10 Tools for Clinical Problem Solving

Last week, we talked about strategies to stick with our goals.

One of those strategies was to break our goal down into action steps.

When we’re talking about figuring out how to best treat a student with apraxia of speech or how to implement literacy-based therapy, those action steps can feel a little bit overwhelming. Where in the world do we start?

Every SLP encounters obstacles during speech therapy. This blog post shares 10 tools and tips for clinical problem solving, when SLPs might be at a loss for how to start a certain kind of therapy or overcome a challenge. Click through to read the 10 tips!

Here are some of my “go-to” resources when it comes to tackling clinical goals (in no particular order):

1. Research Articles

When I’m looking for information on a specific topic, I do a quick search on ASHA or Google Scholar.

SLP Hack: Many of the articles are paid. It’s not always feasible to spend $25 on ONE journal article, but you can often access the articles for free at your local university’s library.

2. ASHA Evidence Maps

This site includes resources for AAC, Late Language Emergence, and more! This is a great place to check if you want a quick review of the evidence in a particular area.

3. The Informed SLP

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the research, The Informed SLP makes it so much more “digestible.” They review all of the latest (clinically relevant) research on a monthly basis. You can read the summaries on their website on in a PDF format. They also have an audio version (perfect for those of us with long commutes)!

4. Online Courses

There are so many options out there! Here are some of my favorites:

Leaders Project: The site offers free CEUs, mock evaluations, narrative assessment tools, and so much more.

SpeechTherapyPD: They have hundreds of courses that you can access for $89 per year!

5. Textbooks

Textbooks are a great way to get an overview of any given topic. Like The Informed SLP, they do some of the digesting for us. Two of my favorites are School-Age Language Intervention and Contextualized Language Intervention.

6. SLP Now Evidence Table

This is still very much a work in progress, but the table includes links to relevant research articles (with a quick synopsis). It also includes links to materials I created based on the research findings.

Whenever a parent or an administrator questions what I’m doing, I know I have evidence to back up my decisions. I don’t necessarily pull out the table (because that might be a little unexpected!), but I’m able to easily share the evidence, if needed. This gives me the boost of confidence that I need in those awkward situations!

If a student isn’t responding well to intervention, then I can also pull up the table for some ideas. Quick and easy (evidence-based) troubleshooting for the win!

7. Colleagues

Reach out to speech-language pathologists that you admire. Just having someone to talk through a problem with can be incredibly helpful. Bonus points if they have suggestions to share!

Don’t have someone to reach out to regarding a specific topic? Consider checking out a Facebook group! Check out this blog post for some group suggestions!

8. Assessments

When given a clinical problem but I’m not sure where to go next, I like to collect data. Stay tuned for some assessment suggestions in the next few weeks.

9. Reach out to the Team

Communicate with the teacher and other service providers. Ask them their perspective on the problem. They may not be an expert in communication, but they may have a unique way of looking at the situation.

10.Use Your Data

You can also use the data that you’ve already collected! Review the students’ past progress and read past reports to make sure you’re not missing anything. Reviewing and organizing the data can help you brainstorm solutions.

Stay tuned for more tips and suggestions from other SLPs. We’ll be interviewing six SLPs over the next several weeks. They’re going to give a “behind the scenes” look at how they tackled specific problems, including more resources and suggestions!

marisha-mcgrorty-about-mobile

Hi there! I'm Marisha. I am a school-based SLP who is all about working smarter, not harder. I created the SLP Now Membership and love sharing tips and tricks to help you save time so you can focus on what matters most--your students AND yourself.

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