The SLP and the Service Industry: Who’s Serving You?

It can be so very easy to get caught up in the daily grind. The wild IEP meetings stack up, you feel like you’re drowning in stacks of paper, (a life preserver would be nice, glitter preference please!) if one more person asks you for one little favor you’re going to scream.

This brings me to an article shared twice, and read twice by me in the past 4 months. (Maybe this article was trying to tell me something, other than the fact that I spend too much time scrolling through Facebook.  Ha!) First shared to me by my good friend Madeleine D’Andrea, On Being’s blog about the disease of being busy. I personally feel dis-ease if I have too many things on my plate. I look like I don’t know what I’m doing if I can’t get it all done, but I just can’t stop saying yes to requests! I don’t know when we got so busy, but if people continue to be loaded up like donkeys, then they are expected to carry that burden all the time. It becomes normal. I’m not saying we need to try less when we work, I’m suggesting we work smarter.

-If you have a pile of progress reports, put your phone away, lock your door and knock those bad boys out. Your Facebook and Instagram can wait. So can Mrs. Delvin who likes to “drop in for just a sec.”

-Spend quality time with your family and friends. We all have those who bring out the best in us. (Sometimes that best is in question when your child hasn’t listened to your 10x “Put your underwear on right this minute!”) Work is work, so designate time for it.

-That quality time I mentioned? Ya, better make sure you’re Phone-Free! We can so easily be tempted to stare into the screen of never-ending perfectly targeted stories and pictures. It’s like our own little world and we can decompress with a glass of wine and not think about goals and activities and getting sneezed on earlier that day, but it is so insulated to do this. We lose the warmth of smiles, communication in gestures, picking up on how a person feels.

-Take some time to reflect. That On Being blog really hit home with me when discussing the blurred line of work and home because of our smart devices. We put our children to bed and then are back on our phones or computers. Reflect outside or inside, device free, by yourself or with others.

We can’t serve our clients with excellent care if we can’t even break to serve ourselves!

So when you feel like you just “Can’t Even,” step back, breathe and remember that we are in the business of service for a reason. Natalie Snyders recently posted about remembering that flowers aren’t expected to bloom all year round. And I love Monae’s SLP Tips 101 reminding us to rest and relax once in a while.

Service by definition is the action of helping or doing work for someone. It also includes performing routine maintenance or repair work on something. That someone and that something is you too!


Kristie Knickerbocker, MS, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist and singing voice specialist in Fort Worth, Texas. She rehabilitates voice and swallowing at her private practice, a tempo Voice Center, and lectures on vocal health to area choirs and students. She also owns and runs a mobile videostroboscopy and FEES company, Voice Diagnostix. She is an affiliate of ASHA Special Interest Group 3, Voice and Voice Disorders, and a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the Pan-American Vocology Association. Knickerbocker blogs on her website at She has developed a line of kid and adult-friendly therapy materials specifically for voice on TPT or her website. Follow her on Pinterest, on Twitter and Instagram or like her on Facebook.


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