speech therapy

★ Best Practices

I listen to podcasts every day on the commute to and from work. A few years back a friend of mine pointed me to This American Life when I asked for recommendations for podcasts for a road trip. I've been listening regularly ever since. This week I was listening to an episode about the masks we sometimes wear in our attempts to be someone we're not. Both stories were great, but the second one really caught my attention.

Kristen Finch was a speech therapist who sometimes worked with kids with Asperger Syndrome, symptoms of which include emotional distance, inflexibility and missing social cues. Kristin and her co-workers often joked that all their husbands had Asperger's, since the symptoms overlap with stereotypically male personality traits. But then Kristen wondered—what if it was actually true for her husband Dave?

The story is captivating. Hearing David Finch talk reminds me of looking through a glass-bottom boat, as if I can nearly grasp what his world is like and feel it even for just a moment.

I will definitely be adding David Finch's recently-published book, The Journal of Best Practices, to my reading list.

★ On Pillows and Gelatin Snacks

Vocabulary lesson of the day:

pillow manipulation n. the art of using pillows to enable oneself to sit at a 90-degree angle (the ideal position in which to eat) in a hospital bed that only reaches a 75-degree angle

Kamikaze jello n. a spoonful of jello which falls from the spoon and into one's lap

The above definitions exemplify why I love my job.

The former is a term coined by a cancer patient I've been working with. He was relentless this morning in his effort to sit as comfortably (and upright) as possible, and insisted that the bed be positioned just so before he would even consider working with me for some dysphagia therapy.

The latter is my own linguistic creation, a spur-of-the-moment expression I yelled during a session this afternoon as I made a klutz of myself with some cherry jello.