Sometimes, the greatest resource that a speech language pathologist can possibly have is...fellow therapists.

Experience is wonderful. Support from the school system is fantastic, and parents who are on board with the plan is a bonus.

But while most language and speech issues will see progress with one-on-one therapy over time, occasionally a case comes along that's just too tricky, too unusual, too complicated, or too high above an SLP's pay grade to be solved by a solo speech pathologist.

Sometimes, you've got to call for reinforcements.

Sometimes you need the village , in this case, a therapeutic team.

A therapeutic team consists of specialists encompassing several diverse fields of expertise who can all work together with your client.

Most of us are great at what we do; passionate, goal-oriented and relentless. But sometimes, that's not enough. And there is definitely strength in numbers.

In a school setting, the Special Educational Team typically includes a Resource Room Specialist (RSP), Occupational Therapist (OT), Speech/Language Pathologist (SLP) and a counselor. 

To me, this multi-pronged team approach is the most effective way to address a student's needs.  And frankly, i've found that it's immensely helpful to me as well.

Working as part of a multidisciplinary team has broadened my general knowledge of the other disciplines and provided me with an opportunity to observe my students in their other therapies. 

It's instructive, informative, and eye-opening to watch my colleagues from other disciplines ply their crafts as we all work together on a holistic solution to the same problem.

SLPs, OTs, RRSs and counselors are all knowledge-sponges; thirsty for the latest treatments, techniques, communication styles or insights in all associated fields and ready to soak up whatever knowledge is there for the taking.

Anything that can help us work with those students of ours who require multiple-therapies is great!

Case in Point:

Occupational Therapist Gwen Olicker and I have formed a great bond as co-therapists. She's Butch to my Sundance. (I would've said Thelma to my Louise, but we all know what happened to those two. #movingviolation)

Gwen's a pro's pro who has worked with children and adults for several decades.  There isn't a scenario she hasn't encountered, which is unbelievably invaluable.

Gwen and I have been paired together on numerous cases during the last ten years, and I have learned a ton from her, especially when working with autistic kids.

Children with autism who are dealing with sensory processing issues struggle with self-regulation and self-soothing techniques. And if a kiddo can't sit still or focus on what I'm trying to communicate, it's virtually impossible for me to work with them.

Such was the case with young Josh.

Enter Gwen to wend her OT magic.

Using her skills and proven techniques, Gwen was able to get Josh to regulate his body, which eventually enabled him to attend to his task.

That task was sitting with me to do speech therapy. Thanks to Gwen's amazing Occupational Therapy skills, I was now free and able to work with him on speech and language, which was successful.


So fellow difference-makers, when you have an opportunity to work with talented therapists from different disciplines, DO IT.

Better for you. Better for your client. Better results.

Remember that sometimes IT TAKES A VILLAGE!


Yvonne Johansen


#speechtherapy #slp #occupationaltherapy #OT #autism #sensorytoys