Collaboration is important.

It’s not only important but essential, in my opinion, for treating a patient and in business practice.

Helping Patients Achieve More Through Communication

It’s especially important when working with patients who may have multiple providers. I have patients who receive speech therapy at school and with me. I have patients who receive occupational and/or physical therapy. I have patients who have special education teachers. I have patients who work with psychologists and social workers.

I am a strong advocate of working together. It doesn’t mean that everyone else gets to determine the goals I’m working on or that I get to influence or determine the goals of other disciplines. This means I make an effort to not only be aware of all the goals a patient is targeting with me but be aware of what goals are being targeted by others.

This awareness helps in planning and executing therapy.

If I have a student, for example, who is working on handwriting and pencil grip in occupational therapy, while I’m not targeting those skills directly, but I can incorporate more opportunities to write in speech therapy. This allows the patient to have more practice opportunity and it helps with carryover.

What’s carryover? It’s all the practice a patient has outside of therapy. Carryover is how a patient starts to transfer skills learned and practiced in therapy into their everyday life. Carryover is the ultimate goal in therapy.

I spend a lot of time communicating with other providers, even other speech-language pathologists. It makes for better service to the patient and more consistency in treatment. It allows me to learn strategies others find useful and it allows me to share strategies I find successful with the patient.

Helping Patients Find the Right Provider

Collaboration is also important in business. As a small business owner, I love meeting other service providers–be it speech-language pathologists, occupational/physical therapists, doctors, dentists, orthodontists, specialists such as ENT doctors and others.

The reason I love meeting all of these people is to build my referral network. I constantly have patients ask for providers in other disciplines or when a new issue arises. I prefer to know the person to whom I am referring and to know their business practice, ethics and philosophies. This helps me to make the most appropriate referral possible.

Often parents of children with complex communication disorders and/or other special needs are inundated with information. The IEP process can be overwhelming. Not only is it full of legal language and riddled with caveats that professionals may skim over during meetings due to time constraints, but it can be and likely is overwhelming to parents for the first IEP or the first several IEPs. No one expects to have a child with such significant needs. It’s a lot to learn of the deficits as well as engage in education planning in the IEP process.

I don’t want to make the process more complicated for parents who are often already dealing with more challenges than most.

The scope of practice for speech-language pathology is vast. It includes the obvious areas: speech & language disorders but it also includes a myriad of other areas including stuttering, memory, cognition, swallowing, orofacial myofunctional disorders, voicing, structural abnormalities such as cleft palate or craniofacial problems., and respiratory impairments. The entire scope of practice is outlined by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Speech-language pathologists work with patients from as early as birth and as late as during the end of life.

I specialize in a few areas. My areas of specialty include orofacial myofunctional disorders, speech-sound disorders, childhood language delays and literacy impairments. I work with patients who stutter; have pragmatic language deficits; have cognitive delays; have learning disabilities; have dyslexia; and more.

When a family contacts me for services, if I am not the best fit because they need services in a different area of specialty, I refer them to the speech-language pathologist who would be the best fit. This is where collaboration in business comes in. It’s important to know when to make referrals, which is why I like networking and collaborating with other professionals.

Collaborating with others is so much better than competing. It’s better for patients and it’s better for the providers.

Speech With Sara LLC offers comprehensive evaluation services for speech-sound disorders, orofacial myofunctional impairments (tongue thrusts, orthodontic relapse, weak lip closure, etc.), receptive/expressive language and literacy development & remediation.

Have questions about your child’s speech and language development, contact Speech With Sara LLC, 313-815-7916 or email:

My Preference: Collaboration Rather than Competition

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