Monday, August 1, 2011
One of the unfortunate things I've learned from being a pediatric speech language pathologist....

... this is not a back friendly job.

Yes, like your spine/back. I guess I never thought about that as a "casualty" of the job, but it is really hard on your back to work with kids all day. Whether you choose to sit in a tiny chair (ouch my bottom), or to take a chair with a lever and lower it their level, you always somehow seem to have to scrunch up somehow and kinking your back 9 times out of 10. Which brings me to a tip for parents and new SLPs/graduate students --

don't be afraid to get on their level!

Yes. You are going to climb on the floor.
Yes. You will squish your legs under that child-sized table.
Yes. You will maneuver yourself like you are pop-locking to get some quality eye contact.

But boy, oh boy does it make a difference! Getting "down on their level" means that you are sure that you are eye to eye (preferably) or at least close so you can be sure they are paying attention, understanding what you are saying, and sharing attention on the same objects. If you can't get good eye contact with your child, or if you can't at least see the child's face, you have no clear indication of confusion, or small signs that the child is becoming overwhelmed. Sometimes just seeing a little uncertainty on a child's face will give you a clue to take it back a step and prevent a major meltdown due to frustration.

So my fellow Speechies -- Get down like James Brown!

And... if anyone has any suggestions for ways to sit more comfortably, do let me know ;)
~*~