#SLPLoveHurts by The Frenzied SLPs

Welcome to the season of love.

Even when that love hurts.
The Frenzied SLPs are all about keeping it real, and this is about as down-to-earth as it gets.

If you are an SLP, you will get physically hurt at some point. Professors may not tell you this. Lists of Top 25 Best Careers may not include that info. And probably the people interviewing you for a job won't mention that detail.

But it's real.

Teaching communication comes with challenges. I've been fortunate. I can count on one hand the number of times I've been physically injured. The teachers and parapros I work with have been pretty knowledgable about their students' behavior and protective of me. Still, it happens.

Back in the mid-90's, all I knew about autism were the classifications at that time - autism, PDD, Rett's syndrome, Asperger's, and Childhood Integrative Disorder. That's it. My Sp Ed director at the time sent me to a home to work with a young child. I had no training except for conversations with the SLP and PPCD teacher who had assessed the child.

The mom was great and knowledgeable. She told me lots of things about her child in a quick 2 minutes - likes, preferences, actions, history, more than I could remember. As we worked, the child started approaching closer. I was excited! The child was interested in the activities! Nope, turns out the child's approach meant a bite on the neck was on the way, and that's what happened. The mom intervened. I finished the session, embarrassed and promising to write down what she had told me. Then, I had to go to the nearest school to visit with the school nurse. She urged me to call my director, who documented the information and asked me to go get a tetanus shot.

So my advice is:
* Keep up-to-date on your tetanus shot. Not really, but kind of, especially if you have biters or scratchers.
* Learn about autism spectrum disorder. There is a wealth of information out there now.
* Respect the people who know the child the best - parents, teachers, school staff. I really should have called the parent first and had a conversation instead of showing up and expecting to do therapy.
* Know your district's procedures for incidents.

My hope is that communication dominates your SLP world, that physical incidents are few-and-far-between, and that you have more ups than downs in your career. And that you won't be injured but will know what to do when it happens.

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