SLP Toolkit Podcast, Episode 24, Transcript
Sarah : (00:10)
What's up Kathman?
Sarah : (00:42)
That was a terrible impression of what accent was that even? Like Cockney?
Sarah : (00:51)
Okay. All right. What a way to start our very first episode of season two.
I think it's because I've been watching MTV The Challenge and it's the US versus the Brits and they've got some serious accents.
Sarah : (01:05)
But they don't talk like that.
And we're kicking their ass, just like we did in the Revolutionary War.
Sarah : (01:11)
Nope. I am sorry for all of you from the UK right now, who are listening to this.
But you should watch The Challenge 'cause it's real life, it's happening.
Sarah : (01:19)
I will say though, when I lived in South Africa, people-- I think it's easier for people to do an American accent because they watch-- maybe this is a stupid thing to say, but I feel like they watch a lot of American movies and TV, so they hear it a lot. And so they would all do it. And some people would do it very fairly well, but other people would make us sound real dumb.
But it's like how people--
Sarah : (01:41)
Real dumb. And I'm like I don't sound like that you ass.
No but they try to do like-- even right now, I want to hear your Southern accent.
Sarah : (01:49)
I need something to say.
Say, "I'm going to try not to say it with a Southern accent. Hi y'all--"
Sarah : (01:54)
All I have in my head right now is I'm going to try not to say it with a Southern accent. All I have is British right now.
Ok now do New York.
Sarah : (02:02)
I want you to talk though, not say vocabulary words.
Sarah : (02:06)
I can't now, I have to just do it in the moment. So what you don't know, because you don't spend all this time with us, like we do with each other is accents just fly out of my mouth at the most random times of day.
It's always British though.
Sarah : (02:21)
Is it always British?
Always British. That's when I know you're serious.
Sarah : (02:25)
I'm not going to do it though, for reals, because it's probably shameful. Anyway, that was a super weird introduction.
I just forget what we do. I haven't done a podcast in so long. I totally forget the routine, the drill.
Sarah : (02:38)
Well, typically it goes, Hey Lisa, Hey Sarah. And then we start randomly talking. This time it just took a weird turn. Should we start over?
No governor. Time is money.
Sarah : (02:49)
True. Oh my gosh so we took a break from the podcast, but not from life. We didn't get a summer break.
But we did get to go to Africa. That was not like a break because--
Sarah : (03:03)
that was not a vacation.
it was long and grueling days. It was still a break from our regular routine.
Sarah : (03:09)
Yes, that is true. Cause I was about to say we didn't even go anywhere all summer because I didn't take a family vacation and we worked our butts off. It was one of our hardest summers probably, but you're right. We did go to Africa, not a vacation. Super awesome though. And we're going to do an entire podcast all about it. I was going to do it for this first one of the season, but to be honest with you, it's been what, two or three weeks since we've been home? Maybe a month, maybe a month we've been home and I still haven't recovered. So I'm not ready to talk about it yet.
Isn't that funny? It's just like Matt and his Burning Man experience you just need try to deconstruct that.
Sarah : (03:47)
I don't really care about that either. But no, we also have some guests that are going to come in from team Ghana and talk about that, including Sandy, who is the creator of Smiles for Speech. And I'm really excited to talk with her. We even convinced our BFF Shannon from Speechy Musings to pop into a makeshift confessional in the hotel room. She has refused to do this podcast or really anything we've asked her to do where she's going to be publicly speaking. And we got her to do it because she can't say no to us 'cause we got her convinced with our charm and wit. So anyway, she did a little segment with us. We're going to have a few other people just talking about some different things that we learned, not just about Ghana, but the takeaways in general. Life changing, yeah?
It was a big trip.
Sarah : (04:37)
Again, still not recovered, not ready to talk about it. I will say though, I thought this first episode, because everybody's back to school. I think the kind of the last-- back East where they go a little later, I think they're back this week. So this is perfect timing. And I thought, the confession for this episode would be, "this school year is going to be really different" and other lies I tell myself.
Good. Cause I wasn't really sure what we're talking about. But I have lots of those.
Sarah : (05:09)
But I mean every school year didn't you go in with "oh, I'm ready. This is the one."
Well, first of all, you had a chance to actually catch up on life outside of work. So you come in all fresh and enthusiastic, all these new systems that you've read about or thought about. And I was really good up until the second kid started coming into my room. So I think I had that whole, whatever it was five days, whatever it was before kids were there.
Sarah : (05:36)
The funny part is, is technically you're not supposed to have any days with no students. Right? isn't that what they used to say? At least be doing baseline testing and doing something and having interactions with kids. I'd be like, haha joke's on you fools. I'm not seeing kids for at least a week.
We had a couple of weeks in the district we worked in because we had about five days of contract before they started.
Sarah : (05:57)
yes, you're right. But we were also there before the teachers. So I couldn't make my schedule or anything during that time.
Right. And then the next week when students were there and teachers were there, that's when the schedule was done. And I think I was still fairly optimistic in that time period. It was really going to be different.
Sarah : (06:14)
When you don't have to see students, you can be an awesome therapist. That's true.
It is true. The kids always got in the way.
Sarah : (06:22)
They really do.
Of my paperwork and other stuff I had to do.
Sarah : (06:22)
What a buzzkill, the minute they start walking in the door.
No, but I think for me, I remember that was the time I'd prep for the year in my head where my data sheets were pristine. I had a really pretty schedule. I was never the queen of crafty kind of things. So I usually made my SLPA do a bulletin board because it looked real fancy.
Sarah : (06:43)
Yeah. Let's talk about that for a second. People have lots of feelings about their speech rooms and first of all, not everybody has the luxury of a speech room. So for those of you who are currently working in a library in the corner, it is what it is. But if you do have some kind of room-- I've had janitor sized closets and I've had almost full sized classrooms. So I've run the gamut of where I've worked, but I enjoy decorating and I enjoy being in a space that makes me happy, which is why we invested so much into making this office look nice is it just makes me feel joy to be in a space that I love and like to look around in. So I always went a little bananas on my speech room.
but I enjoy a space, but I don't have that kind of brain that designs it and thinks of the ideas.
Sarah : (07:34)
I don't prioritize that either as something right? And the reason I'm making this point is I didn't want anyone ever to look at my room and be like if I posted pictures or something, people would be insecure about--
I feel it's a Pinterest gene that I just skipped
Sarah : (07:49)
Yeah. But the point is, is I'm not doing it to show off I'm doing it just because I really love it. And I love making stuff.
Well so even my SLPA, she did it for me and I always loved it when she did it. So I enjoyed it. But I just didn't-- for me, that was the last thing on my list of to do's even though I really liked it when it was done, if that even makes sense. Even our office now, totally love it. You're going to come decorate my house too, when I actually have walls and floors and all of that. But I love a great organized aesthetically pleasing space. Just my brain doesn't go there independently.
Sarah : (08:27)
Yes, I get it.
So then I never beat myself up about it though. I would look at stuff and be like, that's super cool. That's a badass speech room or whatever. I think it's pretty. Or even if I went into somebody's house, like, oh, that's beautiful, but I didn't come home and be like, Lisa (slapping noise)
Sarah : (08:42)
I'm a terrible therapist.
That was me slapping myself.
Sarah : (08:45)
Yeah. I was gonna say, you do know no one can see you right? But I do. It's funny. I see all sorts of comments and all of these things and the ones kill me though will be things like, oh, she's obviously got a lot of time on her hands to make a room look like that. No, she just prioritized, that was important to her.
But it's not even prioritizing--
Sarah : (09:05)
A lot of times I worked on the weekend.
On the weekend that's what I was going to say. You always went in on a weekend and did that, or at night.
Sarah : (09:10)
It mattered to me and I enjoyed it. I didn't do it because I had to impress a single human and I love to craft. I should have been a crafter. That's what I would do if I wasn't an SLP.
You are a crafter.
Sarah : (09:21)
But I mean for a living. And so anyway, I will show some pictures. I'll post some of my favorite things. One was my speech tree, which I just found out is still living. It's still on the campus because my friend is the SLPA at the campus where I used to work and she sent me a picture that the speech tree is still alive and good. And then I did the brain-- do you remember the big giant brain for growth mindset? That was my favorite. So anyway, I've had some favorite rooms across the way and I'll see if I can dig up some pictures. So I hope you guys have a space. I hope that you make it yours. I do think that's important because you spend so much time in there. I did see speech room news. Did you see Jenna's post about her cart? It looks like she must be going from room to room or something. Maybe she doesn't-- oh, I think they share a room. Is that what it is? Is there a bunch of therapists in one room? So then she goes and does inclusion. Anyway, she's got this cart that she's organized and everything's on this cart.
So there you go. Doesn't even have to be a room.
Sarah : (10:19)
Don't even have to have a room. You just have to have a system. So anyway, I always had one. Big systems, big organization from the get go. Big ideas. And then two weeks into the school year it all went to shit.
Even like the first IEP, I think that's when the goals started changing and my data sheets became scribbled out versions-- or actually what would really happen is a month later and then I'm like, oh yeah, we held that IEP.
Sarah : (10:44)
Right. I changed that goal.
I changed three goals. So that kind of stuff would start hitting me. I was always really organized from a time perspective though, which I think saved my behind in many ways, because even if I was chaotic and other things, I always had that kind of big picture of what my year looked like in terms of IEP's and evals and structured my time around-- I'd schedule out the meetings and that way, when it was on the calendar, I knew that it would have attention. If it was free-floating and not scheduled, didn't pay it any attention. So I would at least get everything scheduled. I tried to do that in advance. And then there were times that I was doing the IEP the day before or whatever, but you just have so many, I just felt like I had them organized in my desk drawer by meetings that were scheduled, meetings that were coming up and I just kind of moved my file folders around. So that worked for me. But the other stuff, like I think where I would always start to feel really lacking is, again, things like data sheets. I had them in binders and they would just get outdated and I'd be shuffling papers and I'd run out of copies.
Sarah : (11:50)
I'd be writing in margins.
I'd figure that out when the kids were walking in. So that kind of stuff always was super frustrating. And I knew it was kind of self-imposed. I did that to myself and then even therapy stuff. Like there were times where I felt really creative and connected into what I was doing. And then there were other times where I was just in survival mode and I pulled whatever was on the first thing I saw on my shelf.
Sarah : (12:14)
Or out of your ass.
Right. Well, that's what I meant by shelf.
Sarah : (12:17)
But I mean like sometimes I didn't take the material off the shelf. I literally just pulled things out of thin air and went with it. And we're going to talk about this more in the Ghana episode, but that is the biggest lesson we all learned, I think is it is amazing what you can do. If you've got enough clinical skills it is amazing what you can do with absolutely nothing.
I don't think it's a new-- not even think, I know as a CF or a newer clinician, I needed to be a lot more structured because I didn't even know how to differentiate things. I didn't know how to scaffold in the moment. All of that stuff that comes with--
Sarah : (12:51)
You can't bull shit your way through it if you don't have experience. That doesn't even come from-- it's not like, oh, well I must have been that great of a grad student. No, no. It is life experience that will help that process. But your first couple of years, you do, you've got to have structure. You have got to lesson plan and you do need to look up resources and find materials that will help you target certain areas. And I actually just saw a post the other day in I think one of the Facebook groups and it made me think, you know, we talk a lot about having to be a Jack of all trades in the schools and the fact that I think we always talk about it in the way of don't feel bad that you don't know everything because you can't possibly know everything and it's okay. It's okay not to know. It's okay to say, I don't know. And then the best thing you can be is be a problem solver and be resourceful. But this post kind of took a twist on the fact of maybe it's not okay, maybe it's not okay to have such a broad range of knowledge and be expected to treat everything, maybe you should have expertise. And maybe that's a problem in our field and in our case of study is maybe we should focus on like maybe your speech. And so you focus hard on articulation and fluency and Apraxia or maybe you're more of a language and literacy expert, or maybe you are more of swallowing and dysphasia, or maybe-- instead of we have to know everything. And I kind of had mixed emotions on it. And so I thought, it is one of the problems in the schools that you are expected to know so much that you really are doing the best you can with what you have and I think it's okay to give yourself permission.
But here's the caveat to me in this whole scenario. And I used to see this even as a clinician and then on the flip side, as a lead sitting in other meetings, the school district is not responsible for everything for that child. They are responsible for learning, coming up with that IEP. The SLP in that same case too, is writing communication goals that helps with that student's access to the curriculum, which if it's a more involved student where their curriculum is maybe even in a self contained setting, that's the framework we have to think. So it doesn't mean we have to be experts in everything. We have to be experts in the setting that we work in. We have to be able to differentiate what we're doing for multiple students. It's a very unique setting it's not ever going-- I don't think you have to be an expert. I think you have to know when you need to step outside and offer additional services where that gets-- or recommend additional services and where that gets tricky. But to me where it always-- it really isn't tricky though, because again, you have a kid with, let's just say down syndrome. They are being supported in the school setting, they're getting their academic needs met, but typically they're also getting services at home. They're getting funding from the state. So even if they're not seeking those services or following up on that, that is funding and eligibility through the state too. They're getting things oftentimes through insurance companies, things like that. So it's not that the whole entire burden of care for that child is the school district. And I think that's where we get tripped up, where if it's like, I can work on some things but really, I need you to also follow up on your end, parent or team or whatever it is and seek other supports. That's where it can get tricky, because then I think, well, if you're saying the kid needs it, then you're responsible for it. And I would argue that I don't think it's the burden of the school district to be responsible for every need for that child.
Sarah : (16:22)
Yes. I have very mixed emotions, like I said I actually think it's why I loved the schools the most. I enjoyed having a caseload with students with diverse needs and I can't get bored ever. So just to me, private therapy one-on-one therapy that was never going to work for me. I literally can't even-- the thought of working with one child for a whole hour or something. No. So I actually, I think I enjoyed it, but the insecurity and that imposter syndrome, I think so many of us feel because we're expected to be able to treat all areas of disability. That's tough. It's a hard pill to swallow I think for a lot of us, because most of us are very type A and we don't like to fail. And we like to-- it's a service oriented career so we want to serve.
That imposter thing though I think comes from that feeling of comparison. And I think I should be this expert in Apraxia or an expert in fluency, because there are people that work in clinics like that. But that's not the case, you know enough to provide solid treatment. And if you don't know, you know where to find the resources to provide this treatment. So it's not that it's-- I never felt like-- I don't want to say this the wrong way. It's not like I felt like I was the greatest, expert on therapy in the whole world and could go speak around the world on certain therapy topics. It wasn't that. I still felt good at my--
Sarah : (17:55)
I was gonna ask if you wanted to do Apraxia for the next--
Who me? like present? No. That would be a no. But no, but that idea of-- I think that's almost what people sitting in a school feel like they have to compare themselves to. I felt like I was a great team player. I loved my kids. I loved trying to identify what was happening with them, supporting them like I loved. And I thought I did a great job. So was I the best therapist in the whole entire world? No, but I think I was a damn good therapist.
Sarah : (18:28)
That's what I was going to say you probably were one of the best therapists. Were you the expert in fluency? No. Were you going to be doing any remarkable presentations on that topic? Probably not. Because we hate when people ask us even questions on that topic. But what it came down to is that your therapeutic skills were good. And that's the idea is I think there's a lot of-- and I have some animosity about-- not animosity towards grad school. That's not correct, but I felt like after grad school, I was like, what the hell? Why'd you spend so much time telling me all that theory and stuff? I need some practical application here people. Like you just left me feeling like a fish out of water. And, really with experience, did I finally realize that wasn't their job. There's no human possible way they could give us every experience we're going to encounter because they don't even know them all.
They could have said that though. They could have made that bridge of that's where I felt lacking too, because I felt the same exact way. But I think if I would have been given permission to feel okay about that, like hey, this is the purpose of grad school. We're going to give you the tools that you need. Once you get out, you're going to keep building your clinical skills and it will all just kind of come together at some point. But I literally felt like I was going to grad school to get a magic wand. And then when other people expected me to have that magic wand, I didn't know what to say. Cause I was like, well, maybe they gave it to everyone else and not to me.
Sarah : (19:53)
You were absent that day that the wands got passed out.
They ran out of magic wands.
Sarah : (19:57)
It's so true. Did I tell you? I say that all the time, I literally was like, was I asleep that day? That everybody learned that thing? Cause I never heard that or learned it. But I think that's what this all comes down to. And I think I had my big aha actually in Ghana is when I realized I actually-- because I've always said, I think I'm a great diagnostician. I love that detective piece too. And I think I've always been very good at assessment. And it's the reason I think we're in this assessment and data kind of part of the field for SLP Toolkit, but I always kind of questioned my therapeutic skills. I always knew I was great at rapport and relationships with students and I always was there, but I always questioned if I actually knew what I was doing when it came to therapy and in Ghana again, because I'm working with a variety of kids I've never even met before and have no background on at all. Had no resources, really, that I would typically have access to in my normal day to day. And I really kind of realized I do know what I'm doing and I know a lot more than I think I know. And I've got, again, it's okay not to know everything, but I think we've got to-- that imposter syndrome thing. It's okay. I mean, I don't want to say we shouldn't have it cause that's normal.
Well, right. I think you shouldn't get hung up on what you don't know.
Sarah : (21:22)
I spent too much time and energy stressing about what I didn't know.
Be aware of what you don't know and fill in those missing gaps over time as you need to. There will be kids on your caseload that will force you-- usually on a weekly basis to fill in missing gaps. But that's part of being an experienced clinician is working with people and they are going to show you what you don't know. The other thing I think that people get hung up on-- and I think one of my big ahas was sitting in some of those-- we always called them a hot meeting where it was I would be there with the school based SLP and there would be directors there and advocates for the parent and whatever. And they would bring in their private SLPs. And I am not bagging on private SLPs at all. I have been, I've worked in clinics, I've worked in home health, but it was in those moments that I realized that I do know a lot. Because what I know is I know the setting that these skills are expected. I know the day to day what that child's day looks like, what their curriculum looks like, the expectations in that curriculum. And it was more about-- there've been a couple of meetings where I've sat there and I'm like, huh? Like there was one meeting I remember in particular that there was an SLP that was doing a private outside evaluation, did this comprehensive 20 page evaluation. And we sit there in the meeting and I said, but did you observe the student? Did you get a language sample? It was literally her 20 pages was standardized test after standardized test, after standardized test, pulling all of the rationale for how that impacts curriculum from the actual manuals, which that's a great strategy. I do that in my own evaluations. If you ever really dig into even like the CELF or any of those kind of tests, they give you the connection for each sub test to what's going on in the classroom. But I also then need to know what's going on in the classroom? How would this really impact them? I don't need a goal that just says, I need the student to memorize a seven digit new numeric chain. That's not relevant. When will I ever need to do that in the classroom? So that's where I think when I started to sit in those meetings, I'm like, huh. So even though we come to the table with equal knowledge, I really know this setting. And so that's I think what-- when even we kind of break it down after the meeting too, I think we get so intimidated when outside people come in and start to question what we're doing, but if you can stay strong in that knowledge of you know that student, you know that curriculum, you know the way that things work at that school, focus on that. Put your energy there. You are the expert in that.
Sarah : (24:01)
And if you're not, cause maybe you're new to schools, you're either a CF or you're coming back to the schools after being in another setting for a long, long time. Focus some energy there, put some energy into really understanding that setting. The same as I would if I switched over to medical and I'd have to learn a whole new set of terminology and a whole new way of working with different team members. And so I think that's a great place to spend some time, learn the standards, understand the curriculum to the best of your knowledge. Again, we're not teachers and that is not our job to be teachers. But you still need to understand kind of what the first grade team is working on and try to incorporate some of that in there. And understand that language because again, one of the worst things we can do is pull these kids into our classroom, teach them all this new jargon and vocabulary and skills, and then send them back out into the classroom where they're expected to try to make that connection into the classroom? not likely to happen. So we've gotta be able to connect those two worlds as much as possible. You need to build rapport with those teachers.
I was gonna say, even to know who the first grade team is. You can't stay holed up in your area, you've got to find ways. And time is crazy. There are weeks that I remember feeling like I had more time than other weeks. You've got to do what you can do. But again, just a smile, looking at somebody and smiling saying hi, trying to learn people's names, going to a staff meeting.
Sarah : (25:23)
You don't have to be best friends with them. I actually went always a little too overboard and had like friendships and relationships with my staff. And if that works for you, great. It didn't always work out for me.
But we have such a close working relationship that I think that that is pretty typical when you're spending-- especially like SPED team, you typically are going into--
Sarah : (25:44)
But it does get a little messy and complicated sometimes.
It can, absolutely.
Sarah : (25:49)
What was that shirt you sent me other day that I should get? Something about not everybody likes me?
It was basically like, I'm not for everybody. I actually still want to get that for you.
Sarah : (25:58)
it's actually true.
Sarah : (26:00)
Yes, that is real. But you do, you need to build that team rapport. You need to build rapport with your students again, I don't know how many more times I can say that. I think it's probably the most critical thing we do. You need to know the IEP. And that's one thing I was really good at, IDEA and IEP's and the vowel and the policies and the procedures. That's an area I always felt really strong in too. I was able to explain all of those parts of those documents in meetings and felt really confident and comfortable with those skills. And so I actually think it's worthwhile to invest some time and really understand those documents. Going to save you a lot of problems in the future with advocates and possible mediation and other things.
Do we have? I don't know if we have a document, but I wouldn't mind creating one as one of our resources too of really chunking out some of that present level section and really talking about what does that mean as an SLP?
Sarah : (26:55)
we've done some stuff on that.
We have something on there don't we?
Sarah : (26:58)
There's a blog post on there I'll link to, where we've talked about the present levels and everything that needs to go into it.
I'm thinking even like what we need to have in order to really make that a more connected document. Cause that was my thing.
Sarah : (27:10)
We've got that meaningful IEP resource.
Yes. And that's a good one for global thinking, but I'm thinking of what do I need to be considering for different things? Because I feel like that wasn't my strength at first, as far as I knew what the--
Sarah : (27:27)
I'm not saying I wrote a killer present level.
not even present level though, like accommodations.
Sarah : (27:31)
Nor did I write great goals, but I just knew the IEP and I could explain it really well.
I could explain what I wrote in there really well, but I don't know if I ever really knew what information needed to go in what section and how that all needed to connect. So not even just that the global thinking of what I want to focus on, but then really the IEP itself.
Sarah : (27:52)
We'll attach some resources. I think we've got some things, but maybe we can brainstorm some other ideas to make that process a little bit easier. Cause that's what I was going to say. If we could recommend anything to you to have this school year truly be one of your best. And again, like say that, it's okay if you don't actually make any changes. Then I think the focus is kind of pick something you do want to improve upon.
Just one thing and do baby steps. It's almost like--
Sarah : (28:20)
and global thinking. You don't need to go start studying so you can be an expert in Apraxia tomorrow, but maybe just try to figure out where some really great resources are for those areas you don't feel super strong in. It is like the number one reason we created SLP summit by the way, is because we wanted practical, relevant professional development. And I love ASHA and I'm not going to say anything bad about those conferences, but a lot of times it was still very theory based or about the research of something and it wasn't very clinically relevant. And so that's why we created summit is to give an opportunity to address all of those things we need to know working in the pediatric populations and more so specifically in a school setting. And so find opportunities like that to what's the word? Fill in those gaps a little bit. By the way can I say something about it? Cause this is a confessional. I was so annoyed with that Facebook post about-- I think the whole thing was really more about whether or not people who create TPT products, SLP related businesses like Toolkit probably and other things, about whether or not we are offering value or more of a detriment to the field and it was going off and people had different opinions and that's not the part I was upset with. Everybody's entitled to their own opinions, but somebody kind of bagged on summit and expressed concerns about why it's so big and whether or not it's a good thing. And it was all about it was all marketing, very basic, very whatever, very markety. And I have to say, I never respond to those very often because it's just not worth my energy. I mean, I could be in discussions with people all day long on Facebook. But in that one, I was like, oh hell no, there is a reason summit took off. There is a reason TPT is a resource people go to and it's because we were desperate for practical solutions and I am so grateful for the innovation and all of the thought and energy and effort that these SLPs are putting out into the community and all of our-- summit's completely volunteer based. We don't even pay our speakers. Some have products, but those products are solutions. We're not just picking somebody because they have a product, we're picking them. If that product could save you in some way and they want to share, like Brian with CoughDrop and how he talked about that whole new free program he has for training AAC users. And it was brilliant. So yes, does he have a product? Yes. But is it an awesome solution we you think you guys should know about? And just one more thing that is out there that somebody has created to try to make a difference in this setting? Then yeah. We're doing it.
Well. And here's what I think about the whole idea--
Sarah : (31:19)
I know that was a tangent, but it made me think of that with summit. And I was like, oh hell no.
But even like when people talk about content being introductory. To me-- and I know you and I have had this conversation a bunch, because we even talked about the structure of some of our courses and is this stuff that people know? And yada, yada, yada. I look at it almost like weight loss, you know? I know how to lose weight in my mind. You eat less, you exercise, you cut out sugar, things like that, but I could hear 10 different weight loss topics or talks on that subject and what I'm hoping is that I have one takeaway. So even if it's something that I kind of know-- it's either like it could be novel too, because maybe I don't have enough clinical experience to be like, oh my gosh, that's an amazing idea. But I can't believe, I've been an SLP for whatever it's been now, 22 years? Every single summit, I get at least one takeaway minimum, usually multiple, from every course that we offer. And so I don't understand that.
Sarah : (32:21)
That was one of my favorites by the way, it was so good. So it kind of came right after that summit. And I thought, first of all, more than half of our presenters didn't have a single product. They were just experts in their field and had some really awesome things to share with our audience. Again, it was super practical. We are extremely thoughtful. First of all, we're using your feedback, the audience's feedback to decide what it is that you need to hear. We're using your feedback to pick presenters. And we're so thoughtful about who it is that we're choosing to present on. And again, not bagging ASHA, but probably more so than they're able to do. I mean, really because of the global scale of what they're working with. And I mean, how many presenters do they probably get submissions for? Thousands. It'd be impossible to really know all of those people that they're selecting from. And so, I mean, I'm not really bagging it, I'm sure they have a very systematic process. But we're not on that same scale of we don't ask for submissions for a reason. We really are out there trying to hear the presenters in person or talk to people about who they know and who are experts in that area, trying to be as inclusive as possible and get a wide representation of different people who you may never have even heard of who are offering value in this field but haven't had a chance to be on that platform. So anyway, we are very thoughtful about it. We were thoughtful about creating Toolkit. It was not just something we were like, this is cool let's just throw this out there and see how it goes. Like we spent so much time and still do on that content that we're doing. So I think the thing is-- and I hope this still kind of goes with this topic of what we've been talking about this entire episode. Is you need to use your clinical judgment and decide what information you should be using and what makes sense for your students and looking for those resources and ways to get the support in those areas where you've got some gaps. That's on you. We're just here to offer some solutions and some ideas and some resources so that you can have access to that. We're trying-- I think it's about trying to limit some of the burdens that you're feeling. So that you can focus on your students and that's what it comes down to.
And the first step, even what we were talking about earlier, maybe just pick one thing you want to work on. The difficult part-- and I don't know if you listen to the Armchair Expert, I love Dax Shepherd. And I listen more to his experts on expert side of his podcast, but he just had somebody on there that they were talking about why self help books are setting you up for failure because they give you all of these strategies that are basically impossible to all implement at once. They're great, you hear it, and you're jazzed and think you can do it. And it's how I felt at the beginning of the school year where it's like, yeah, I've identified all this stuff. And then it becomes this snowball of "I suck because I can't do one of them." And so the example he gave-- and I thought it was awesome, and actually kind of funny too, is he had an issue with road rage. So he said the first year-- he goes, it took me five years to get to where I feel like I've got my road rage under control. He goes, I was realizing when I tried to set these New Year's goals, like I will never have road rage again. That was impossible. So he broke it up into those sub tasks. So, okay what can I accomplish this year that's realistic? The one thing he goes, I won't get out of my car. So he had road rage and he was getting in-- Right. So that was one. Second year, he got that under control-- because there's a lot of stuff out right now about habits and how habits are really what drive change and sustainability of change is that if you can turn something into a habit and have practice, our brain is wired to do that. So that was his first year. And then I think he tacked on something like I won't roll down the window and scream at them. And then he said, the next one, it was okay, maybe I just will look straight. So he added a small thing on every year. And it almost goes into like, I remember going to see Michelle Garcia Winner present once and she was talking about how even our kids with special needs, how if you say something simple like brush your teeth-- or I think actually it started with something-- or maybe it wasn't Michelle Garcia. Maybe it was our friend Sarah Ward. Somebody though. Somebody really awesome and fantastic.
Sarah : (36:38)
That we have a girl crush on.
Exactly. But they talked about, well, just write down the things that you did in the beginning of the day. Like before you got to this course this morning. And so most people wrote things like I ate breakfast, I brushed my teeth, I got dressed, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Well then the next step, it was Michelle Garcia Winner. I remember now. So she had a course on just organization tips in general. So, then it was like, but think about even brushing your teeth, all of the sub tasks, all of those mini tasks that are involved in that, that we don't think of. So if you have difficulty with that big picture, you've got to split it up into the little mini tasks and then maybe attack some of those. So you can't just say, well, brush your teeth. You might have to say, okay, well I need to know I have to go to the bathroom and I have to grab my toothbrush and have to run water on it. And I have to take the toothpaste out and then I have to unscrew the cap and then I have to put some on my brush and then I have to brush my teeth. It's like, there's so many millions of little subtasks. So that would be what I say for your year this year is pick one thing. Don't set yourself up for failure and think you're going to be perfect at it. Really try to spend some time thinking about what are some little things in that bigger task that I can achieve? I know I can do this.
Sarah : (37:52)
Right. And now's the time to do it.
Right. Not when you're buried, you have some time to think now.
Sarah : (37:58)
Even a month in, it's like, forget it. I'm not gonna try anything new at that point. Yeah. I think that's great advice. So here's to having literally-- we do, we hope that your best school year ever. But if nothing changes, you're still cool. I don't think we say our motto very often. Is that what it is? Our motto?
I always forget.
Sarah : (38:17)
I think that's a terrible word. I mean, not terrible word, but I don't know, it just sounded weird.
I always think tagline.
Sarah : (38:23)
Tagline? I prefer tagline. We don't talk about it very often and it's actually probably not even that visible anywhere. But from the very beginning of Toolkit, our motto was always be your best, not be the best, be your best. And that comes from some really great advice that's always been out there about when you know, better, you do better. And just always trying to learn and always just trying to be the best version of your own self.
And my best today might be different than my best tomorrow.
Sarah : (38:50)
And my best is very different than your best.
Mine is better than yours.
Sarah : (38:54)
Right? Uh huh.
Oops. That was an inside thought.
Sarah : (38:56)
I heard that. So that's what it's about. We hope you have your best year and you are your best, but just do what you can, people. We love you.
Absolutely have an awesome one.
Sarah : (39:08)
Can I ask a favor while we're ending this first episode? Will you please go to iTunes? If you listen on iTunes, go and give us five stars, obviously, and even write a review because then more people will hear about us and we would love the opportunity to find new friends out there who hopefully this is helpful. I mean, I don't know. Cause we just chatted for an hour. Did you feel like you were part of our conversation? We hope so. That's the goal. So anyway, that's it you guys.
We love you.
Sarah : (39:38)
That's it. Peace out.