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What do parents look for in a speech pathologist?

Recently I came across a blog post by Phuong Lien Palafox on that caught my attention. The article entitled, "What Do Parents Want In a Speech Language Pathologist?" details conversations with families she has supported throughout her career and analyzed what parents prioritize when choosing someone to work with their family.

When I initially read the title of the post, I began to formulate a mental list of things that I think parents want. First item on my list was someone with years of experience, followed by a clinician that uses evidence-based therapy practices.

As I read further, I was quickly (and pleasantly) surprised by the findings. The results of her informal study showed that most parents are looking for someone who cares!

Of all her respondees, only one person mentioned evidenced-based practice. Most families are looking for a clinician they can connect with, that is flexible, and that will lead with the family's concerns in mind. The results reminded me of my own experience with a family that had contacted me. I asked the mother how she found me and she replied, "I was looking for YOU. I wanted an SLP that would be flexible in scheduling, that provided home-based services, and that could identify with my (Black) child."

This post resonated with me again this week. As we enter Better Hearing & Speech Month with a focus on building connections, I am thinking of the many speech language pathologists I have met over this last year that are assessing their practices and actively seeking ways to learn and to provide client-centered, culturally responsive intervention.

I believe that most SLPs come into the field because of their desire to make a difference in the lives of their clients. Although graduate training may not place great emphasis on humility, these are the characteristics that we need and that parents care about most. Phuong's blog post was a reminder to continue to lead with compassion, focus on building and maintaining trust, along with using research-driven and evidence-based practice when working with clients.

It is also a reminder to families and caregivers that your voice matters! Verbalize your needs and select a provider that will work with your child and guide your family for optimal outcomes. You can read Phuong's blog post in its entirety here

If you desire a continuing education experience that offers practical ways to enhance your skills and help build connections, check out The EQUITY Series May 21-22, 2021 presented by Having Our Say and SLP Toolkit.

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