Why You Need to Talk Tech
We live in an age where we are more aware of technology being a part of our daily lives than ever before. There are multiple daily tasks that technology makes easier. It’s in our schools, our careers, and in our homes. Some people, including health professionals, who grew up before the age of the internet, instant messaging, or video conferencing may be reluctant to embrace it or understand its significance in their job.
As a speech-language pathologist, you’re encountering more and more uses for technology in your job every day. But are you using technology to the best of its ability?
The notion of technology and its place in our daily lives can be a bit overwhelming. With the use of technology, your students are discovering new ways to communicate, meet their needs, and be heard. Though it’s understandable, the overwhelming methods of technology can cause you to become suspicious of how it affects your students and your career.
So how can you embrace technology and all its forms? You can begin by accepting that technology is a tool to aid your students. For some students, technology has become a lifesaver and gateway to better communication. For example, those with speech impediments, like stuttering, are finding that improvements for in-ear technology are helping them reduce their stutter by up to 80 percent.
The Use of Apps, Tablets, and iPads
Over the last several years, the use of tablets and iPads in schools has nearly tripled. School speech therapists have seen an increase in speech therapy effectiveness when incorporating tablets and iPads. Not only are tablets and iPads being used as instructional tools for speech therapy, but SLPs are finding that they make great motivational tools as well.
SLPs who work with children on the autism spectrum are learning that apps are helping children become more engaged in therapy. They can be used for games, instruction, or as conversation starters.
Technology Increases the Demand for Speech-Language Pathologists
It makes sense to believe that the technology advances could replace you as an SLP but that’s far from the truth. As technology changes, there continues to be an even greater need for speech-language pathologists.
Consider this for a moment; technology has crept into your home in the form of speech recognition systems. Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, and Siri. For a well-spoken person, these tools are magic. They make everything from turning on the lights to ordering pizza a snap.
But for someone who is less than well-spoken or struggles with speech like stuttering or other speech impediments, voice recognition assistants can be a nightmare. Software developers have begun working with speech-language professionals to build better tools so that speech recognition systems are more accurate and can be used by more people.
Even medical technology and advances in health care have created a greater demand for speech pathologists. As more people survive a stroke or brain injury, so does the need for SLPs to help them regain their ability to communicate or find new ways to communicate and maintain a quality of life.
In your role as a speech-language pathologist, it’s become necessary to add the various forms of technology to your toolkit to better serve the growing number of people who benefit from speech therapy. By becoming familiar and utilizing the different forms of technology, you can not only alleviate your clients’ communication and speech frustrations, you can give them a voice in which to be heard and understood.