I want to focus on a theme today. Let’s focus on, “What is your default when things in life, especially the job of a SLP, get difficult or overwhelming?”  

Do you flee, distract or indulge yourself, become angry, have fear?  How do we know what our default is?  We do this by first: becoming aware of what we perceive to be a difficult situation and secondly: being mindful and learning to become an observer of how we react to various situations, instead of reacting on auto-pilot.  

What is it that you are avoiding?  The way we handle difficult things can be an opportunity for growth and can enlighten us about ourselves.  Are we avoiding growth.  What would happen if we embraced the growth and looked at the challenge straight in the face?  Points to ponder for sure.  

Once we can identify what our default behavior is , we can begin to identify it in our students.  What is a student’s default in therapy when things get a little uncomfortable or you are teaching them a skill that is new or difficult for them?  Do they squirm in their seat, talk to other students, disrupt the group, etc?  

We can talk to our students by sharing our own experience of how we deal with things and then teach them alternative ways to respond versus reacting.  

Yoga for small spaces is a great series of exercises that can be done in a chair or in a small room that can be an alternative for avoidance or default behaviors.  

Learn to recognize what the default behaviors are and present opportunities to discuss and offer exercise to rechannel negative or disruptive behaviors into positive energy or actions.  It also may be a sign to change your /r/ target,  The chosen target may not be appropriate for the student or they may be using an unnatural tongue position for /r/.  Administration of the EWR Advanced Screening tool will help you further investigate what is going on.  

Therapy is an opportunity to teach children ways to self regulate and get to know themselves and their reactions to their speech and language disorder.  this disorder will be with many of them throughout life, so it is advantageous for them to learn how to deal with it in a constructive manner.