Thursday, April 4, 2013

Clinical Skills Confidence: "I don't know..."

A parent/teacher/grandparent/co-worker asks you a question regarding speech language pathology and your first thought is: "I DON'T KNOW..."

Cue dramatic music. Sweaty palms. Ticking clock. People staring at you. 
Time for my next installment of Clinical Skills Confidence!

It is not the end of the world. There is no possible way that you can know everything there is to know about our field. Especially not in the first few years after graduation! 

"Is my child normal? Is she making enough progress? How severe is her language disorder?Will he outgrow this? How will CAS affect her in school?" 

These are all questions you might hear at some point in your career. It is ok to not know the answer. If it's a more direct question, such as "what age are the k/g sounds expected?" then likely you know the answer. It is also ok that the first time someone asks you that question, your mind goes completely blank and you begin to wish the floor would open up and swallow you whole. :) 

If it's a more intricate question such as, "will CAS affect reading skills later on?" the answer may not be as simple. I have DEFINITELY said the following:

"I'm not sure, but let me do some research and get back to you." 

In general, no one will think less of you. I have said this and done exactly that: did some research and came back with some articles and further information. IT IS OK TO NOT KNOW EVERYTHING. It is not ok to pretend to know the answer and provide information that may not be correct or say what you think the person wants to hear. This is definitely something I've become more comfortable with saying. I generally learn something while doing my research on the question, so it's win-win! 

As a side-note, if you're wondering about whether CAS will affect reading skills, here are some resources I found:

It will, of course, depend on the severity of CAS and the individual child. From what I've read, these are highlights:

-phonological processing skills should be targeted early to help with later reading skills
-as with speech therapy, children with CAS require higher intensity of reading intervention
-parent, teacher, and SLP collaboration is critical! 

What questions have you been asked that you didn't know the answer to?


  1. I love this post! I feel like this happens to me all of the time, so it's nice to know I'm not the only one who has had to say, "I don't know, I'll get back to you on that." Thanks for sharing!


  2. Great post! Love the information about the CAS and reading connection!