As always, I returned from ASHA in Denver this year, energized and ready to dive back into work, expanding my new business. Judging from attendance at the telepractice sessions this year, more and more clinicians are interested in utilizing telepractice as a means to provide service. This year there were telepractice sessions on working with both adults and children with a wide variety of disorders, as well as information on how to work with e-facilitators, finding therapy materials on the web, and training graduate students.
One of the most fascinating sessions that I attended was on emerging technologies and how these might impact SLP’s practice. Some of the future technologies such as virtual tech and robots were shown along with a discussion on the potential of this technology for SLP practice. Also discussed was the potential drawbacks of robots and virtual technology. It is important that we, as clinicians, keep abreast of these up-and-coming changes as it could enhance our service delivery. If we are prepared and knowledgeable, we can make appropriate clinical decisions for our clients. Knowing and studying these in advance will assist us becoming familiar and alleviating our fear.
Fear of change and fear of new, emerging advances in our field can stall us from moving forward and providing high quality services to our clients. I have seen this happen over the many years I’ve been in practice-clinicians fearful of new ideas, new modes of service delivery or adding a new area of practice. Those that feared change or new ideas, tended to lag behind in practice. Eventually, most people catch up on the new practice or change; however, it may take them longer to adapt, but if we face our fears, we can all assist our profession with moving forward.
When I started as an SLP, I was a clinician who was comfortable with the status quo. I provided my clients with the therapy that I was taught in school as it was comfortable, easy and it helped me to manage my first couple of years in the field. I eventually became bored with what I was doing and began attending seminars, workshops and conferences so I could learn about emerging therapies and practices. I found that I was always re-energized after attending a seminar or conference and loved to take what I learned back into my therapy room. As I expanded my mind, year after year, I became more comfortable with change and began to embrace it. This led me to become active in my professional associations which allowed me to explore new and emerging areas in our field because I was more confident in my skills and, was surrounded by incredibly supportive friends and family.
Expanding my skills, gaining more confidence in my choices, allowed me to make job changes (from public schools, to opening a Scottish Rite Language Clinic, to a private practice) and that got me to where I am today. With the closing of my practice to take a position with a start-up telepractice company and finally opening a new business again, I needed to take a leap of faith, be comfortable with the emerging changes and confident that I could do it and make it work is all based on embracing changes and not being fearful. If you face your fears, it makes change easier each time!