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In this episode, you first get to know both Jennifer Martin MS, CCC-SLP and Alyssa Hunter MA, CCC-SLP through a fun Q&A. Then they discuss what you can expect in future episodes. Lastly, they debunk some common SLP myths about changing settings, teletherapy, and travel therapy.

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Episode 1 Transcript

Jennifer Martin

Welcome to SLP Full Disclosure, the podcast for SLPs by SLPs. Where we deep dive into a variety of topics to empower, educate, and entertain. Join us each episode to hear from expert guests and topics that matter most.

Be sure to subscribe if you haven’t already, and let us jump into this episode!J

I’m so excited and happy that you are joining us today. This is our very first episode of our podcast. And so, it’s a very exciting day around here! I am your host or one of your hosts, Jennifer Martin. And joining me is my co-host Alyssa Hunter.  

Alyssa Hunter 

Hey everybody!

Jennifer Martin 

Yeah, so we just to give you a little bit of background. We are both SLPS, some similar experience, a lot of different experiences but one of the things that we really have in common is that we are both what I consider to be lifelong learners. 

And with that being said the goal of this podcast is that we create a community where we can all learn together, and we are very excited about so many of the things that we have lined up in the coming episodes. But before we get started, we of course want to get to know who you all are as our episodes go on. But we thought for today we would like to just let you all know a little bit more about us. And so Alyssa and I decided that instead of going on with a boring monologue about our experiences and whatnot that we would do a quick Q and A with each other and just a quick disclaimer we have not reviewed these questions with each other, so these are surprises. So you will be hearing the questions for the first time just as we are so we will go ahead and get started. 

Alyssa Hunter 

All right Jennifer, you’re first on deck. Don’t worry. You should know the answers to all these questions. They’re just about your life as an SLP. OK, first things first, how did you get into the field of speech language pathology? 

Jennifer Martin 

It’s a great question. I was actually in my junior year of high school and a teacher I will never forget, Mrs. Underwood, stopped me after class one day it was for the end of the year and she said, “Hey have you ever heard of the career speech therapist.” It’s like yeah I’d heard of them but I don’t really know a lot about them. And she says, “I think you would be really good at that. And I think you should look into that.”  

And so I was like OK, my mom was a director of special education and so I mentioned that to her and she was like you absolutely should look into this. And so, I blindly you know went into undergrad thinking OK well Mrs. Underwood thinks I should do it, I guess we should do it. And I think I was one of those rare people that just started it and never wavered just went from undergrad to graduate and never even thought about doing anything different.  

Alyssa Hunter 

And true SLP through and through! And you out there know Jen Martin, you can tell that she has been an SLP for a long while. Very experienced. We’re lucky to have her. So speaking of your experience what are some different populations and settings that you’ve worked with in the field? I know you’ve done a little bit of everything.  

Jennier Martin

So I like to say that I’ve worked from birth to Earth. I know it sounds kind of morbid but, it’s true! 

 

I started with adults in medical and loved that and then moved to student population. mut older students and then went to younger students and then went to even younger birth to three and then did work as part of a NICU team for eight years. So I really have seen every age and every stage. So yeah, I love them all. 

Alyssa Hunter  

Those are some good sayings, birth to earth, every stage and every age, you’ve got it down. I like it! I like it! So you’ve done all of these different positions. Can you explain what is your current position within our field of speech language pathology?  

Jennifer Martin 

Yeah, so I had a private practice for several years along with whom I work in the NICU you and I just felt like I had learned a lot. Of course not everything, you really can never in this field. But I felt like I had learned a lot and I was at a place where I loved working with the SLPs that worked within my practice and being able to mentor them and guide them and just share some of what I learned.  

I also didn’t have a great start in the field as far as supervision and so I think with that I’ve always had this drive and desire to pay it forward and to give back to those that are starting or even have been in the field for a few years. So my current position is that I work with the Clinical Fellowship Program so I am lucky enough that I get to do a lot of work with new grads and clinical fellows which I love and I also get to do work as part of our teletherapy division which is another really fun aspect of this field that I hadn’t done a whole lot of work with before. So those are kind of my two big roles.  

Alyssa Hunter 

Cool! Now again you’ve done a lot, so this might be hard to narrow down to one but what would you say is your proudest accomplishment within the field?  

Jennifer Martin

Oh gosh! I would say I mean truly I feel like the work with the NICU. 

I love my work with adults but I just felt like it was a lot harder to see progress if you had you know somebody who was quite a bit older that had a stroke or a brain injury, whereas I feel like the work with the team was very groundbreaking especially within the state of Colorado. There wasn’t a lot of research or work being done with this population because what would happen is they’d get discharged in the NICU and everything would appear to be fine and then sure enough they would reappear at the age of two and be very delayed and very behind. 

And so we were able to get a grant and we’re able to do a lot of research that showed how important, we’ve always known how important it is to the earlier that you know people get therapy the better. But we really were able to prove and it was really incredible because now that research has been used to change policies throughout this state and most of the hospitals now have taken that research and have completely changed how they and when they start therapy when they refer therapists and that has actually spread to many other states as well. We’ve done a lot of work with other states that have changed their policies and to look at that from above and think: wow, you know these kids that are we’re at the age when they were getting initially referred are now being discharged from therapy is huge.  0

Not only that but I think even prouder than that I mean that it feels really exciting and I’m really proud of that work. But is the work that we’ve done just realizing that there’s a large mental health component and that the families of these babies are very heavily impacted. And so working with them and realizing that we’ve, you know, changed a lot of just these family dynamics by realizing that it’s a package; the babies don’t just live on their own.  

It’s you know, they’ve got caregivers and families and so everybody’s impacted when something doesn’t go well. So that I think is another really proud accomplishment.  

Alyssa Hunter 

Wow, you are a trailblazer in the field! I am excited to know you! So OK, here’s kind of a funny therapy question.  Where is the craziest place that you have had to do speech therapy?  

Jennifer Martin 

Oh my goodness! I’ve done a lot of therapy under tables.  

Alyssa Hunter 

(Laughs) You know it fits with the baby theme, they’re so small, I’m sure you could just carry them.   

Jennifer Martin 

I’m bilingual and I work with a large Spanish speaking population and sometimes we would be in areas where it might be many many many family members within living within one small area. So I’ve actually done quite a bit of therapy on the family bed.  

Alyssa Hunter 

I’ve been there!  

Jennifer Martin

So I’m like, I’ll just get comfortable. So yeah, I haven’t made it into a crib yet but I’ve been darn close.  

Alyssa Hunter 

Well you sure do love it, but I wouldn’t put it past you. (laughs)  

Cool! Well that’s all the questions I have for you right now. But I’m sure we will keep learning about you throughout the spot.  

Jennifer Martin 

Yes, yes! OK. So now I get to ask you some questions! So again, some of these will be similar some of these will be different. Why did you want to become an SLP?

Alyssa Hunter 

That is a good question! Mine too ranges all the way back to high school and I at that time had a job as a Second Language Acquisition tutor and I was primarily working with students who had additional needs and who were having more difficulty learning the second language. And then my mom she is an early childhood music teacher.  

So you know all the moms who enroll in that are people who know how important it is to expose your child to music and language. So there’s a lot of speech therapist she knew. So when she saw kind of that career track I was going on of working with people with additional needs and second language and she knew I was pursuing Spanish. She suggested that I look in to speech language pathology and just like you I’ve kind of never looked back. And so it’s been an exciting journey.  

Jennifer Martin

That’s rare! I feel like you know when you hear about people changing their degrees three or five times on average. 

Alyssa Hunter 

I’m not saying I never had a midlife crisis in college. That did happen, but I was always talked down by my mentors and realized that I think that this profession was a really really good fit and mix of so many different things. I mean we can go so many directions in our field.  

Jennifer Martin 

Oh yes, oh yes, we certainly can. So what of your different jobs? What has been your favorite job thus far as a speech therapist?  

Alyssa Hunter 

You know something that got me kind of still hooked on the field and really really excited about speech therapy was when I was in college and I knew I was going to be applying to graduate school. I was looking for some relevant job experience to kind of you know up my resumé and give me more idea of what I was dealing with. And I ended up working at a camp for three summers that was a residential overnight camp called Camp Lee Mar if anyone’s interested, and it’s an eight week residential camp for young adults and children with all different types of diagnoses and they have regular camp activities but they also go to a speech center as if it’s one of their activities of the day. 

And I think that’s really where I kind of birthed my therapy style and really got to have a lot of creativity and freedom to think of different interventions and really understand how important that rapport is with a client in order to make progress because not only was I doing therapy with them but I was also living with them and sleeping in the same cabin as them. And so it was really cool because it really allowed me to have a very holistic view of therapy and I’ve really carried that with me through all of my jobs. 

It was an adventure that’s for sure, but I kept going back for more. So it was definitely a positive experience.  

Jennifer Martin 

Well it sounds like a good time. Sounds like fun! So what’s one thing that you wish you had known when starting this career?  

Alyssa Hunter  

That is a good question. I think that something that I wish people talked about more was how to create a really good work/life balance from the start.  0

I think that when you’re in graduate school, there’s so much going on, so many people are working like two plus jobs, you’re doing your clinical goals, you’re doing classes, you’re trying to stay afloat, and you have all these different things going on but really understanding that by investing in yourself, you’re also investing in your clients because if you’re not doing well and if you’re not happy and loving your life then it’s going to be hard for you to walk into therapy every day. And so I was lucky enough to kind of find that work life balance on my own eventually once I started my CF year.  0

But I always look back into grad school and I’m like: there should have probably been a class or something on work/life balance and how that affects you as a therapist and it’s something I’m really passionate about trying to help young people in our fields who are thinking about entering because it’s not for the weak of heart, but I think that you definitely can achieve that great balance.  

Jennifer Martin 

Yeah and stay tuned folks, we will be having an episode that covers just that because it is something we both feel very strongly about. So awesome! So what is an area you’d like to learn more about or something that you could see yourself doing in the future? 

Alyssa Hunter 

That’s a really good question because there are so many different things that I want to learn more about as I kind of mentioned before. Same as Jennifer, I also specialize in bilingual therapy and so kind of across all of the different types of settings we can go in to, I always want to carry that bilingual component with me. But something that I don’t have a lot of knowledge on is really strong medical language Spanish. And so I would love to learn more of that terminology and really understand how to help the older population who’s aging and who have immigrated here with their family, multigenerational and really be able to communicate with everyone and be a strong advocate for that population.  

Jennifer Martin 

Awesome. Well there’s always a need for that.  

Yes, OK so it would not be a true Q&A without a “Would you rather” question.  

Alyssa Hunter 

OK, throw it at me. I’m Ready!  

Jennifer Martin 

OK so this is this is a creative one.  

Would you rather have skin that changes color based on your emotions or tattoos appear all over your body depicting what you did yesterday? 

Alyssa Hunter 

(Laughs) You know I thought we were keeping to the speech related theme! You know, I would probably say the tattoos because hopefully I would just be really proud of what I did yesterday and I’d be like you’ll never believe all of the clients I saw and the mountain I hiked and cool things like that. Whereas with the colors as all those speech therapists know out there sometimes you’re sitting amongst chaos in a session. However your outer appearance has to appear very calm and serene.  

And so I think as a therapist I need to preserve those emotions to keep my outer and inner self separate.  

Jennifer Martin 

Good answer! 

All right, well that concludes our Q&A and so now what I’m going to do is kind of just to give you again, because this is our very first episode and we want to just let you know what to expect in upcoming episodes. So we’re going to talk a little bit about what you can expect so that you will be hungry for more. One of the things that we’re really going to try to do and again because I mentioned that we are lifelong learners and I know that a lot of you are as well, is that we will have many different guests and experts within the field. One of the things they really want to stress is that this podcast is really and truly for all SLPs. 

This is for new grads, this is for people that have been in the field for a very long time, and not only that but it’s going to cover all settings.  

So just know that our hope is that there’s something for everyone. And you know our goal with this is to just really create a space for all SLPs where we can all learn, and we really want your ideas and feedback. with that being said. And we’ll give you our emails and whatnot at the end so that you can do that because it’s really important to us, like I said that this is just a great community of SLPs. With that being said some of our featured guests and some of the topics that we will be covering in the future are things like: a day in the life of a school SLP. a day in the life of a medical SLP. Another one which I am very excited about and can’t wait, is going to be interviewing an SLP that lives overseas and does teletherapy with students in the U.S 

and other parts of the world which is you know, a dream. We also are going to talk to an SLP that works for students with transitioning students who have been a special education until the age of 21. And then what happens next? Because sometimes we forget that you know they do become adults and go out into the world and what’s our role with that. Also an SLP that works with voice and clients that are transgender because that’s an area within our field that’s growing rapidly.  

Also talking with different other professionals that SLPs might work with, like a dietitian and what’s their role when working with an SLP, a school psychologist and what’s that role look like. Another one that’s I’m really excited about is an SLP that works in one of the top rehab hospitals and works with patients with spinal cord injuries because again, I think that’s an area where we don’t really always associate you know that with speech pathology. And another really important guests that we’re going to have will be parents of children who’ve worked with SLPs and their experiences because I think that’s really important to always you know have the parent’s point of view. Because I always tell every parent working with when they’re with their child that they are the most important member of the team.  

So I think being able to hear you know where they come from would be really important, and also from travel therapists and a variety of topics that come along with that. From new grads and it’s actually becoming much more popular with retirees that have a few years left to want to travel. So again, that’s just a preview of some of the things that are to come and many more! 

Alyssa Hunter 

Cool I’m excited! I’m excited to talk to all these people. And you know they’re coming from all over the country and just so many vast experiences and so it’s gonna be a good time. But along with having all of these different experts on our shows and talking about all these different topics, we’re also going to throw in some cool different segments depending on what the topic is and so we are going to have speech therapy showdowns, which might sound like speech therapists are wrestling but on the contrary. We’re just gonna be discussing different products like maybe one device versus the other or different schools of thought with popular therapy methods, and also are going to be depicting some lingo, especially if you’re transitioning from one setting to another.  

There is a lot of lingo to know and acronyms, so we’re going to be going over that. We will have a mailbag where all of our listeners can send in questions and topics they want to talk about that we can discuss on the show. And then today we’re going to be delving into myth busters which is where we will do kind of lightning round Myth Busters. I will present a common myth in our field whether that be clinically based or something that speech language pathologists commonly believe and we will try to break the myths. 

So are you ready Jennifer?  

Jennifer Martin 

I’m ready! 

Alyssa Hunter 

All right. The first myth I will present to you to bust is: once I work in one specific therapy setting, I can never transition to another.  

Jennifer Martin 

And this is something that we hear all the time. I hear this from new grads that are afraid to start in an area and think they’re never going to get out. And I also hear this from seasoned therapists that have been doing something for a while and aren’t really sure if they’re going to be able to do something different or if those skills are going to transfer. And I am here to tell you that you absolutely can. Again I mean I think just you know thinking about my own experience you know I really thought, I want to work with adults and hospitals, that’s all I’m going to do, that’s what I want to do. And quickly found out that that’s not all I wanted to do. And if you would’ve told me that I would have gone from that to two years later working with NICU graduates, I would have thought you were crazy. But it is absolutely possible. And one of the things that I always like to remind, whether it be new grad or seasoned therapist is that so many of our skills: they transfer setting to setting.  

When I was working with adults with strokes and traumatic brain injuries and then started working with high school students, I actually did use a lot of those same exact executive functioning and cognitive skills that I was using for one group with the others So they really do transfer. Again with feeding and swallowing, yes you’re working with smaller anatomy, but really so much of that does transfer and I think as well that within this setting that employers know it’s such a vast field that it’s not not common to be in one setting, in one job for your entire career.  

And so they know that people are going to move around, and want to try different things. And so I think there are many employers that are open to saying, hey I know you haven’t done that but what can we do to ensure that you have those skills so that you can move to this setting. So, don’t ever feel like you’re going to be stuck and there’s so many different certifications and continuing education that make it really much easier to transfer those settings. Whether it is working with adults, to moving to kids. From schools to clinics, t there’s just there’s so much information out there that can help support those transitions as well.  

Alyssa Hunter 

Yeah, I agree. I mean that’s one of the most magical parts of our field is that you can start off doing one thing and by the end of your career have taken six different jobs and still have your CCCs, you still have your title as an SLP. And so, I couldn’t agree more. And those are some great examples. So are you ready for the next round of Myth Busters?   

Jennifer Martin 

I am! Let’s do it! 

Alyssa Hunter

Here is a myth: Teletherapy is not as effective as onsite therapy.  

Jennifer Martin 

Well that is a big myth! Fake news, for sure. So like I said in the beginning, I’ve been working doing teletherapy this whole year and you know there definitely was a part of me when I was starting where I thought, gosh what if it isn’t as good? What if I am selling snake oil? But I will tell you that it has been just as effective. I’ll tell you first my personal experience and then there’s so much research that actually backs that up.  

I will say first of all, I’m one of the first to say that it is not appropriate for everyone. It’s just not. I know there is definitely a population that really and truly needs that person on site whether it be severe behavior or  lower cognitive functioning, some students with more moderate to severe autism. They really do need that onsite therapist. But what I have found is the majority really are appropriate for this medium of receiving therapy.  

And one of the biggest reasons is just that the kids now don’t know life without an iPhone. I mean that just doesn’t even exist in their worlds. So they are digital natives. I work with two year olds that can do things on a computer that I can’t do. Technology is what they know and so, it’s a very comfortable way for them to receive therapy. They don’t think anything of it. I think it’s harder for adults that haven’t done it to accept it as a new way of doing therapy because we didn’t always have an iPhone but now they don’t know any different.  

And that’s how people communicate and people you know, the thought of not having internet or a smartphone, I just think would send some people into a tizzy. But anyway, so yes they are digital natives. Students are very comfortable with that. You can do most anything with teletherapy that you can do on site if not more. I’m able to really be more creative and adapt and change very quickly. So if I’m working with a student and I realized, oh what I’m doing is way too hard way or too easy. Yes I can do those things if I’m in person as well but I don’t have all of my materials necessarily at my fingertips whereas with tele therapy I have all my materials right there.  

I can quickly change; I can quickly adapt and so I’m able to really customize therapy for the students and I find that they really do make progress so much faster. Again, it’s a medium they’re comfortable with. And I really can focus on those specific goals. I have found this year that these students have made huge leaps as far as studies go and research. There’s so much research that backs it up. Again, it’s not perfect and appropriate for every student and I am very upfront about that.  

But a lot of long research studies show specifically one with a Kent State study that followed students from the beginning of the year to the end and they’ve had a group that did onsite in a group that received therapy via a teletherapy and they found that the group that was receiving services via teletherapy were either at the same level as far as meeting their goals as the onsite group or had mastered even more. So that was really powerful because it followed them for the entire year.  

And again there’s so many that look at even you know whether it be speech, O.T, psych; it’s it’s just a really effective method. In order to provide therapy and again it’s just kind of where our future is going.  

Alyssa Hunter 

Yeah, it’s really amazing to kind of think about the future direction of health care as it pertains to therapists and even to think right now I’m doing a variety of teletherapy models, one where I’m just doing parent consultation for a family that homeschools their kid but as part of the district but is hard to reach and then a whole nother model across the country where the kids are burnt out from onsite therapy and they need a change of pace and teletherapy has been effective in that way.  

And so, it’s just interesting to think how we can kind of use that as a creative tool. And you know I don’t think we’ll ever be a replacement for sure not. But as a creative supplement? Absolutely.  

Jennifer Martin  

Yes,and absolutely, I mean onsite therapists are important and absolutely necessary. But I think there is definitely a place for this as well.  

Alyssa Hunter

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. All right. I have one more myth and then it’s time to go.  

Jennifer Martin 

Ok! I’m ready! 

Alyssa Hunter 

If I have a significant other or children, travel therapy is near impossible.  

Jennifer Martin 

I’m going to have to go with.. 

Alyssa Hunter 

Fake news? 

Jennifer Martin 

(Laughs) Yeah, fake news! Yes, it is myth busters and that is a myth.  

We work with so many people that travel with their significant other and many times that person is not a therapist. And it is becoming more and more common especially because so many jobs now are remote. So, one person can be traveling and doing their therapy job and the other person can be doing their regular job as well, just remotely. And even if they don’t have a remote job, we have found several of our therapists and their significant others are able to get a temporary job. And again this is another possible show ideas, to have one of them on to talk about some of those. But but yes it’s very common and it’s whether it be a significant other. Children? We absolutely have some people that do that. We have a family that is basically, they call themselves a virtual family.  

One of my teletherapists, she does teletherapy, her husband works remote, their kids are in virtual school, and they travel all over. It sounds amazing! And so every time I talk to her I’m like: Where are you now? I’m so excited for you! I mean it just sounds like a dream. So yes, it’s absolutely possible. Is it going to have moments where it feels stressful or requires more planning? Absolutely.  

Alyssa Hunter

Yeah, speaking of work life balance and how that’s something we really value. I know at least for me every time I talk to someone who’s like: I have a husband or a wife or a significant other and I want to travel but I’m not sure. Can they come and I’m like yes! What an amazing adventure to go out together! People are like: we just got married and we want to spend the next few years traveling before we settle back down and it’s like, can I be you can I join you because it’s just these stories we hear are incredible.  

Jennifer Martin 

Yeah, and I’ve talked to several too. One of them is the travelling therapist the other one is finishing a degree. So it’s perfect because they’re doing online schooling and the other one is doing the work. I mean so many creative ways to do it. So yes, having a family is never a deal breaker for things. You can still do all the fun things you used to before, just with a little more planning.  

Alyssa Hunter

Awesome! Thank you so much for busting those myths! Sadly, I think this is about to be the end of our first episode and I think that just about wraps it up.  

But thank you so much everybody for joining in on this episode of SLP Full Disclosure. We have a very exciting second episode that’s coming up where we’re talking to two friends who have been traveling together for years and talking about kind of their journey as therapists together throughout the country. So, make sure you tune in for that! 

And if you’d like to get in touch with us to participate in asking questions, if you have ideas, again we want to make this a community and grow together. Send us an e-mail at slpfulldisclosure@gowithadvanced.com and also if you’re more of a reader and you want to look back at the notes, you can find those at advancedtraveltherapy.com/slpfulldisclosure. But be sure to subscribe to our podcast on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify or really anywhere you get your podcasts. 

And if you found value from the show, don’t forget to leave us a preview. It will just really help us out! Thank you to our producer Jonathan Cary, our music and editing was by Aidan Dykes, and also this podcast was powered by Advanced Travel Therapy. So see you next time! Thank you guys!