Ten Tips for Collaborating with Your Student’s Other SLP
Before I jump into the meat of this post, I would like to introduce myself. I’m Collette from Alberta Speechie and I would like to say thanks to Maureen at The Speech Bubble SLP for allowing me to talk with you.
Who liked working in groups when you were in university? I’ll admit that it was not always my favourite activity. Working in groups is hard. Who would take the lead? What happened if more than one person tried to be in control? What if no one wanted to be in the lead? How were you going to divide the work? What ideas would you use and how would you decide? There was a point to all that group work we detested. In our professional careers we are almost always working with other people. Here are some tips to help when collaborating. Many may seem basic but they don’t always happen and when they don’t happen chaos can ensue.
Tips for Better Collaboration
1. Be familiar with the services the other SLP will be providing and not providing. This may sound like an obvious point but you don’t want to accidentally think that the other SLP is going to do something when they aren’t or can’t.
2. Be familiar with the Policies and Procedures in place regarding collaboration. In some places, funding is allotted based on who contacts whom. Find out what the rules are for contacting the other person, organizing meetings, attaining materials and equipment and any other pertinent information.
3. Have all their contact information. Again this sounds basic but it’s important. Find out what is the best way to contact them. I also like to know when they are working so I can anticipate when they will return my calls or emails.
4. Have conversations about what you have observed when working with your student. Children can act and behave differently in different settings. It is important to gather all that information. If possible, it is a good idea to visit the different settings.
5. Talk about any biases you may have towards or against a certain type of therapy or philosophy that are relevant. If you like PECS and the other SLP doesn’t, you are going to have to have a serious conversation about the approach you will want to take.
6. Talk about what’s realistic in your settings. What barriers do you have? What can you realistically accomplish in your setting? Having these conversations will help guide you towards what is the best therapy or approach to take with that child.
7. Try to have all major issues sorted out before meeting with the parents and other team members. There is nothing more frustrating for the parents and others attending the meeting if two professionals are proposing two very different plans because they were unable to communicate.
8. Don’t implement a plan without consulting the other SLP. It’s frustrating to go into a classroom and a child has a new communication system or supports that you did not know were coming. No one in that class will be prepared to implement it.
9. This one pertains mostly to students with AAC systems. Do not take anything away without talking with the other SLP. There will be a reason why it is there and they work hard at setting it up. They will also be expecting it to be there when they need it.
10. You probably won’t have a plan that is a 100% of your choosing. You are going to have to compromise. Know what you are willing to compromise and what you are not. Remember that by collaborating, you will have created something better than you could have done on your own.
It is important to have a good working relationship with the other professionals in a student’s life. The will receive better and more cohesive services. Other people, particularly family, will feel more confident and comfortable with the services they are receiving.
Cheers and Happy Collaborating!