continual support, as required, with @BronwynHemsley and @speechwoman working with #RoCurs to help their #WeSpeechies week run smoothly.

[If you'd like to take the first plunge now, please complete this form and/or let @speechwoman or @BronwynHemsley know via Direct Message (DM in Twitter) that you are interested in taking a turn in the role of Curator.]

As well, #WeSpeechies invite you to nominate a curator! Check your nominee's willingness first, of course.

There are many important and interesting topics #WeSpeechies are yet to cover, or could cover again in more depth or from different perspectives. Some topics that have been suggested for 2015 include, aged care, change and transitions, continuing professional development, cranial nerves and oral motor assessment, craniofacial anomalies, ethics, fluency disorders, humanitarian outreach, keeping up with the literature, laryngectomy, literacy, professional associations in Twitter, school-based SLP/SLT, simulated clinical practice, SLPs/SLTs in retirement, statistics in practice, SLPs/SLTs outside the square, Twitter in academe, using Twitter in intervention, volunteering, working in developing communities, writing for scholarly journals, videos versus face-to-face interaction in infant-toddler language acquisition, and more.

All #SLPeeps, #SLP2B, Allied Health colleagues, and the people Speech-Language Pathologists work with as clients and their families and friends are welcome to participate in #WeSpeechies discussions and the regular Tuesday Chats.

Our first Chat for 2015 is on Tuesday 3rd February, 8:00-9:00 pm AEDT (Sydney time). The topic is 'How #WeSpeechies can tell the world who we are and what we do'.



Q1 Is there a ’neglected topic’ you'd like given a thorough airing by #WeSpeechies? Who would it interest? Just #SLPeeps or others too?

Q2 @WeSpeechies is a positive vehicle for communication & learning. How would/do you 'sell it', #WeSpeechies, to Twitter averse colleagues?

Q3 Do you use Twitter primarily for Conversation, Information, Passing on Resources, Having a Say, or Listening In? #WeSpeechies

Q4 If you could nominate ANY historic or contemporary person to Curate #WeSpeechies for a week, who would it be, and why?

Chat concludes

Tuesday chats resume in February 2015















#WeSpeechies Chat #41 with Caroline Bowen and Bronwyn Hemsley

Date: Friday 19 December 2014
Time: 7:00pm AEDT for 1 hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Daylight Time (Sydney, Australia time)| YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curators: Caroline Bowen @speechwoman & Bronwyn Hemsley  @BronwynHemsley (December 14-19)

Topic: What are you SUPPOSED to be doing?

Social Media, including Twitter, have taken procrastination to a whole new (some would say ’trending') level. In @WeSpeechies’ final week for 2014, tell us what you are working on at the moment, and what brings you to Twitter. Are you currently: completing an assignment, writing a report, scoring a test, analysing the results of an experiment, grappling with a backlog of work emails, marking, doing administration on research projects, sitting on a professional association board or comittee, or administering a professional association? Are you simultaneously or were you recently: watching TV, waiting for a train, in a meeting, ironing, watching a conference, listening to a presentation, blog surfing or blogging, writing a journal article, laminating therapy materials or attaching magnets to fishing lines?

Tell us, WeSpeechies Tweeter, Lurker, Follower, or Curator: Do you have writers’ block, perhaps? Are you looking for peer support to spur you on? Are you simply taking a 10 minute break before composing your next 1,000 words? Are you killing time? Is engaging in Twitter integrated into your regular workload? Is Twitter a welcome distraction from constructive activity or an integral element of constructive activity for you?

Whatever the case, @WeSpeechies would love to hear what you are working on right now, and your SLP/SLT/SLP2B goals and aspirations – short and long-term. We can chat about it too – if your busy work schedule permits!



Q1 We won’t judge you if you DON’T nominate #WeSpeechies, dear me no, but what is your BEST Social Media ‘distraction'?

Q2 Which 2014 #WeSpeechies topic gets your vote as the most ‘distracting’ or ‘engaging', and why?

Q3 What are you working on right now, and what part do Social Media play in that work? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What would you like #WeSpeechies to pull out of the hat in 2015, for major ‘distraction’ value?

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #40 with Claire Hartley

Date: Tuesday 9 December 2014
Time: 8:00pm GMT for 1 hour
Time Zone: Greenwich Mean Time (London time)| YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Claire Hartley @cljclh (December 07 - 13)

Topic: Simulation in Speech-Language Pathology/Speech & Language Therapy clinical education

You can LOGIN as Guest (see the blue rectangle) with the password wespeechies (all lower case) to explore "all things simulation", a Birmingham City University site co-authored by Claire Hartley and Oonagh Reilly.

As Professor David Gaba (2007) states: ‘Simulation is a technique...to replace or amplify real experiences with guided experiences that evoke or replicate substantial aspects of the real world in a fully interactive manner.’

Little has been published about the use of simulation in SLP/SLT Education (Hill, Davidson & Theodoros, 2013*). In medical and nurse education, however, this is a prominent learning and teaching methodology and replaces some clinical practice hours in modern curricula. Moreover, ‘the UK NHS is regarded as a global leader in the field of Simulation Based Education (SBE)’ (Anderson, Baxendale, Scott, Mossley, & Glover (2014). Given this, and the ever-present challenges of educating SLTs/SLPs, why is the field not using simulation more?

This week Claire Hartley (@cljclh) will lead the @wespeechies community in exploring all things simulation. We hope you can join in to give your perspective on this interesting learning and teaching methodology.


Anderson, A. Baxendale, B., Scott, L., Mossley, D., & Glover, G. (2014). The National Simulation Development Project: Summary Report. Association for Simulated Practice in Healthcare.

Gaba, D. M. (2007). The Future Vision of Simulation in Healthcare. Simulation in Healthcare, 2(2), 126-135.

Hill, A. E., Davidson, B. J. & Theodoros, D. G. (2013). The performance of standardized patients in portraying clinical scenarios in speech-language therapy. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 48(6) 613-624. ABSTRACT

* Thanks to the publisher, and the editorial team @KaterinaHilari, @NicolaBotting and @Steven_Bloch, from December 15 to 28 2014 the Hill, Davidson & Theodoros (2013) article will be openly accessible. It is hoped that conversations about it, and about simulation in SLP/SLT clinical education in general, will continue during that period and beyond.




Q1 What’s your experience of simulation? As a student? As an educator? As a practitioner? As a service-user or actor? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What’s your experience of debriefing? How central is it to the learning experience? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Do you work with Service Users or actors? What works best for you? #WeSpeechies

Q4 If simulation is a safe environment in which to make mistakes, is using it for assessment degrading emotional safety? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #39 with Joy Pénard

Date: Tuesday 2 December 2014
Time: 8:00pm GMT for 1 hour
Time Zone: Greenwich Mean Time (London time)| YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Joy Pénard @joypenard (November 30 - December 06)

Topic: Clinical practice with multilingual clients and their families

'People who are multilingual, including children acquiring more than one language, are able to comprehend and/or produce two or more languages in oral, manual, or written form [with at least a basic level of functional proficiency or use], regardless of the age at which the languages were learned (adapted from Grech & McLeod, 2012, 121).' International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children’s Speech, 2012, p1

Multilingualism is a topic of interest within numerous academic fields that include education, linguistics, neuroscience, psychology and SLP/SLT (International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children’s Speech, 2012; Grosjean & Li, 2013). Professionals in these fields come in contact with people who speak many different languages and who come from diverse cultures. These individuals raise important considerations for professionals working with children learning two or more languages, and these considerations may change over time (Cruz-Ferreira & Ng, 2010).

One current concern for SLPs/SLTs is the over identification of multilingual children as having language disorders (Bedore & Peña, 2008; Muñoz, White & Horton-Ikard, 2014). Did you know that worldwide, multilingual people outnumber monolinguals (Grosjean, 2010; Mahendra & Namazi, 2014)? Does this mean the 'norms' for language development should be based on data from multilingual speakers? Perhaps so, but most standardized assessments are currently based on data from monolingual children.

Recent research in the area of multilingualism (which includes bilingualism) offers guidelines for providing SLP/SLT services to these diverse populations. Join @WeSpeechies for multilingualism resources, questions and answers this week, and bring your experience!


International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children’s Speech (2012). Multilingual children with speech sound disorders: Position paper. Bathurst, NSW, Australia: Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education (RIPPLE), Charles Sturt University.

Grech, H. & McLeod, S. (2012). Multilingual speech and language development and disorders. In D. Battle (Ed). Communication  disorders in multicultural and international populations (4th ed), 120-147. St Louis, MI: Elsevier.

Grosjean, F. & Li, P. (2013). The Psycholinguistics of Bilingualism, Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell.

Cruz-Ferreira, M. & Ng, B. C. (2010). Assessing multilingual children in multilingual clinics: insights from Singapore. In M. Cruz-Ferreira (Ed.), Multilingual Norms (343-396). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Bedore, L. M., & Peña, E. D. (2008). Assessment of Bilingual Children for Identification of Language Impairment: Current Findings and Implications for Practice. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 11(1), 1-29.

Muñoz, M. L., White, M., Horton-Ikard, R. (2014, November) The identification conundrum. The ASHA Leader, 19, 48-53.

Grosjean, F. (2010). Bilingual: life and reality. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, xiv.

Mahendra, N. & Namazi, M. (2014, November). Becoming bilingual. The ASHA Leader, 19, 40-44.




Q1 What languages do you come across in your work and in life? #WeSpeechies

Q2 Have you any tips, references, resources for differentiating speech/language disorder from typical multilingual acquisition? #WeSpeechies

Q3 What (or who) are your favorite sources of research and best practices in multilingualism? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What frequently asked questions do you receive from parents and/or professionals about multilingualism? How do you answer? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #38 with Kelley Babcock

Date: Tuesday 25 November 2014
Time: 8:00pm CST for 1 hour
Time Zone: US Central Standard Time (Nashville time) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Kelley Babcock @KelleyBabcock (November 23 - November 29)

Topic: Putting the focus on Education and Training in Dysphagia

Physicians and patients have become more dependent on SLPs/SLTs for the provision of dysphagia services, however it is a challenge to keep up to date with the most current research and literature. This week we will focus on dysphagia education - how we get it, how we share it and the experiences that have influenced us most.



Q1 Where do you find current information and training in treating #dysphagia?  CEU Courses? Journals? Which are the best? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What were the most influential aspects of #dysphagia training you received in school? What settings? #WeSpeechies

Q3 What are the biggest hindrances to your performing #dysphagia evaluations & treatment and what ways have you solved these? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What methods do you use to educate physicians, staff and patients about #dysphagia? Websites? Handouts? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

No chat on Tuesday 18th November 2014

#WeSpeechies Chat #37 with Sarah Masso

Date: Tuesday 11 November 2014
Time: 8:00pm AEDT for 1 hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Daylight Time (Sydney, Australia time)| YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Sarah Masso @SarahMasso (November 09 - November 15)

Topic: Translating research into practice, and practice into research

Evidence based practice (EBP) rests on three core factors: external evidence (research), internal evidence (clinician experience) and client factors. We all strive to work towards evidence-based practice in climates that frequently include limited research or research that is difficult to interpret for a specific client’s management. The very nature of evidence is that it is neither fixed nor certain and further research is often, if not always, required.

The purpose of this week of #WeSpeechies chat is to start a conversation about evidence based practice. All members of the SLP/SLT profession are encouraged to participate, regardless of role. Let’s chat about how we can increase the use of research evidence in client care and management AND how we can increase the use of clinician experiences and caseload challenges into the development of translatable research.



Q1 How do you access current research? #WeSpeechies

Q2 When working as a clinician, what helps/hinders your attempts to change your practice based on current research? #WeSpeechies

Q3 When working in research, how do you ensure that your research is addressing what’s important to clinicians? #WeSpeechies

Q4 Have you seen any good examples of teams translating research into practice and/or practice into research? If so, how? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #36 with Kathleen Munro

Date: Tuesday 04 November 2014
Time: 8:00pm ACDT for 1 hour
Time Zone: Australian Central Daylight Time (Adelaide, South Australia time) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Kate Munro @speechiekate (November 02 - November 08)

Topic: Mentoring, and people who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)

Mentoring for people with a disability has long been described as beneficial for both the mentor and the mentee. There are usually well set up systems and processes for a mentee to seek a matched mentor and pursue this partnership with positive outcomes. It is often the case, however, that people with Complex Communication Needs (CCN) who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) do not participate in these systems. This is the case in South Australia, where the Mentoring Project will be undertaken.

The project aims to bring an experienced mentor, Melinda Smith, who lives in Melbourne, Victoria, to South Australia fro a week to whet our appetites for mentoring in AAC. Throughout the week, mentoring sessions will be conducted to ensure people with CCN who use AAC have a chance to take mentoring for a spin. As well, there will be a lecture: The Importance of Mentors in the Life of an AAC User, school group mentoring, dance mentoring workshops, and a Catch the Dream workshop which focuses on how to turn your dreams into goals. We aim to explore the reasons behind the limited uptake of mentoring and what we can do to facilitate greater involvement in the program.

Throughout the week we will discuss mentoring for and by people who use AAC, discuss the events occurring during the project week, and facilitate discussions around the topics raised. 



Q1 What experiences have you had with mentoring in general, or for/by people who use AAC?  #WeSpeechies

Q2 What are the barriers to setting up a mentoring program? Have you experienced barriers in your practice? #WeSpeechies

Q3 What are the facilitators to a mentoring program? What can we use naturally to help set something up? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What are the positives of mentoring for people who use AAC? Are there any negatives? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #35 with Rachel Davenport

Date: Tuesday 28 October 2014
Time: 8:00pm AEDT for 1 hour
Time Zone: ACT, NSW, TAS, VIC (Canberra, Sydney, Hobart, Melbourne time) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Rachel Davenport @rachyroo1972 (October 26 - November 01)

Topic: SLP/SLT Clinical Education

This week I’m going to be talking about all things clinical education, which is what I do for work and is the central theme of my PhD.

I feel quite passionately about clinical education and the future of our profession. Over the years I have been a student, an educator and now a coordinator of a clinical program in Australia. I have experienced ‘clinical education’ in three countries from different perspectives, UK, New Zealand and Australia, so my knowledge and experience is drawn from that. I recognize that other countries organize their clinical education and speech pathology programs in different ways, this week I’d be interested to hear about how that works for you where you live and how you feel about that.

I’d like to hear from students, educators and academics this week about their thoughts about how clinical placements are managed where you work. What works? What doesn’t?

I’m looking forward to a week of robust discussion about all things #ClinEd.



Q1 Do you take #SLP2B on placement in your workplace? #WeSpeechies

Q2 Who makes the decision in your workplace to take #SLP2B on placement? You, your manager or someone else? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Do you feel supported to have #SLP2B on placement with you? #WeSpeechies

Q4 In today’s working world is it getting easier or harder to have #SLP2B on placements? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #34 with Bronwyn Hemsley

Date: Tuesday 21 October 2014
Time: 8:00pm AEDT for 1 hour
Time Zone: ACT, NSW, TAS, VIC (Canberra, Sydney, Hobart, Melbourne time) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Bronwyn Hemsley @BronwynHemsley (October 19-25)

Topic: Developing and administering a 'RoCur'

What does it take to administer a ‘RoCur’ (rotational curation) account in Twitter? Well, for @WeSpeechies, it takes constant communication between its two administrators @BronwynHemsley and @SpeechWoman, reliable Internet/email, disciplined organization, and of course many willing curators. This week on @WeSpeechies, @BronwynHemsley outlines how a speech-language pathology RoCur Twitter account works, and find out along the way what might help it to work more effectively in 2015. Who knows, we might just spur another RoCur into existence - the more the merrier!

Here are the topics for discussion


T1 Imagine you were to start up a RoCur handle - what would the broad focus be, and who could you imagine curating? #WeSpeechies

T2 What topics do you think are the greatest to hear about on the @WeSpeechies RoCur? #WeSpeechies

T3 How can academics, researchers, writers, & clinicians make better use of their RoCur Week on @WeSpeechies in 2015? #WeSpeechies

T4 If you could take over administer the @WeSpeechies Rocur for a month, what would you do differently? #WeSpeechies

Discussion concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #33 with Olivia Hazelden

Date: Tuesday 14 October 2014
Time: 6:00pm US Eastern Daylight Time for one hour
Time Zone: US Eastern Daylight Time (Boston | Toronto time) | YOUR TIME ZONE
Curator: Olivia Hazelden @OliviaSLP (October 12 - October 18)
Topic: Use of social media from student to professional: Balancing work and social lives on Twitter, YouTube and Websites | BLOG

Topic: Use of social media from student to professional: Balancing work and social lives online

Using Twitter or public videos online as a professional may be ‘taboo’ topics that are also struck with great contrasts in what we keep private and what we make public. Most professionals would have some concerns about dipping a toe into the stream of Twitter or video online, perhaps out of fear of ‘saying the wrong thing’ ‘getting into trouble’ or merely ‘sounding unwise’.

This week, Olivia Hazelden will help WeSpeechies to dive in, head first, to the topic of ‘online presence as a speech-language professional - from student to graduate and postgraduate levels of training. Universities, colleges, and government departments are just starting to encourage employees to use social media, and may be ‘scratching the surface’ on ways that it could be used. Development of guidelines and policies around how social media is used by professionals is also helpful. So how are you developing your own guidelines and ground-rules about making your Internet footprint a positive one?

Olivia will explore all avenues in relation to Twitter, Youtube and other online platforms to discuss ‘what it’s like’ to be a professional in social media. Work-life-online balance, ideas on how to enjoy social media safely, and ideas on how to get started might be useful to both new and experienced speech language professionals using social media in their work and personal lives.



Q1 If you draw your life as a pie chart on work/family/study/fun/sleep, how much time does your ‘online’ world take up? #WeSpeechies

Q2 If your Twitter is a permanent record about YOU, what would your FUTURE NIECES, NEPHEWS, CHILDREN, GRANDCHILDREN think about you? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Do you think Universities/Colleges/Workplaces can prohibit student/staff ‘professional’ social media accounts from blending with ‘personal’ matters? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What connections, opportunities, recognition or other benefits have you gained by being active professionally online? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #32 with Harmony Turnbull

Date: Tuesday 07 October 2014
Time: 8:00pm AEDT for one hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Daylight Time (Sydney time) | YOUR TIME ZONE
Curator: Harmony Turnbull @SP_Harmony (October 05 - October 11)

Topic: SLP/SLT Terminology, and Plain English in Practice

Harmony Turnbull, this week's curator, feels strongly about the need for people in health and education professions to use Plain English. Have your say on this important topic this week, and join the chat on Tuesday night (8:00 to 9:00pm Sydney time).



Q1 Do you apply plain language principles in you work? Why or why not? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What are some of the barriers you have experienced (or potential barriers you predict) when making your information more accessible? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Editing is important for writing plainly. Do you routinely ask a colleague to read your docs before giving them to clients? #WeSpeechies

Q4 Do you/will you promote the use of plainer writing in your workplace? Why or why not? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #31 with Renena Joy

Date: Tuesday 30 September 2014
Time: 9:30pm ADT for one hour
Time Zone: Atlantic Daylight Time (Halifax time) ( | YOUR TIME ZONE
Curator: Renena Joy @SLPrj (September 28 - October 4)

Topic: Working with children who have Autism Spectrum Disorder in school settings

One child in 68 is diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). Speech-Language Pathologists / Speech and Language Therapists may take on a variety of different roles supporting students who have ASD in the school setting. This week, curator, Renena Joy will engage #WeSpeechies in discussions about how speech-language professionals support school-aged students who have ASD and their families. Challenges and strategies to increase engagement with families for school-based professionals will also be considered. 

This chat will be an opportunity to share and explore ideas and thoughts related to assessment, intervention, evidenced-based practice, tools, strategies and helpful resources used in school environments.



Q1 Tell us about your school setting. What types of services do you deliver with school-aged children with #autism? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What tools, activities, or strategies do you use in assessing school-aged children with #autism? #WeSpeechies

Q3 What teaching methodologies and other strategies do you use when working with school-aged students who have #autism? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What resources or techniques do you find most helpful in your work to support children with #autism and their families? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #30 with Megan Sutton

Date: Tuesday 23 September 2014
Time: 6:30pm PDT for one hour
Time Zone: Pacific Daylight Time (San Francisco, Vancouver) ( | YOUR TIME ZONE
Curator: Megan Sutton @TactusMegan (September 21 - 27)

Topic: Using Apps in Speech-Language Pathology

Touchscreen Apps are a relatively new and exciting tool available to #WeSpeechies and our clients to use in therapy and at home or school. Some of the Apps we use are specific to speech-language pathology, while many general-purpose Apps are proving to be valuable adjuncts to therapy or for a range of other purposes. With so many new tools accessible to clinicians, clients and their families, mobile technologies and Apps are becoming a bigger part of our practice for children and adults alike. However, there is a range of concerns, evidence, enthusiasm, ethics, policies, costs, and benefits to consider in selecting and using Apps in SLP/SLT practice. This week, curator Megan Sutton @TactusMegan will lead the #WeSpeechies community in a discussion of how and why we’re using (or not using) Apps in therapy. Megan's emphasis this week will be on the touch-screen technologies and Apps used in therapy, with a specific focus on their use to assess, stimulate, illustrate, reinforce, repeat, and monitor therapy targets. 



Q1 In which ways are Apps and mobile devices enhancing your assessment or therapy? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What limitations do you encounter and what concerns do you have about using Apps in SLP/SLT practice? #WeSpeechies

Q3 When and how do you recommend and monitor use of Apps at home by clients/families? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What do you hope to see from Apps for SLP/SLT practice in the future? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #29 with Andrea McQueen

Date: Tuesday 16 September
Time: 8:00 - 900pm AEST
Time Zone: 8:00-9:00pm AEST | 12:00-1:00pm SAST | 6:00pm-7:00pm KL, Singapore | YOUR TIME ZONE
Curator: Andrea McQueen @aj_mcq (September14-20)

Topic: Enhancing communication-for-participation for people with intellectual disabilities

People with intellectual disabilities are largely invisible in our community.  They face many barriers to participating in the communities and activities of their choice.  For many people who have intellectual disabilities communication is a major barrier to participation. What is the role of the speech pathologist in helping individuals and groups to develop the communication skills, resources and opportunities which will enable them to participate fully in society? This week Andrea McQueen @aj_mcq will be leading the @WeSpeechies community in exploring issues relating to the increased participation of adults with intellectual disabilities and communication difficulties. We hope you can join in to share your ideas and resources in what is an important area for speech language pathology and other disciplines supporting adults with developmental disabilities and their families in the community.



Q1 What is the role of  and others in enhancing participation for people with disabilities? 

Q2 Who do #SLPeeps work with in order to enhance participation for people with intellectual disabilities?” 

Q3 What resources or strategies have you found useful for enhancing participation for people with disabilities? 

Q4 What are your plans for enhancing participation of people with intellectual disabilities? What needs to happen next? 

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #28 with John McCarthy

Date: Tuesday 09 September
Time: 10:00 - 11:00pm EDT
Time Zone: 10:00-11:00pm Eastern Daylight Time | YOUR TIME ZONE
Curator:  John McCarthy @sayitanywayyou September 7-13
John McCarthy's Blog: Say it Any Way

Topic: Twitter in (and out of) the lecture hall

One of my first blog posts was titled “The Death of Discussion Boards.”  After using online discussions, for a while, I gave up after fatigue on the part of both my students and me. Students complained about participating and frequently did not read others' posts. It seemed more like a blog than anything interactive. I used them originally to create a sense of discussion in an electronic forum, but I had lost that feeling. I had never used Twitter before, but became interested in the possibility after attending a conference presentation in 2007. At the time there weren’t great answers as to how exactly to use Twitter, but Twitter users had excitement. After lurking, I decided to try it around discussion of a single topic in a class. I then slowly expanded my use in different classes and more broadly. Some of the issues I confronted were: How do you get students Tweeting? Should everyone be required to Tweet? What is a reasonable expectation for Tweets? How do you handle offensive content that is posted? How do you grade it? What is a good class size? Should you follow students? Should Twitter be for in and out of class? As I gained experience in using Twitter in and out of the lecture hall I arrived at some of my own insights on these and other questions, and look forward to discussing this with both students and lecturers alike this week on @WeSpeechies. 



Q1 How do YOU get students Tweeting in a class? If you are a student, what gets you Tweeting?

Q2 How do you keep things professional in using Twitter in and out of class, but still be fun?

Q3 How do you manage (how frequently to check and respond to) the Twitter feed in and out of class?

Q4 Twitter may not suit everyone - How can a lecturer know if Twitter is right for them or their students?

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #27 with AGOSCI / Emily Wailes

Date: Tuesday 02 September
Time: 8:00 - 900pm AEST
Time Zone: 8:00-9:00pm AEST | 12:00-1:00pm SAST | 6:00pm-7:00pm KL, Singapore | YOUR TIME ZONE
Curator: @AGOSCI (Emily Wailes August 31 - September 6)

Topic: AAC systems & tools: Barriers to & facilitators for ongoing, effective assessment & management

Follow @WeSpeechies this week for a special focus on ongoing, functional assessment in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). Curated by @AGOSCI, this week's chat topic is AAC systems and tools: Barriers to and facilitators for ongoing, effective assessment and management. During Agosci's recent National Tour, Guest Speaker, Dr Tracy Kovach discussed ongoing AAC assessment to determine levels of communicative competence (as defined by Light, 1989). Our chat this week will consider the practicalities of AAC assessment including assessment frameworks, outcomes measurement, and overcoming barriers to ongoing AAC assessment.

Light, J. (1989). Toward a definition of communicative competence for individuals using augmentative and alternative communication systems. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 5(2), 137-144.



Q1 What tools or assessment frameworks do you use to guide #AugComm assessment?

Q2 What factors help you and your client choose among many low tech and high tech #AugComm options?

Q3 How could we measure progress towards communicative competence, in small steps?

Q4 What barriers may impede ongoing #AugComm assessment, and can these be overcome?

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #26 with Dorothy Bishop

Date: Tuesday 26 August 2014
Time: 8:00am BST for 1 hour
Time Zone: British Summer Time | YOUR TIME ZONE (For the sums-challenged: 8am Tu BST = 5pm Tu AEST)
This week's curator: Dorothy Bishop @deevybee (August 24 - August 30) BLOG

Topic: Is Specific Language Impairment a useful category?

There is increasing dissatisfaction in many quarters with the wide variability in the diagnostic criteria used and the labels given to children with unexplained language problems. This variability is contributing to a lack of equity of access to services and limited recognition and understanding of children’s language problems both by the general public and the scientific community.

In the UK, a live debate entitled “What is Specific Language Impairment?” in May 2012 raised several issues about diagnostic criteria, labels and services. The main issues regarding diagnosis were: the role of non-verbal IQ in diagnosis of language problems, differential diagnosis from autism spectrum disorder, and the label which should be used for children with unexplained language difficulties. The debate also revealed that diagnostic labels and criteria were being used creatively in disputes over access to services both by those seeking to obtain services for children (often parents and their lawyers) who could be accused of ‘diagnostic shopping’ and also by those seeking to deny services (often due to financial constraints) who may use particularly restrictive criteria in order to reduce the number of children qualifying for services.

On August 20, 2014 a special issue of the International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders was published which included target articles on these questions by Dorothy Bishop and Sheena Reilly, as well as commentaries from a wide range of individuals representing researchers, practitioners and families. These are free to access and can be found here.

In her paper, Dorothy Bishop noted that over thirty different terms were widely used to refer to children with unexplained language problems, in some cases with subtle differences in meaning, and in other cases extending to include other conditions. One suggestion is that we should abandon 'specific' and just talk of 'language impairment'. Others favoured terms such as 'Primary language impairment', 'Developmental language disorder' or 'Developmental dysphasia' or 'Language Learning Impairment'.  The latest edition of the American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic manual talks of 'Language Disorder', whereas in the UK the term 'Speech, Language and Communication Needs' is widely used in educational contexts.

Bishop, Reilly and several of the commentators argue for an international and multidisciplinary panel to be formed that should aim to build consensus about diagnostic criteria and diagnostic labels. This should take account of the views of families and people with language problems and policy-makers and could produce a position statement on the issue.  We are hoping, therefore, that all with an interest in this issue will contribute to the discussion. 

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists has set up a discussion forum where written comments are welcomed. We hope that more informal discussion will take place during this week  starting 24th August via @WeSpeechies. This is an important issue and past failures to agree on terminology and diagnostic criteria has led to confusion in communication, lack of recognition of problems, and inequality in provision. Please do take part in the debate!



Q1 What is your view on use of the diagnostic label ‘SLI’ ? does it reflect a medical model and is this appropriate?

Q2 What are appropriate criteria for identifying children's language problems?

Q3 Should IQ, autism features, hearing loss determine whether language-impaired children can access  services? 

Q4 What terminology is most appropriate for children who have unexplained language problems?

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #25 with Bronwyn Hemsley

Date: Tuesday 19 August
Time: (1) 6:30-7:30am AEST and (2) 8:00 - 900pm AEST
Time Zones: (1) 6:30-7:30am AEST | 9:30-10:30pm BST | 8:30-9:30am NZST
Time Zones: (2) 8:00-9:00pm AEST | 12:00-1:00pm SAST | 6:00pm-7:00pm KL, Singapore
Curator: @BronwynHemsley

Topic: What is social media's role in supporting countries to establish AAC communities of practice & research?

This week on @WeSpeechies we will be exploring the role of social media, particularly Twitter, in building communities of practice globally in relation to Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). Many countries that have well developed AAC communities (e.g., USA, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil) are, through ISAAC ‘BUILD’ network, ISAAC 'BUILD' network supporting more countries to develop AAC services and training (e.g., China, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand). Some people are already using social media to connect globally, with Internet and Web 2.0 platforms facilitating communication ‘across borders’ for sharing knowledge and resources.

This week on @WeSpeechies, THE CURATOR would like to engage across disciplines to explore how social media might better be used to make a material difference ‘beyond our own borders’ for people with severe communication disabilities, and who need or use AAC, and their families. Speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, teachers, people who use AAC and their families, rehabilitation engineers, and anyone with any interest whatsoever in ‘communication without speech’ and/or AAC can join in to ensure a great focus on #AugComm. The #WeSpeechies tag will be used for the chat, and the #AugComm tag will be used for any Tweets relating to ‘building AAC communities of practice’ throughout the week.

Twitter in Research - Ethics Statement

Tweets from this week on @WeSpeechies #WeSpeechies #AugComm will be collected as public data and archived for use in research that is ethically approved by The University of Newcastle (Dr Bronwyn Hemsley) and Manchester Metropolitan University (Dr Janice Murray). A link to the archived Tweets will be available for any Chat Participants to review after the Chat, so that they can notify Bronwyn Hemsley This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if they wish to remove any Tweets from the research data. All data will be de-identified, including any people or organisations named in Tweets. Direct quotes from the #WeSpeechies chat will not be used in written reports, and no Twitter handles identified in any written reports. Only Tweets about the topic area outlined in the Chat will be included in the research. The results of the research will be summarised and available upon request from Dr. Bronwyn Hemsley when published. Please email Bronwyn at the email address provided above if you have any questions about this week on @WeSpeechies.



Q1 How do communities of skilled multidisciplinary practice develop? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What is the role of Twitter & any other social media in connecting people interested in AAC, locally, nationally & globally? #WeSpeechies

Q3 How can organised groups better use social media to support people who need or use #AugComm in countries developing AAC? #WeSpeechies

Q4 The AAC community in Twitter is small. How can we use the #AugComm tag, and others, to encourage development & growth? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #24 with Ariane Welch

Date: Tuesday 12 August 2014
Time: 7:00pm PDT for one hour
Time Zone: Pacific Daylight Time (San Francisco, Vancouver) ( | YOUR TIME ZONE
Curator: Ariane Welch @arianewelch (August 10 - 16)

Topic: Taking your SLP/SLT credentials abroad to work as an SLP/SLT

Working internationally as an SLT/SLP may well improve the flow of ideas, clinical research and best professional practices within and between countries and societal infrastructures. Working away from home challenges clinicians to meet the needs of people with communication or swallowing difficulties and their families, in unfamiliar (to them) communities, cultures and caseloads. Moving work settings internationally, however, also requires adaptation to new legal, professional and medical frameworks.

Some countries have recognised the importance of building international links in SLP/SLT practice. The Mutual Recognition Agreement of Professional Association Credentials (MRA) now in place between @ASHAWeb, @IASLT, @NZSTA, @RCSLT, @SAC_OAC and @SpeechPathAus works to facilitate movement between countries for SLT/SLP clinicians from the US, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK, Canada and Australia respectively. Nonetheless, clinicians travel widely to non-MRA signatory countries that often voice the need for enhanced access to SLP/SLT skilled services. Whether through the provisions of the MRA or via a different route, becoming credentialed to practice abroad can be a long and sometimes frustrating process.

This week’s @WeSpeechies topic will stimulate discussion about the many issues related to taking your SLP/SLT credentials abroad. We will discuss credentialing, networking and job seeking, and the benefits and challenges of adapting to new professional contexts. These include different combinations of multilingualism, understanding unaccustomed medical systems, working within and alongside unfamiliar patient/client communities, and succeeding in diverse workplace cultures.



Q1 Are you considering taking your SLT/SLP credentials abroad, or have you already done so, and to which country? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What’s your dream destination to work as an SLT/SLP and why? Is it possible to do? #WeSpeechies

Q3 How would you/did you find contacts and employment in your new home? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What were/will be the biggest differences in SLT/SLP clinical practices in your new workplace? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #23 with Pamela Snow

Date: Tuesday 05 August 2014
Time: 6:00pm AEST for one hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Standard Time (Bendigo, Melbourne, Sydney) | YOUR TIME ZONE
Curator: Pam Snow @PamelaSnow2 (August 03 - 09)

Oral language competence in children & young people:
Early beginnings, transition to school, literacy, & the law in the ICP2014 year.

Early oral language competence (skills with everyday talking and listening) is critical to social and academic success in the early school years, but is often simply "assumed" when children enter school. Unfortunately, many children enter school with inadequately developed expressive and receptive skills in one or more linguistic domains (e.g. vocabulary, narrative skill, phonemic awareness) and are not ready to meet the rapidly evolving and increasing demands of school life. Furthermore, some have difficulties with pragmatics, or the social use of language.

Some such children come from relatively linguistically impoverished home environments and a significant proportion will display a combination of learning and behaviour problems by mid primary years. Some will enter the youth justice system, after early school exclusion because of behaviour problems in and out of class.

Speech Language Pathologists / Speech and Language Therapists have a significant role to play at policy and practice levels in both promoting early oral language skills and the transition to literacy through the application of evidence-based literacy instruction, and by providing services to those whose risk trajectories see them marginalised from the economic mainstream by the time they reach early adolescence.

This week, #WeSpeechies' curator Associate Professor Pamela Snow @PamelaSnow2 illuminates these issues, encouraging your input and discussion of what can help or hinder progress.



Q1 What needs to happen for children with early language delays/difficulties to be better identified before or at school entry? #WeSpeechies

Q2 Are children who come from verbally impoverished environments ‘language impaired’ - why or why not? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Behaviour can be a form of communication - but how can we convince policy makers of this, and ways that #WeSpeechies can help with this?

Q4 Why are SLPs/SLTs mostly absent from Youth Justice Settings, and how can we increase our influence in this important area? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #22 with Caroline Bowen

Date: Tuesday 29 July 2014
Time: 8:00pm SAST for one hour
Time Zone: South African Standard Time (Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg) | YOUR TIME ZONE
Curator: Caroline Bowen @speechwoman (July 27- August 2)

Topic: Controversial Practices in SLP/SLT

WeSpeechies have a growing stock of theoretically sound and/or evidence based interventions to choose from when we treat adults and children with communication and swallowing disorders. By virtue of our academic and clinical qualifications, Speech-Language Pathologists / Speech and Language Therapists (SLPs/SLTs) are uniquely qualified to select appropriate therapies for individual clients, and to appreciate and critically evaluate the science that underpins them. Equally, we are in a strong position to say ‘no’ to treatments that lack scientific support, to resist the aggressive testimonial marketing associated with many of them, and to accurately and responsibly inform our clients, their families other health and education professionals, and the wider community. Indeed, it is our ethical responsibility to do so.

But the fact remains that controversial practices pervade our field, including the use of auditory integration or listening therapies, dietary supplements, the discredited facilitated communication, oral motor and oral placement therapy, and a range of tools, toys and techniques with doubtful credentials. Those of us working in education settings find time-money-and-effort-consuming interventions such as Behavioural Optometry, BrainGym, Cellfield, Interactive Metronome Training, Irlen Tinted Lenses and Overlays, Learning Styles, and Reading Recovery dominating practice in many settings, competing with interventions with better credibility in terms of effects, efficiency and efficacy.

Whatever our work setting, confronting the reality of these interventions being implemented around us, by colleagues and co-workers, many SLPs/SLTs question the ethicality of their being associated, even peripherally, with them.

This week @WeSpeechies explore the extent and impact of controversial practices, their consequences for individual clients and practitioners, and their potential impact on the way we are perceived and esteemed as a profession.  



Q1 Which controversial practice(s) impact your capacity to perform your #WeSpeechies’ work? Are they simply an annoyance, or more than that?

Q2. Have you had any “wins” in changing policy, or even changing one person’s mind about employing a controversial approach? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Is it difficult to speak out? Are there penalties for #WeSpeechies who challenge the ethicality/effectiveness of controversial practices?

Q4 How confident are you that #WeSpeechies CAN change the status quo? What have you done to counter controversial practices at your work?

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #21 with Susan Rvachew

Date: Tuesday 22 July 2014
Time: 8:00pm EDT for one hour
Time Zone: Eastern Daylight Time (Atlanta, Boston, Columbus, La Paz, Montreal, San Juan, Santiago) | YOUR TIME ZONE
Curator: Susan Rvachew @ProfRvach (July 20-26) Susan's BLOG

Topic: Wait Times Benchmarks for Speech-Language and Hearing Services

An important statement in the Universal Declaration of Communication Rights (International Communication Project 2014) is “We believe that people with communication disabilities should have access to the support they need to realize their full potential”. Even in those countries where speech-language pathology and audiology services are well established, long waits for service can be a significant barrier to communication for many children and adults. Twitter is a powerful tool for sharing knowledge and strategies for problem solving. This week on @WeSpeechies we can share international perspectives on perceived appropriate wait times, actual wait times and strategies for reducing wait times for services around the world. When sharing information about this topic please identify yourself and provide general information about the nature of your clients and service sector while respecting privacy and confidentiality of specific individuals and organizations.



Q1 Approximately how long do your clients with speech-language needs wait for services? #WeSpeechies

Q2 Do you work with established expectations for wait times? How were the wait time benchmarks determined? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Do you think that clients with speech-language needs should have a guaranteed wait time for service? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What kinds of criteria for deciding who gets served first are most fair? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#We Speechies Chat #20 with Joanie Scott

Date: Tuesday 15 July 2014
Time: 8:00pm BST for one hour
Time Zone: British Summer Time | YOUR TIME ZONE
Curator: Joanie Scott @SymphonyUK (July 13-19)

Topic: People with Aphasia and their Families and Friends

What’s it like living with someone who has aphasia? My daughter had a stroke five years ago, at the age of 18, and she has aphasia. We’ve tried to make the best of a bad situation by learning what we can, working with professionals and remembering that her condition should not define her. One of the hardest things was accepting that recovery would be a slow process. It was frustrating that many health professionals were not aware of up to date treatments and research. We still hear that word, ‘plateau’. Sarah is living proof that improvements can be made years after a brain injury. We recorded her progress on YouTube and as a result we’ve connected with other people around the world and heard their stories.

Staying positive and hopeful has been useful, although it’s not always easy. Communicating with someone who has no speech output at all is possible, if you make time. We used gesturing and eye contact at first. Even deciding what to have for dinner was a challenge when Sarah didn’t understand the word ‘pie’. Twitter and Facebook have been an incredible source of knowledge and support.



Q1 Is it helpful for family members to sit in on aphasia therapy sessions? What are the issues for different ages and stages? #WeSpeechies

Q2. Are you able to offer intensive aphasia therapy? What do you consider to be 'intensive'? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Stroke and aphasia in young adults - have you noticed more referrals and what’s it like working with young adults? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What advice would you give to families recently affected by aphasia? And later on in their recovery? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #19 with Melissa Brunner

Date: Tuesday 08 July 2014
Time: 8:00pm AEST for one hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Standard Time (Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney) | YOUR TIME ZONE
Curator: Melissa Brunner @LissBEE_CPSP (July 06-12)

Topic: Looking for evidence and using Evidence Based Practice

As speech language pathologists/speech and language therapists we recognise the importance of using research evidence to inform our clinical practice, when making decisions with our clients, about interventions. Increasingly, we are asked to ‘defend’ what we are doing, and the time that it takes for us to do it. Managers and administrators ask us to justify what we do, and so do clients and families.

The time that we are allocated to spend with the clients who are on the receiving end of a treatment is sometimes at odds with evidence that guides us to apply that treatment more intensively, more frequently, or for longer. Conversely, families may ask for ‘more therapy’, when evidence shows that ‘more’ of the particular treatment is not necessarily helpful.

How do we resolve this by ‘finding the evidence’ and using it to improve our practice and make sure it is the best for the client? How do we actually go about finding evidence while busy with our daily roles in actually implementing the evidence?

Over this week on #WeSpeechies, we will talk all things EBP including (but not limited to):

  • Finding research evidence that helps to address the ‘clinical question’ (what kind of treatment is needed, and how much of it will help?

  • Tips and strategies for searching for the best available evidence.

  • How to evaluate the quality of the evidence you’ve found for one treatment against other treatments.

  • How we go about using the best evidence available in clinical practice? Are our service models conducive to actually implementing what the research says would be best?

  • Discussing evidence with healthcare consumers - how do we raise the ‘uncertainties’ and ‘limitations’ in research findings - when limited findings can still be promising?

  • Informed decision-making and goal setting with consumers - how can clients and families also be involved in critically reviewing the evidence, to make informed decisions?

  • Resources that we’ve found useful in reviewing evidence.

  • How technology, including the use of social media (of course!) can help us out!



Q1 Do you love or loathe searching for evidence? Tell us why! #WeSpeechies

Q2 What are the barriers and facilitators in finding treatment evidence & using it in clinical practice? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Are there any hot tips or resources that you find invaluable when finding evidence or putting it into clinical practice? #WeSpeechies

Q4 How can we assist & engage consumers to make informed decisions about their healthcare? #WeSpeechies

Chat Concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #18 with Jenya Iuzzini

Date: Tuesday 01 July 2014
Time: 8:00pm EDT for one hour
Time Zone: Eastern Daylight Time (Atlanta, Boston, Columbus, La Paz, Maiami, San Juan, Santiago) | YOUR TIME ZONE
Curator: Jenya Iuzzini @jenya_iuzzini (June 29 - July 05)

Topic: Diagnosis and treatment of Childhood Apraxia of Speech

Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is a debilitating speech disorder characterized by varying symptom profiles, comorbid deficits, and varying response to intervention. Symptoms can include high inconsistency of speech sound production, impaired timing and coordination, and poor learning and generalization of treated targets. Also, the symptom profile of CAS is known to change with age and following treatment.

Comorbid deficits for children and youth with CAS commonly include language, literacy, and fine and gross motor impairments, which place these children at increased risk of academic, social, and vocational challenges across the life span. Ongoing treatment by multiple service providers is often required to remediate this breadth of impairments, resulting in a time-consuming and costly undertaking that may be associated with a high burden of emotional and financial strain for the child or young person and family. The heterogeneity of speech symptoms and comorbid impairments associated with CAS has resulted in a lack of scientific consensus regarding the underlying etiology, core features, and prevalence of this disorder and have made it difficult to determine best practices for diagnosis and treatment of this disorder. 

This week’s #WeSpeechies discussion will center on these issues. We are interested in hearing about what’s in your assessment and treatment toolbox. We also want to learn about how the child’s age and comorbid deficits affect your assessment and treatment planning.  Also - what role, if any, do you think families and teachers should play in the diagnostic and treatment process?

Looking forward to a stimulating conversation with parents, clinicians, researchers, and people with CAS!   We hope you will join us!



Q1 What do you include in your assessment toolbox for CAS? Does it vary according to the client's age or other conditions? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What treatments have been successful in your experience? #WeSpeechies

Q3 How do you work with the family and classroom teacher in the diagnosis and treatment of a child/young person with CAS? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What should the CAS research focus be, in your view, and how would you prefer to learn about CAS research in progress? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #17 with Nancy Owens

Date: Tuesday 24 June 2014
Time: 9:00pm AEST for one hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Standard Time (Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney) | YOUR TIME ZONE
Curator: Nancy Owens @nancyjowens (June 22-28)

Topic: Communicating evidence clearly and effectively to inform healthcare decisions

This week on @WeSpeechies, our curator @nancyjowens will focus on Cochrane – a global initiative to make the vast amounts of evidence generated through research useful for informing health decisions. Nancy will provide information and stimulate discussion on Cochrane’s focus on making healthcare evidence accessible to everyone, everywhere and the various ways that Cochrane uses – initiatives such as Cochrane Summaries, translation of Cochrane content, partnering with Wikipedia to improve evidence in Wikipedia health pages, providing free access to Cochrane evidence in low- and middle-income countries, Cochrane Podcasts, and more.

Given Nancy’s role as Cochrane’s Web Content and Social Media Editor, this is a great week to use Twitter to find out 'everything you always wondered about Cochrane’. Whether or not you have ever heard of Cochrane or evidence-based healthcare, by the end of this week you will better understand how everyone who has to make health decisions (that is, everyone!) can access evidence to make those decisions with more knowledge and understanding.



Q1 What are your initial impressions of Cochrane and the Cochrane Library - is it familiar or something new? Is it accessible? #WeSpeechies

Q2 Cochrane Reviews are quite ‘technical’, but Cochrane Summaries are designed to improve access. Could they do better? #WeSpeechies

Q3 How would you like Cochrane to communicate with you as health professionals about systematic reviews and other initiatives? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What are other ways Cochrane could be improving or providing access to Cochrane evidence for diverse groups of people? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #16 with Nicole Whitworth

Date: Tuesday 17 June 2014
Time: 8:00pm BST for one hour
Time Zone: British Summer Time | YOUR TIME ZONE
Curator:  Nicole Whitworth @NWhitworth1971 (June 15-21)

Topic: Teaching Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics to SLT Students in Preparation for Clinical Practice

In line with professional body requirements, Speech-Language Pathology / Speech and Language Therapy qualifying courses require students to study phonetic and linguistic theory and analysis. Unfortunately, often students find Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics (CLP) challenging and fail to see its relevance in an already very full curriculum. Furthermore, (at least in the UK) many clinicians report that they have insufficient time to carry out detailed phonetic and linguistic analyses and therefore students rarely get to see these in everyday practice.

So why teach it at all? The knowledge and skills taught in CPL form an essential part of the clinician’s toolkit which permits the accurate analysis of client speech and language, thus enabling a principled selection of appropriate interventions. Without it (and other methodologies derived from, for example, psychology) clinical work is reduced to mere superficial treatment of symptoms and is doomed to be comparatively inefficacious.

Arguably, the single unique contribution of speech and language therapists / pathologists to the management of communication disorder lies in their ability to understand and apply linguistic and phonetic principles. Ultimately, it is this accomplishment that distinguishes the profession from others, e.g., practitioners in psychology, and the one that makes it invaluable and indispensable to modern health services.

This week, @wespeechies will explore the place of clinical linguistics and phonetics in the SLT / SLP curriculum and its application in clinical practice. How much phonetics and linguistics is required as a student, so as to be useful preparation for later clinical roles? Which areas of phonetics and linguistics must be covered? What are the best ways of teaching and assessing the subject knowledge? How can it be made relevant to students and clinicians? What is your experience of using phonetics and linguistics in clinical practice? We would like to hear from lecturers, students and practising clinicians.


Welcome: Please let us know who you are and which languages you speak / work with.

Q1 Is knowledge of phonetics & linguistics important to practising SLTs/SLPs? How or why is it important?  #WeSpeechies

Q2 Which areas of phonetics & linguistics are essential & which ones are less relevant to clinical practice? #WeSpeechies

Q3 What are the best methods or resources for teaching clinical linguistics & phonetics? Do we need more resources? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What are the best methods for assessing student or clinician skills in clinical linguistics & phonetics? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #15 with Gail Bennell

Date: Tuesday 10 June 2014
Time: 8:00pm AEST for one hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Standard Time (Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney) | YOUR TIME ZONE
Curator: Gail Bennell @gailbennell (June 08-14) BLOG

Topic: Using video in clinical settings, and video blogging

Videos are easier than ever to create  - you can find a video camera just about anywhere these days - on your phone, your tablet, your laptop and more, while services such You Tube make it easy to share your videos with anyone in the world. Over 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube each minute, and more than 6 billion hours of video are watched each month!  [YouTube STATISTICS]

However, it is not always easy to know what to include and exclude from video format, and how this might impact upon your message with the intended audiences.

Creating videos is fantastic way of sharing information - you can use it to educate clients, other professionals and families, or use it as a way of recording (and even sharing) your reflections and much more.

This week we will be talking about using video of all types in clinical practice - with particular emphasis on sharing videos, such as video blogging, as well as simple tips and tricks to help you make videos that help you to get your message across, professionally.



Q1 Do you currently make or use videos for clinical purposes, in your work? Tell us how! #WeSpeechies

Q2 What are the challenges or pitfalls you have found in making or using video in clinical practice? #WeSpeechies

Q3 What resources have you used to make your videos? Do you have ‘video creation’ resources to share? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What would be your top tips for #WeSpeechies wanting to make videos to use in clinical practice?

Chat Concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #14 with Emily Wailes

Date: Tuesday 03 June 2014
Time: 8:00pm AEST for one hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Standard Time (Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney) | YOUR TIME ZONE
Curator: Emily Wailes @emilywailes  (June 01-07)

Topic: Communication support for people with intellectual disability who have challenging behaviour

Speech-Language Pathologists/Speech and Language Therapists may work with people with intellectual disability who have challenging behaviour. Challenging behaviour is behaviour “of such an intensity, frequency or duration as to threaten the quality of life and/or the physical safety of the individual or others and is likely to lead to responses that are restrictive, aversive or result in exclusion” (Royal College of Psychiatrists, British Psychological Society, and Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, 2007, p.10).
This week, @WeSpeechies will explore the role of speech-language professionals for this population. We will discuss how we can support the person, their carers, direct support workers, family members and community to develop effective communication methods. Our discussion will take into account that many factors may impact a person’s behaviour, such as personal and communicative experiences, medication and medical needs, communication environments and available supports.  We will share ideas as to how we can foster good communication practice across environments, identify the key people who need to be involved, and discuss how we can work together to support successful communication.

Royal College of Psychiatrists, British Psychological Society, and Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. (2007). Challenging Behaviour: A Unified Approach. London: Royal College of Psychiatrists.



Q1 Who is (or could be) involved in communication support for people with an intellectual disability and challenging behaviour? #WeSpeechies

Q2 Is the support we offer targeted at the person (client), or are we also working with families, carers, communities? #WeSpeechies

Q3 How can we promote the use of communication aids to reduce incidence of challenging behaviour? #WeSpeechies

Q4 Is there a role for social media to help individuals and their supporters access appropriate communication supports? #WeSpeechies

Chat Concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #13 with Melissa Brunner

Date: Tuesday 27 May 2014
Time: 8:00pm AEST for one hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Standard Time (Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Melissa Brunner LissBEE_CPSP (May 25-31) Melissa's Blog

Topic: Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Teenagers and adults with communication disabilities resulting from traumatic brain injury (TBI) face significant challenges in accessing information independently and engaging effectively in social situations and networks. #WeSpeechies can play a significant role in assisting people with a TBI re-engage and communicate more effectively, so how do we do it?!

In Australia, two notable researchers in the arena of social communication in TBI had the opportunity to highlight the issues and research to date. At the Speech Pathology Australia conference in Melbourne last week, Prof Jacinta Douglas presented the Elizabeth Usher keynote which was overwhelming well received by those Live-Tweeting in Twitter (type #spaconf AND Douglas into your Twitter search and you’ll find a lovely string of informative tweets). Just last week also, Prof Leanne Togher was able to talk all things Speech Pathology and TBI on Conversations with Richard Fidler on ABC Local Sydney (check out the podcast, it’s worth it!)

Over this week on #WeSpeechies, we will talk about TBI with respect to current research, social communication, communication partner training, impairment vs functional goals, relationships and identity, using technology including social media... and I’m sure much, much more!



Q1 Often working with people with a TBI can be memorable. What is your most memorable experience with a patient/client? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What research or experience/s have changed your practice when working with people with a TBI? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Are there barriers that you have experienced when helping people with a TBI? How have you overcome this? #WeSpeechies

Q4 Does electronic communication play a role in rehab?  Have you used a mobile, computer or the internet in therapy? #WeSpeechies

Q5 Are there any TBI resources that you find invaluable? What has helped you assist in achieving meaningful change for someone? #WeSpeechies

Chat Concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #12 with Bronwyn Hemsley

Date: Tuesday 20 May 2014
Time: 8:00pm AEST for one hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Standard Time (Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Tricia McCabe @tricmc with @bronwynhemsley moderating the Tuesday chat.

Topic: Conference Tweeting: Why are #WeSpeechies so keen?

Twitter at conferences is now ‘taken for granted’ with many who plan to attend asking, ‘what’s the hashtag?’ while those who cannot be there ask the same question, hoping to listen-in to its energy through Tweets.

In 2011 at the SPA Conference in Darwin, @Sattspeech, @TricMc and @bronwynhemsley seemed part of a very small contingent that was using Twitter in order to connect and to disseminate information from ‘within the walls’ to the Twitterverse.

Three years later, there are many more speech-language pathologists populating online public spaces. They come from a range of disciplines in #AlliedHealth and may include #SLPeeps, #SLP2B and #WeSpeechies in their Tweets. They often interact with  #OTpeeps, #PTpeeps #PhysioTalk #OTalk #RuralHealth #SocMed #MedEd #PublicHealth #HCSManz, and more.

While Tweeters are still comprise a minority of delegates at healthcare and academic conferences, many ‘newbies’ join and use Twitter for the first time at these professional events. It is for this reason that #WeSpeechies would like to achieve two things during the very special week of the #SPAconf in 2014, in the #ICP2014 year.

  • First, we’d like to encourage Live Tweeting from a speech pathology conference, and so have a Live Tweeter of our very own with A/Prof Tricia McCabe @TricMc as ‘RoCur’, curating the @WeSpeechies handle for the week - beginning with the conference, and ending on Friday with a reflection and review of the fantastic event. On the Tuesday night at 8pm AEST we wil have a chat about the use of Twitter at conferences - and this aims to uncover the diverse range of views among people both at and outside the conference on how they prefer their conference Twitter experience to unfold, and what helps or hinders learning through and while Tweeting at conferences.
  • Second, we’d like to provide a fast response ‘just in time’ network to be ready and willing to respond when newbies Tweet for the first, second, or even third time! We need the whole #WeSpeechies network to work together through the week to help SLPs who are new to Twitter to find useful handles to follow and discover some of the joys of Twitter.

So, in the interests of serving both of these aims, we’ve selected ten very good or ‘most excellent’ resources to guide any Live Tweeters at the conference, which will help us back at the base to connect in the new #WeSpeechies Tweeters as they come along. Many of the tips in these ten resources are similar, so you could read just one and be on the right path.


Most Excellent Guidelines on Tweeting at Academic / Health Conferences!



Q1 If you are not at a conference, what do you want from people tweeting from the conference?  #WeSpeechies

Q2 If you are at a conference, does it help your understanding of the presentation (or distract) if you follow in twitter? #WeSpeechies

Q3 How could conference organisers use/facilitate social media engagement? #WeSpeechies

Q4 Are you at #SPAconf or actively involved in #ICP2014 this week? What have been your highlights today, Monday and Tuesday? #WeSpeechies

Chat Concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #11 with Felicity Bright

Date: Tuesday 13 May 2014
Time: 9:00pm NZT for one hour
Time Zone: New Zealand Time (Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington) | YOUR TIME ZONE
This week's curator: Felicity Bright @FlissBright

Topic: Patient-provider communication

Communication skills are considered a core competency in many, if not all healthcare professions. But what do we mean by communication skills? As speech-language therapists, our minds might quickly go to supported conversation. We might talk about active listening and following the patient’s lead. But what does ‘active listening’ look like? How good are we at following the patient’s lead? Observational studies indicate healthcare providers often overlay their own structures and values onto what the patient says.This can see the provider take control over the interaction (and even more so if the patient has communication difficulties). As healthcare providers, we don’t always get the little things right. Dr Kate Granger has led a great campaign called #hellomynameis after realising many healthcare providers don’t introduce themselves when they meet a patient. On Twitter, someone recently suggested the follow-up campaign should be #sitdownwhileyoutalkwithme. The little things matter. Where do care and compassion fit in? Perhaps areas such as palliative care, narrative medicine and medical humanities can teach us more about communication.

My clinical background is in neuro-rehabilitation and my research focuses on communication difficulties following stroke. I’d love to hear from #slpeeps outside healthcare.  What are the different communication skills we and our colleagues need in different settings - in disability, health, private practice, education or student training? 

Over this week, we’ll talk more about all aspects of patient/client/service user-provider communication, from the very start of accessing a service to writing our discharge reports.



Q1 Are #WeSpeechies better at communicating with patients/clients than other professionals? Tell us why/why not

Q2 What are the vital ingredients for good communication between health professionals and patients/clients/family #WeSpeechies?

Q3 Have your communication skills developed over time? What helped you become a better communicator? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What resources have you or your employer used that lead to improved communication with clients/patients/service users? #WeSpeechies

Chat Concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #10 with Caroline Bowen and Bronwyn Hemsley

Date: Tuesday 06 May 2014
Time: 8:00pm AEST for one hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Standard Time
This week's curators: Caroline Bowen @speechwoman and Bronwyn Hemsley @BronwynHemsley

Topic: Words, words and more words: Untangling our terminology

People with communication difficulties and their families, and speech-language pathologists / speech and language therapists (SLPs/SLTs) and their collaborators, increasingly turn to ‘Dr Google’ and other search engines, or community sources (e.g., Twitter and Facebook) and scientific databases (e.g., The Cochrane Library, Google Scholar) for information, evidence, answers and support.

It is important therefore that both SLPs/SLTs and the communities they serve are aware of relevant terms and their meanings, and can apply some ‘tricks of the trade’ when it comes to using terms to discover ‘information’ and ‘evidence’. Often, consumers and families search for evidence by using descriptions of their own symptoms, and so it is also important that terms relating to signs and symptoms of delay, disorder, impairment, conditions and diseases are also made clear wherever possible.

In the field of SLP/SLT, as in medicine, some terms that appear to be synonymous (e.g, frenectomy and frenotomy; phonological awareness and phoneme awareness) actually mean different things that have different implications. Similarly the same acronyms are used for different treatment approaches (e.g., 'AIT' for 'Auditory Input Therapy' (which is evidence-based) and 'AIT' for 'Auditory Integration Therapy' (which is not evidence-based).

In the International Communication Project 2014 year, the Better Hearing and Speech Month, and the SAC-OAC Conference week in Ottawa, @WeSpeechies will discuss ‘words words and more words’ in relation to child and adult (a) speech, (b) language, (c) voice, (d) fluency, (e) augmentative and alternative communication/multimodal communication, and (f) swallowing. And there’s more – we will discuss even more words relating to all of these domains – including (a) assessment, (b) treatment, (c) prognosis, (d) prevention, (e) research, (f) quality, and (g) service delivery.

SLPs/SLTs have an immense store of terms (diadochokinesis, within normal limits) and acronyms (DDK, WNL). Those in adult settings have a core glossary that those in child settings may struggle to understand, and vice versa; and SLP/SLT consumers are often at a complete loss.

Clarity of communication is vital in adequately informing consumers and families of their options, prior to their consent for service delivery, so our week will focus upon ‘speech language pathology’ words and how these can be used creatively to seek and find useful high quality information.



Q1 What SLP/SLT terms ‘put a bee in your bonnet’ – are there ‘easily confused’ terms in your area of practice? #WeSpeechies

Q2 Tell us your AREA of practice, and Tweet FIVE TERMS that will help people to find evidence in databases? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Is it helpful to search for Authors or Centres/Centers when seeking evidence? Tell us the field of practice and some names! #WeSpeechies

Q4 What WORD, SOURCE or OTHER tricks make it easier to find evidence in your AREA of practice? #WeSpeechies

Chat Concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #9 with Rachel Davenport

Date: Tuesday 29 April 2014
Time: 8:00pm AEST for one hour
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Standard Time This week's curator: Rachel Davenport @rachyroo1972  BLOG

Topic: Work-life balance and the doctoral journey

Doing a PhD is often referred to as going on a journey; there are many ways to get to your destination, full-time, part-time, with one or many supervisors. Everyone’s journey is unique but one thing we all have in common is that life happens while we’re on the journey. This week we’re talking about work-life balance (is there such a thing?) and the doctoral journey.



Q1 What potentially conflicting ‘life priorities’ did you/do you/will you need to balance as a PhD scholar? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What barriers & facilitators to maintaining balance regularly occur(ed) as your PhD studies progress(ed)? Work? Home? What? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Have you identified strategies to maintain PhD focus & progress, while still caring for you & your important relationships? #WeSpeechies

Q4 Did you have work-life balance before your PhD studies commenced? Do you now? Will you ever? Is it all that important? #WeSpeechies

Q5 What’s your best advice to someone starting his or her PhD journey, for achieving and/or maintaining balance in life? #WeSpeechies

Chat Concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #8 with Bronwyn [^bh] and Caroline [^cb]

@WeSpeechies Special Event April 27 2014

This chat was timed for 7:30pm-8:30pm AEST Sun 27 April (Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney time)

Hashtag: #CuriousCurator


@WeSpeechies is a ‘rotation curation’ (#RoCur) Twitter account, which means that it relies upon the rotation of curators who volunteer their time to ‘take the handle’ and ‘curate the content’.  The administrators are @SpeechWoman (Caroline Bowen) and @BronwynHemsley. Neither has a financial interest in Twitter, although Bronwyn’s 3 year fellowship investigating another aspect of Twitter is funded by the Australian Research Council. Meanwhile, Caroline hosts information about the #RoCur on her own (this) website that relies upon donations - and voluntarily hosts the calendar of chats, the guidance, the transcripts, and a place to keep everything together for the record. 

Caroline and Bronwyn are constantly in touch collaborating over the direction that @WeSpeechies might take - and this occurs in response to what is happening on the handle from week to week - it is evolving! As we are quite new as a #RoCur, we are very pleased to see our network (that’s you!) extending well into a range of countries and cultures, in the one language, English. We wonder what would happen if we extended our reach into other languages!


At this stage, we’d like to pause between Curators and reflect on the administering experience. We are also thinking that perhaps there are other people who wish to start up their own #RoCur and who would like the opportunity to chat about it.  


We’d also like you to reflect upon the experience of either being a curator or of being a member of the chats or a listener in the audience. Can you help us to improve @WeSpeechies? How can we improve the curation in the network, so that we can use @WeSpeechies to:

  • build a community of practice that fosters high quality information exchange and increased access to evidence relating to communication and swallowing?
  • help to disseminate high quality research?
  • bring researchers, clinicians, teachers, students, client-group advocates and clients, and interested others together?
  • connect across disciplines to increase inter-disciplinary awareness and inter-professional practice?
  • increase the potential for clinical guidelines to be moved into practice more quickly?
  • help the general public to understand more about our profession and its purpose?
  • help the general public to implement ‘do no harm’ interventions that aim to increase communication access and communication enrichment in society?
  • be a resource to the public and to particular groups who also work with populations who have communication and swallowing difficulties (e.g., teachers, allied health professionals)?
  • support, promote and initiate campaigns designed to save our services from budget cuts?
  • support retention in our profession and reduce social or professional isolation, particularly for new graduates and sole practitioners

Topics to discuss

1.    Has @WeSpeechies had any impact on how you use Twitter or talk about it to others? #CuriousCurator

2.    Who do you WISH could curate the handle for a week? #CuriousCurator

3.   If you were a curator, would you tell your friends? #CuriousCurator

4.   A flood of Tweets, or a trickle - what can we do with both styles? #CuriousCurator

#WeSpeechies Chat #7 with Avril Nicoll

Date: Tuesday 22 April 2014
Time: 8:00pm BST for 1 hour
Time Zone: British Summer Time
This week’s curator: Avril Nicoll @avrilnicoll (April 20 -  April 26) BLOG

Making a change in our practice means integrating or replacing what we are used to doing with something different. But this is not easy. While there are countless changes we could make, only some will get off the ground, and still fewer will be sustained. So what does it really take for ideas about practice to become manifest?

Topic: Making a change in your practice – what does it take?



Q1 What have you managed to do differently in practice, and why? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What in your practice has not changed, and why? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Where do your new ideas for practice come from, and how do you share them? #WeSpeechies

Q4 Apart from your own motivation, what influences how you sustain or adapt practice? #WeSpeechies

Q5 How do you decide if a practice change is worth continuing? #WeSpeechies

Chat Concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #6 with Dorothy Bishop

Date: Tuesday 15 April 2014
Time: 8:00am BST for 1 hour
Time Zone: British Summer Time
This week's curator: Dorothy Bishop @deevybee (April 13 - April 19) BLOG

Topic: Apprehensive Academics on Twitter


Q1 What makes for an effective/ineffective tweet? #WeSpeechies

Q2 Have you got any tips for attracting followers? #WeSpeechies
Q3 Are there downsides to Twitter? #WeSpeechies

Q4 What unexpected benefits of Twitter have you found? #WeSpeechies
Q5 Does your employer have an issue or policy on staff being on Twitter, that you know about? #WeSpeechies

Chat Concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #5 with Naomi MacBean Hartley

Date: Tuesday 08 April 2014
Time: 8:00pm CST for 1 hour
Time Zone: US Central Time (Chicago, Kingston, Lima, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Winnipeg time)
This week's curator: Naomi MacBean Hartley @MacNaomi (April 6 - April 12)

Topic: Voice



Q1 What are the roles of SLP/ENT/singing teachers in management of #Voice disorders? #WeSpeechies

Q2 Who should intervene in childhood voice disorders, and should SLPs/SLTs be involved? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Is hydration important in vocal health? Do we have the evidence to back up our vocal hygiene recommendations? #WeSpeechies

Q4 Does our #voice management approach depend on a) indiv patient b) employer's service deliv model c) location d) all of these? #WeSpeechies

Q5 What areas of #voice would you like to have more coverage in continuing education, research, etc? #WeSpeechies

Chat Concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #4 with Kathleen Munro

Date: Tuesday 01 April 2014
Time: 8:00pm ACDT for 1 hour
Time Zone: Australian Central Daylight Time (Adelaide South Australia Time)
This week's curator: Kathleen Munro @SpeechieKate (March 30 - April 5)

Twitter is a fast paced and information filled environment where people connect, engage, disseminate information, and share their opinions... Or is it? Beneath all the overt correspondence of the tweeters, there are the lurkers. Who are these mysterious lurkers? Do we all fit into this binary system? It's time to watch this mystery unfold and shed light onto our fundamental twitter roles.

Topic: Lurking and Tweeting



Q1 Do you identify as a lurker or a tweeter? What makes you identify with this particular group? #WeSpeechies

Q2 If you are a lurker, what are the benefits and disadvantages of being a lurker? Tweeters, feel free to weigh in here! #WeSpeechies

Q3 If you are a tweeter, what are the benefits and disadvantages of being a tweeter? Lurkers, feel free to weigh in here! #WeSpeechies

Q4 Over the course of your twitter life, have you swapped between these roles? Why? #WeSpeechies

Q5 Do you think that the tweeter/lurker binary is all there is? What are the others and what are their definitions? #WeSpeechies

Chat Concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #3 with Tom Sather

Date: Tuesday 25 March 2014
Time: 8:00pm CST for 1 hour
Time Zone: US CST (Chicago, Dallas, Kingston, Lima, Winnipeg time)
This week's curator: Thomas W Sather @TomSatherSLP (March 23-29) BLOG

Topic: Aphasia



Q1 What are barriers to effective communication support for people with aphasia and how have you overcome those barriers? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What are resources for people with aphasia and their families that have been helpful? #WeSpeechies

Q3 What are some effective ways you have supported friends and family of those with aphasia? #WeSpeechies

Q4  What are community opportunities for people with aphasia and their families not receiving formal rehabilitation service? #WeSpeechies

Q5 In what ways have funding, productivity and staffing impacted your aphasia service delivery? #WeSpeechies

Chat Concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #2 with Bronwyn Hemsley

Date: Tuesday 18 March 2014
Time: 8:00pm AEDT for 1 hour
Time Zone: ACT, NSW, TAS, VIC (Canberra, Sydney, Hobart, Melbourne time)
This week's curator: Bronwyn Hemsley @BronwynHemsley (March 16-22) FACULTY PAGE

Topic: Speech-Language Pathology/Speech and Language Therapy e-health solutions



Q1 What % of your work is ‘online’ Internet including all direct and indirect services and preparation for client sessions? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What is the major role you have in the ‘online mode’ of being an SLP or SLT? is it direct service, information support, or something else? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Can you imagine your role ‘growing’ in the online social media space? In what way? #WeSpeechies

Q4 Do you see ‘social media skills’ as being important communication goals for clients? what age groups or population groups? #WeSpeechies

Q5 What % of your clients do you think are wanting to be active on social media using text, pictures, or videos? #WeSpeechies

Q6 Do you have any strategies for helping people to learn social media skills? how do you improve their communication online? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

#WeSpeechies Chat #1 with Caroline Bowen

Date: Tuesday 11 March 2014
Time: 8:00pm AEDT for 1 hour
Time Zone: ACT, NSW, TAS, VIC (Canberra, Sydney, Hobart, Melbourne time)
This week's curator: Caroline Bowen @speechwoman (March 9-15)

Topic: Engaging in Twitter; demystifying the experience



Q1 Who are you, where are you, and have you been on Twitter long? #WeSpeechies

Q2 Experienced Tweeps: What do you Tweet about professionally? Are there benefits? How much of your time does Twitter consume? #WeSpeechies

Q3 Inexperienced Tweeps: What was your most positive experience on Twitter so far? Has a particular link or article helped you? #WeSpeechies

Q4 #SLP2B's and Instructors/Clinical Educators: How do you use Twitter professionally? What does the future hold? #WeSpeechies

Q5 Is there ANYTHING about the basic functions / workings of Twitter you want to ask about? #WeSpeechies? No such thing as a silly question!

Q6 Are you more active NOW on Facebook, Pinterest, or other social media than you are on Twitter? If 'yes', why? If 'no', why? #WeSpeechies

Chat concludes

Chat Guidelines

Help #WeSpeechies’ Tuesday Chats work for everyone, including you

  1. Follow the @WeSpeechies handle.
  2. If you intend to Tweet more than a handful of times, let your followers know that you may be sending multiple tweets. That way they can ‘mute you’ temporarily if the chat topic is not interesting for them.
  3. During a Tuesday chat, add the hashtag (tag) #WeSpeechies to all your Tweets so that they can be aggregated. This means:
    • everyone following the tag will see your contributions; and
    • when the chat transcript is generated there will be fewer confusing gaps in the interactions.
  4. If your Tweets are protected (i.e., if you have a padlock on your handle), people who are not your followers will not be able to see your contributions to the chat. Please turn this protection off if you plan to Tweet into a #WeSpeechies chat. There are instructions for turning protection on and off here.
  5. Note that if you wish to, while a chat is in progress, you can engage in ‘side chats’ without the #WeSpeechies tag. You can review other conversations later. Side chats are not considered to be bad form!
  6. The @WeSpeechies administrators find TweetDeck, available free, makes it easier to participate in #WeSpeechies chats. Try it before the chat is due to start.
  7. Moderators: Do not schedule Tweets from the @WeSpeechies handle!



Aviator oyna cox olk?l?rd? h?r gun daha cox populyarlasan maraql? pul oyunudur. Sad?liyi v? yuks?k qazanma nisb?ti il? cox qumarbaz?n ur?yini qazand?.