I was happy to pass on my blogging assignment to my beautiful daughter, Courtney Cantrell. Courtney is an SLP and works for Easter Seals. She knew I was struggling with a topic and offered this wonderful idea for a blog, I thought it was great so I asked her to go ahead and write it! I'm so glad she did, I think it is wonderful!
“We’re all in this together.”
This is a phrase I bet you have probably heard a thousand or more times over the last couple of months. As I was talking with clients and checking in with families this week, I was reminded that life is still going on beyond the crazy epidemic happening. Family members and loved ones are in the hospital or passing away unrelated to COVID-19 and family's problems are still occurring every day. So as I sat worried about providing the best possible teletherapy and phone consults and even safe in-person therapy as I can, I began to shift my focus from the little details surrounded by the way our lives and therapy has changed from the virus and shifted it to a simple question from one of my favorite tv show doctors, “How can I help?” Not just with speech therapy and the issues surrounding the virus, but the simple things our complex communicators and clients cannot understand or express.
How can I help my clients understand why they are attending their grandpa's funeral virtually or eating pizza for the 100th time because their parents are going through so much they can’t find time to cook? I will bet that in the last 48 hours you have talked to a friend, colleague, or family member about all the changes happening daily around us or a simple thing that occurred in your life that you just needed to vent about. For our clients, this simple stress relief we take for granted is often one of their greatest challenges. Simply expressing their wants, needs, and feelings. So back to the question: “How can I help?”
For me, when I’m stressed I go to my mom for not only simple venting but to talk through how I can help my clients express themself and understand everything happening. I call her mom, but most of you know her as Sandy Stabenfeldt (ICAM Digital Specialist).
Let PATINS and ICAM help you help your students in the ways that are often overlooked. If you have a client and you are running out of ideas to help, talk it out with an ICAM or PATINS staff member.
Let my amazing momma, Sandy Stabenfeldt, or a member of the ICAM staff help make that pizza menu into accessible digital text that all of our students can access.
Borrow an app from the lending library that allows them to express their emotions or a silly app that allows them to forget their stresses for even just a moment.
I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes: “You are the one who can fill the world with sunshine.” -Snow White. Find a way today to be a little sunshine for your clients who are struggling to understand or express themselves during their life that is moving on with or without COVID-19 and maybe ask your families “How can I help?”Courtney Cantrell, M.S. CCC-SLP