A Slacker's Guide to Better Hearing and Speech Month

May 11, 2017
Kelly C. Bawden, MS, CCC-SLP
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It's May and that means it's Better Hearing and Speech Month (shortened to BHSM from here on out). This year, like so many others, I found myself thinking about BHSM in, oh, let's say March, and then somehow arrived in May without much of a plan. I think the tendency, at least for myself, is to want to come up with some really grand project that I can share with the whole wide world. The reality is that, whether I'm working in a school or just doing my digital media stuff here at Hello (like this year), life is BUSY. And it's hard to come up with those really grand projects when you're doggie paddling just to keep your head above water. So, in the spirit of "the crappy project you do is far better than the perfect project you never start," here are my 5 ways to mark BHSM if you're tapped out, worn out, and/or just kind of a slacker.

BHSM Slackers GuideHit Up the Official ASHA Page

Given that ASHA and BHSM go together like peas and carrots, it only figures that they have quite a few resources that you can grab and use with little to no effort. Bookmarks, coloring pages, press releases, family feud presentations, and so on. Like, seriously. Print off the BHSM poster, stick it to your office/broom closet door and call it done. 

Grab Some Stuff from Teachers Pay Teachers 

There are those who walk among us who are seemingly superhuman. They hold down full-time SLP jobs and produce materials and get those materials off of their computers/desks and put them on TPT. I am not one of you, but I salute you. And thank you for helping me and so many others look like we have our act together. It takes a village. A quick TPT search found free BHSM downloads from Speech to the Core, Practically Speeching, Speech Rocks, and Natalie Snyders. Remember the slacker code of conduct, though: always always always give credit to the superstar from whence your new materials came. It's totally fine not to make materials yourself. It is not totally fine to fail to give credit where credit is due. 

Look on the Twitters 

I know that not everyone is a Twitter-er. That's fine. You don't have to be to reap the benefits of all of the BHSM action happening over there. Click here to be taken to #BHSM and start scrolling. In about 5 minutes I came across this online hearing test you could share with people (like on your personal Facebook page maybe?), this graphic from ASHA with 9 tips for communicating with people with ASD that you could send in an all-staff email, and a big ol' app sale from Tactus that you could share with your sped coworkers. And remember what we just talked about? Don't forget to give peeps their props if you use their stuff.

Buy Attention with Food

Here's the plan: Print off something BHSM-related from the ASHA website or Twitter or Pinterest or TPT or our Resources section (check out the communication red flags!) or wherever. Leave for work 15 minutes early. Stop at the store. Buy treats. Go to the staff room. Put your printed resource on the table next to a pile of treats. Write a little note that says "Happy Better Hearing and Speech Month! xoxo, Your Favorite SLP." Walk away. High five yourself for being so awesome. 

Tell People What It Is You Do All Day

There is a post floating around Facebook at the moment that is a heartfelt rant against the stereotype of "The Speech Teacher." I think it's resonating with SLPs because it's 100% realness about everything we do and the huge parts of our own souls we put into our work. We all know that you're on Facebook way too much anyway (no judgment). So while you're there, write a little something about how you spent your day today. Post a few pictures from your day (no student faces, obvi). Share a quote about communication. Let people know that it's BHSM and it's important to you and it should be important to them because chances are exceedingly good that they will need our services at some point in their lives.

And as for me? Well, I'm going to pat myself on the back that I got this blog post up and I'm going to send you power vibes to help you clear your own (lowish) BHSM bar sometime in the next few weeks as well. Remember, it's the thought that counts and you can always do that super amazing 5-star project . . . next year ;-)