photo by Ray Fragapane

My Educational Philosophy

"I urge you to be teachers so that you can join with the children as co-collaborators in a plot to build a little place of ecstasy and  poetry and gentle joy."

                                                Jonathan Kozol

I call myself a speech path, even though the official term for my profession is speech pathologist. The word “pathologist” doesn’t resonate with me as it suggests seeing people through the lens of disease rather than as neuro-diverse individuals, some of whom have speech/language/communication/literacy challenges that accompany their unique strengths. For that reason, I prefer the more informal term “speech path,” as it suggests that I am here to coach and guide others on the journey of expanding their speech/language/communication/literacy skills. I’m also comfortable with the terms "speech therapist," “communication specialist" and, to borrow from Phuong Palafox, "speech-language advocate.".

 

Traditionally, my field has been based upon a medical model. I believe it’s time for a paradigm shift and choose to base my services on more wholistic models, including a social justice model, which involves meeting people's needs based upon equity rather than tethering my availability to serve them upon necessitating that they be labeled or “qualify for services” based upon insurance or school policy qualification guidelines. I see unconditional love/ acceptance and active listening as the ideal starting points for mentoring people and envision our profession expanding, as psychological therapy has done, to meet the needs of a broad, diverse range of people.

 

Taking brain-based education and the impact of positive emotions upon the “learning-readiness state” into account, I also believe in the integration of work and play. As much as possible, I want the people I mentor to enjoy learning and to foster the love of life-long learning. I coined the word “plurk”( play + work = plurk) to reflect this, and created a character named Plurk too.

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The link above is to an article I published in The ASHA Leader. It gives suggestions on how you can have your students write poems or short stories to improve the generalization of their speech and language skills, while also cultivating a positive attitude about writing. The links below are to two different Facebook groups that I administer/co-administer. 

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I wrote this song when I was in graduate school to help me learn the anatomy of the larynx. 

13 A Laryngeal Love Song