October 3, 2010


I think that 10 decimal points is enough. I changed my fraction routine into decimals in honor of my #1 niece, Elizabeth. She's a freshman at MIT, and she's a math whiz. And she has a great name. She's also the only person who took a guess at my literary mystery. And she got it right. Ms. Frizzle!

Now that has absolutely nothing to do with Down syndrome. But, at least I know one or two readers who will be pleased with the shout out.

Here comes the relevant part of the post:

The past two Saturdays I've been facilitating a Talktools DVD seminar. I know many of you have been hoping to find an OT or an SLP who has training in oral placement therapy. Well, this is one way to make it happen: Train them yourself! And, at the same time, you'll learn more than you can imagine!

It's not so difficult.

1. Talktools has Sara Rosenfeld Johnson's 3-Part Treatment Plan seminar available on DVD. It's 12 hours of training geared for OTs and SLPs. They earn 1.2 CEUs for attending (good selling point, especially since most therapists have to get a certain number of continuing ed credits to maintain their certification). You can either rent the DVD, or purchase it (or, talk to your local DS support group about getting it). It's pricey, but you'll come out even if you get just a few therapists to attend. Parents can attend as well, but it's a very heavy load of new terminology and can be overwhelming to some.

2. Decide on good dates and a good location (tables, chairs, computer/projection capabilities). Hospital conference rooms, libraries, churches all are possibilities. Don't forget that many school therapists cannot take a day off for training unless it is a teacher work day.

3. Publicize that you're offering training (I can send you my flyer if you want some ideas). Contact local schools and private therapy clinics. Contact local disability non-profits as well (Arc, Autism Society, UCP, etc). Invite parents to attend at a reduced cost (they won't need the CEUs, so the materials fees are lower).

4. Collect registration moneys at least two weeks in advance. You'll need to order "extra viewer kits" for each person in attendance. Place your order with Talktools.

5. Remember that you cannot "make" money by charging more than what you spend. That would be illegal. It's tricky not to do this...so either you can limit the number of attendees, or you can throw in a catered box lunch on each day, or you can refund some of the money back. Don't forget to reimburse yourself if you are paying to make and distribute flyers or have other related expenses.

6. Bring refreshments. Especially banana bread or mini-chocolate bars. It's hard to sit through 6 hours of DVD watching each day!

I've done this several times, sometimes just with parents, sometimes with therapists and parents. Everyone comes out bleary, but filled with new ideas and techniques.

Yesterday was the second day of the training. It was my smoothest event ever. It was terrific because I had the support of the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Richmond, who sponsored it. And I had some great helpers too (Thanks Lyn! Thanks Lancasters! Thanks James!). Richmond now has seven therapists and 14 more families who have the basics of Oral Placement Therapy!

You can make it happen, and your child and your community will benefit.


Justine said...

Wonderful! Do you think oral placement therapy is something a parent could do on their own? I KNOW this is EXACTLY what Tim needs, but I would have to pay out of pocket, plus I don't think anyone in our area does this. Buying the DVD for $237 (it is on sale) would be MUCH cheaper than paying for therapy in the long run. Would someone who has minimal experience with speech therapy be able to understand it enough to implement it?

Brandie said...

I just ordered some dvds and kits from Talktools. They were open to watching the videos, but the ST said "I don't use straws". Well, 48 hours later, she can't wait to use straws!!

I'll have to keep this in mind because it would be great to have more therapists familiar with OPT.

Captain Quirk said...

Ooh, a shout out to me? I'm honored! Gotta love the decimals, too :)

Kelly said...

Thanks so much for sharing this post. Such a great idea. I'll be speaking with our local support group about possibly doing this too!!