This week on the blog is Sarah Lockhart from the SLP Happy Hour Podcast! Sarah is a speech-language pathologist working towards empowering pediatric clients and families to communicate, and supporting other SLPs by encouraging them to put on their own oxygen mask first.
Sarah works in a variety of settings: her own pediatric private practice clinic, telepractice, and travel SLP assignments. When she’s not running her business, traveling for work, or firing up her laptop for another telepractice session, she’s behind the podcast microphone at SLP Happy Hour with her friend Sarie. SLP Happy Hour is a podcast for busy SLPs who want more calm and less chaos. Topics discussed include: self care, wellness, vulnerability, job transitions, with plenty of real-life stories thrown in.
SLP Happy Hour Podcast
If you were put on an island and could only have 3 things with you for speech therapy what would you bring and why?
On our podcast, we frequently talk about lazy lessons where you just need a few basic things, so I’ve realized I typically already use the same several things in each session – paper, pencils or markers, and some sort of reinforcer (my podcast co-host Sarie has gotten me really into using a suction cup ball to throw at the window or at the white board when you need a reinforcer, and it’s a super quick and fun option).
What is your favorite quote and why?
I love quotes and frequently post quotes I love on our Instagram account, but can’t think of a favorite. I’d say right now I have some mantras to get me through what has been a stressful season: one thing at a time, let things be undone, and follow the system. These things are helping me as in light of the Covid-19 pandemic (as this interview takes place), things are changing, and it often feels like I can’t keep up.
What is your special interest in the field of speech-language pathology?
When it comes to clinical practice, I’m interested in Childhood Apraxia of Speech, Autism, and Dyslexia. When it comes to zooming out, and our field in general – my interest is in supporting SLPs to focus on their mental health, emotional health, and well being while being in a helping profession. I have personal experience with burnout, and it’s something I’m very vocal about – but not just what we can do when we feel stress, but also systemic changes in our profession that need to happen so that there isn’t so much burnout in our profession. Our profession involves lots of work, competing demands, and oftentimes expectation from the top down that aren’t reasonable – add on to that the emotional work of supporting children and families, and you have a recipe for burnout. It’s common in our profession, and it’s something that is just starting to get the attention it deserves.
What is some of the best SLP advice you have ever received?
I shared this on (I think) our first ever SLP Happy Hour podcast episode – always go forward, never go back. It was from my very first special education director, and I appreciated this advice, especially as I gained experience in the schools setting and realized that I would never be able to do it all or keep up, and rules were always changing. You can only do what you can moving forward most of the time.
Tell me about your current work setting.
My job is fun to talk about because I actually have two jobs, which are about 50% of my time each, and I work full time as an SLP. I own my own private practice, where I focus on preschool Autism, Childhood Apraxia of Speech and school age Dyslexia. I bill insurance, schedule clients, and also do a lot of the administrative side of my practice, which keeps me busy. I also have a part time telepractice school contract, I’ve been doing telepractice for many years now, and I really enjoy it. While balancing two different settings and jobs is a challenge, I really enjoy the variety of work.
Tell me what you’re working on right now.
This interview is during the Covid-19 pandemic, so I’ve been working on switching over my in-person service to video service. Even though I was already experienced with telepractice, switching clients over was a huge learning curve for my families and for me. The first few weeks there were tech glitches, frustrations, and even some kids who ran away from the the computer. After the second session, I’m happy to say I’m back in routine with nearly all of my families, and it feels good. I’m also working on writing a book, building up my Teachers Pay Teachers Store, marketing the podcast so more SLPs know about it, and if that wasn’t enough – I’m also in process to adopt a child. So things are busy for the moment!
If you had to be something other than an SLP, what would you choose and why?
If I wasn’t an SLP, I might be a graphic designer or a novelist. With graphic design, I just really enjoy making things look pretty and designing marketing materials, and thankfully I get to do that with my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. With writing, I’m currently working on writing a book (in the cozy mystery) genre that has been a really fun passion project.
Check out Sarah and SLP Happy Hour:
Podcast website: www.slphappyhour.com
Social Media: www.instagram.com/slphappyhour