This past November, the ASHA national convention came to our stomping grounds in Massachusetts, and in my last post I gave a recap of one of my sessions involving narrative language and MindWing’s tools, particularly around the context of pairing picture books and interactive apps that serve as post-activities. In this “better-late-than-never” Part 2, I will give you some details on another session I was involved with that centered around telepractice in speech and language.
First of all, you may wonder, what is telepractice? And, if you are not so interested in the answer, this post will still have some tech-related ideas for you to apply in your “in-person” therapies. To quote ASHA’s resource page on telepractice:
“Telepractice is the application of telecommunications technology to the delivery of speech language pathology and audiology professional services at a distance by linking clinician to client or clinician to clinician for assessment, intervention, and/or consultation.”
All of the exact same principles and practices of intervention via in-person therapies apply to telepractice, just the method of delivery is different. Telepractice is often conducted via a secure web portal such as Zoom, allowing clinicians and clients on the other side to communicate via microphone and webcam, and using visual and interactive tools to conduct activities (e.g., screensharing, giving the client control of the screen for clicking and dragging).
A disclaimer: I am actually not currently a telepractice-based clinician. But given my technology integration background, I have had a long-standing collaboration with some wonderful experts in this mode of delivery: SLPs working at Waldo County General Hospital in Maine, Nathan Curtis and Amy Reid. This year we collaborated again around a session entitled “Evolutionary Telepractice Approaches” and focusing on the following: Speech-Language Pathologists aim to meet the goal of evidence-based practice by integrating clinical expertise, scientific evidence, and client/patient/caregiver perspectives. This presentation discusses how to utilize evidence-based methodologies in telepractice. We will present the underlying research and methodologies as the framework upon which to make clinical decisions about context.
The thrust of our presentation was a discussion of focusing in telepractice on first principles of incorporating research-based practices and context, helpful especially in schools. In the earlier days of telepractice, understandably much of the professional development focus was on how to manage the technical aspects. In this session, we specifically focused on addressing discourse—narrative and expository language—as this focus allows for incorporation of both contextual work and evidence-based practices, such as employing Story Grammar Marker® and ThemeMaker®’s expository interventions!
I presented a number of ideas revolving around the idea of narrative and expository language, with tech tools, in this case somewhat arbitrarily choosing the science context of matter (i.e., solids, liquids and gases and the processes in which they change), as a means of demonstrating that many, many other topic areas in science and social studies can provide contexts for intervention. Fang (2012), in writing about disciplinary literacy, notes that science topics have specific language underpinnings including texts with many text features such as charts and tables, and varied text structures such as list, sequence, and cause-effect.
In a series of example activities, we explored how the “matter of matter” could be a context for targeting narrative and informational language:
All of the above can be implemented in a telepractice or in-person activity as the websites present a visual support that can be shown and worked with in either mode.
Amy described a number of examples of implementing Story Grammar Marker in telepractice situations, including her strategy of providing e-helpers (adults who assist with scaffolding on the school site, as the clinician is delivering activities remotely) with Student Story Grammar Markers in order to provide the full impact of the visual, tactile and kinesthetic aspects of the tool. Additionally, she has created interactive, typable graphic organizers using Google Slides, also integrating SGM® with a narrative scaffolding technique she had used to get herself started in story-based interventions, Somebody-Wanted-But-So-Then (see some good examples of this here). The resulting integration looks like this, easy to create in Google Slides:
Stay tuned over MindWing’s information channels, as coming soon is a digital kit containing access to narrative and expository icons in digital form! This will be useful for constructing your own visuals to use in telepractice or in school settings over Google Docs/Slides or interactive whiteboards!
I want to send you a BIG thank you for all your wonderful posts. The ideas and strategies are excellent. Have a great day!
Sean Sweeney, MS, MEd, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist and technology specialist working in private practice at the Ely Center in Needham, MA, and consults to local and national organizations on technology integration in speech and language interventions. His blog, SpeechTechie (www.speechtechie.com), looks at technology "through a language lens." Contact him at email@example.com.