Is that a fair question?

Many hits and many questions

Launched in June 1998 this site welcomes many visitors, often receiving 180,000 to 200,000 or more hits in a single day. Thousands of these visitors have enquiries, questions and requests for information, most of which arrive by email in  numbers so overwhelming that it became necessary to instate a policy on questions from SLPs/SLTs on child speech assessment and intervention.

The following article was written in 1999. Nothing much has changed with regard to the questions the site generates, except that the number of them increases constantly. I also receive some very entertaining feedback from empathic colleagues who have had similar experiences. For example, "A" wrote: "As an SLP in the US, your page of examples of questions your receive made me laugh out loud! To that end, I was wondering if you had a good recipe for pea soup. Not too thick, but not too thin either ... and please be sure to send all the info you can!"

Made me smile.


Questions from colleagues


As you can see I have made extensive use of the Question and Answer format as a means of presenting speech-language pathology information. Maybe the presence of these Q&A and pages encourages visitors to ask me more questions. Whatever the reason - I am asked hundreds and hundreds of questions by consumers, professionals and students. This article is about the level of questioning by professional and student colleagues.

Don't get me wrong! Many of the questions I am asked by SLPs and students are interesting and stimulating, and they often provide the impetus for me to develop new sections on this site. They also provide feedback about how accessible the site is. If, for example, I am asked for information that is already available here, it may mean that the site is not well sign posted, and that I need to improve it.

BUT...some of the questions make me wonder whether there is a fundamental change occurring in the way professionals seek out work-related information, and in the way that students approach assignments.


Questions from me


With the increasing availability of Internet resources, is the responsibility for researching professional topics shifting? Is there an increasing expectation that others will (happily!) do the donkey work for us? Is the notion of "independent research" different in the Internet era?

That is how it sometimes feels when I open my Inbox and find requests for information that the writer could have found very quickly by using a little effort with a search engine or directory.


Rude


Some of the requests are so impertinent that I put them in a folder labeled "rude". Like these:

"This site is completely useless to SALTS needing information about expressive language disorder. What do you plan to do about it?" UK/SALT

"Send info on myofunctional tx". SLP

"I need email addresses for ---- and ----" [Names of two prominent language researchers] Graduate Student

"I need info on starting a private practice. Please send to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." SLP


Audacious


Why bother to keep them? Call me systematic, call me obsessional - but I like to keep track of these things. And I find it interesting that some of these correspondents write to me quite frequently, using different "identities" but the same email address! For example, the person who wrote:

"Send info on myofunctional tx". SLP

wrote this (or at least, had the same email address as the person who wrote this) about two weeks later:

"Dear Dr Bowen, I have been reading your excellent web site with awe! My daughter Katie, aged 11, was recently assessed by a speech and language professional who advised myofunctional therapy. I was not so sure that this was a good idea, and saw a private SLP who said that myofunctional therapy was not held in high regard by your profession. Now I am confused and I want what is best for my daughter. Please send the arguments for and against this form of therapy, how assessments are performed, what the treatment entails, and the current controversies. Concerned Father"

Hmmmm!


Ask a busy person


If I have a moment to spare I do sometimes respond to people who want me to do their searching for them (though less often than I used to). For example, an SLP wrote:

Hi Caroline...I know you must be very busy and receive lots of requests, but I REALLY need this info. Do you have any sites which explain the speech banana?? SLP

Well, I wasn't terribly busy at the time, and I did know of one. I had listed included it on my site. I wrote back:

Dear SLP: There is a speech banana information here Caroline

Some minutes later I received this:

Hi Caroline...I looked on the page you sent but I could not see the link. Please send the URL ASAP. SLP :-)

Oh dear!


Nice site, but are your credentials up to scratch?


Hi Caroline,
My name is X and I am a senior at the University of X studying Communication Disorders. I am doing a final project on Developmental Apraxia of Speech and would like to use your website as a reference, however, even though you are a SLP, I need to make sure you are ASHA certified and have your CCCs. I also wanted to thank you for creating such a wonderful resource! I found it very helpful. Thank you. Sincerely, X

Dear X,
I am glad you find my web site helpful. I was surprised by the tone of your e-mail, and suspect that you are taking a rather "local" view of our profession. Are you really taking it upon yourself to check my credentials? And to what end?

There are properly qualified SLPs all over the world who are not ASHA members, and who do not have their CCCs. As it happens, I have been an International Affiliate Member of ASHA for many years. But, as an Australian, I am a Certified Practising Member of Speech Pathology Australia (CPSP). Having ASHA C's would not automatically entitle an SLP to practice in Australia.

In the peer reviewed literature, that is, in journals such as JSLHR, many of the authors are not ASHA members - nor indeed SLPs. This does not make their contribution to the field of human communication disorders any the less worthwhile.

Caroline


Please send goals and objectives for articulation


I am a new speech pathologist and was interested in trying to find some goals and objectives for articulation. I was wondering if you had any ideas in this area. I would appreciate it if you had any input for me. Please feel free to e-mail me if you think you can help. Thank you for your time. SLP


Send as much info about dysarthria as possible! TQ


Hello, I am a student at X. I recently chose dysarthria as a topic for a research paper as well as for our Disability Awareness Day. The only problem is that I am having troubling finding information on it. So could you please send as much information about dysarthria as possible to me. I need your answer ASAP.


Can't find any web sites on phonological disorders


I am a graduate student and I have a research project that I am working on for my Disorders class. Our assignment was to pick a speech disorder and write a research paper on treatment efficacy (for the chosen disorder). I have chosen phonological disorders and the minimal pairs approach. We must have 6 journal articles and two websites. I have found the journal articles, but I can't seem to find any websites. I would love some help if you know of any. Thanks~


Only send PRACTICAL techniques


Hello! I am in great need of some practical techniques for an SLP to use when increasing the range and form of communicative intentions. I have searched your web site extensively under "pragmatics," "language use," "language function" etc. Do you have any suggestions? Only send PRACTICAL techniques.


Any suggestions for communication temptations?


Hi -- I'm a student clinician enjoying your website. These ideas all sound great, but the kids I'm working with right now are very delayed 4-year olds who just don't seem to want to talk at all, no matter how simple I make a task. I haven't managed to come up with any communication temptations that are tempting enough! Do you have any suggestions?


Send unique therapy idea sites ASAP


Just wondering if you know of sites that have unique therapy ideas. Send as many as possible ASAP - Thanks


Looking for articles urgently


I am looking for articles specifically about oral sensory feeding problems. I need them urgently for a paper. Please do not send journal citations as I am a busy clinician and do not have time. Just send as many web sites as possible. I appreciate your efforts. Thanks in advance. SLP


What are your thoughts?


I have a few students on my caseload that after 2 years of therapy still tongue thrust. No amount of tongue exercises seems to help keep that tongue from pushing out between the teeth. What are your thoughts? SLP


Need specific activities for a client


I am currently an undergraduate studying speech-language pathology at XX in the USA. This semester I am working with a 6 1/2 year old boy. My client is missing many teeth including his upper incisors. He is 70% intelligible and exhibits many of the phonological processes. Could you direct me to a website that offers specific activities and or minimal pair word lists that I could use with him. So far the word lists on your website have been helpful, but I was hoping to find more. Will you be adding more?


Help: I can't understand this quote!


Help! I can't understand this quote. I am a student in Speech Lang. Pathology. I am reading a text by M. Lahey ("Language Disorders and Language Development") and have a question about a quote... "The developmental sequence in the use of complement constructions is...infinitival complements with the co-referential subjects before the sentential complements with non co-referential subjects." If you can help me with this one, please do ASAP. I thank you for your help - if you cannot help me, could you show me where else to direct my question. Thank you for your time. GRAD STUDENT


Help: I can't think!


I am doing a project researching how music helps to help a child's speech. I know that for stutterer's, music can help them to obtain smooth speech. Do you know how else music may help a child with a speech-language problem? If you could get back to me I would appreciate it. SALT


Help: I've forgotten!


Hi Do you know the name or where to find a program for teaching k-3 vocal hygiene, pragmatics.. in the classroom. I know it is out there I have seen it but cant remember where. Thanks, SLP


Send all the info you can...


Hi Caroline...I was wondering if you had some info or URL's regarding selective mutism. Send all the info you can...Thanks. SLP


Any fun suggested ideas?


I am working with a student who has difficulty with producing the "r" sound. He substitutes w/r and has difficulty with type of therapy for L to R production. Any fun suggested ideas? This student is a 3rd grader enrolled in SBH class- gets frustrated easily and loves to play games. SLP

Aaaahhh! It feels better now I've got that off my chest!

Any questions?!
 @speechwoman