A Fall of Coming Together (Apart) to Support Students and Each Other

November 18, 2021
Kira Wright, CCC-SLP
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White cloud with satellites on blue background. Text reads: Coming Together (Apart) to support students and each other

Long before Covid and CDL and travel restrictions, Hello was working to perfect the art of remote work. Many of our clinicians have a hybrid schedule that puts them onsite in schools once a month, but even THFers who work a more traditional onsite-everyday schedule are remote from their THF co-workers! As a result, we have always been intentional about our efforts to build a supportive, meaningful, and fun Hello community without the common physical space where people come to work every day. This fall, many of our staff have participated in online small-group get-togethers - to the benefit of students, districts, and THF staff job satisfaction!

Our SLPA cohort has been meeting regularly to share and celebrate and problem-solve. This month the topic was mental health in the schools. Several podcasts were chosen and shared for background and our lead school psychologist, Laura Hall, facilitated reflection and discussion. The conversation touched on everything from big systemic changes and supports being implemented by districts to the everyday shifts that SLPAs can make to prioritize their own mental health and build relationships with students. This is a timely topic that will continue to be a focus as the year progresses.

THF school psychologists have also been meeting regularly to share observations and resources. Providing Hello There hybrid school psychology services can be challenging, but new hires benefit from the experiences of veteran THFers working with long-time partner districts. The questions and experiences of THFers matched with new-to-us districts drive us all forward in solving problems and staying flexible. Topics in our psych meet-ups have ranged from the WA state autism eligibility to building an MTSS team to managing post-pandemic referrals equitably and efficiently.

Hello SLPs, SLPAs, school psychologists, and OTs were all able to come together recently for a professional development presentation by Rachel Dorsey, Autistic SLP on writing goals for Autistic students. She shared her experience with autism and the changes she advocates for in assessment, terminology, intentions, and even outcomes. There was so much to think about that we scheduled a THFer follow-up discussion the next week! As new ideas and information percolate, it is only natural to make new connections and ask more questions. And the questions and new connections inspire conversations with co-workers and amongst district teams.

Changing how we think about clinical topics from mental health to autism and neurodiversity requires both the opportunity to hear from people with perspectives different from our own and the opportunity to try new approaches and incorporate new ideas in our work. We are thankful at Hello for exposure to new ideas, discussion with reflective teams, and meaningful work with kids.