Willow Sauermilch, MA, CCC-SLP
We live in a complicated technological world. On one hand, new types of technology may help us stay connected with people and events near and far. On the other hand, technology may keep us from fully investing in and participating in the world immediately around us. It’s easy to drive a stake in one camp over the other. However, new technological advances are here to stay, taking root in our home, social, school, and work environments. This blog is my journey through this new and constantly changing landscape, finding direction with emerging research and evidence-based practices, as well as the media musings discovered along the way.
I hold dual Master's degrees in both Mass Communication and Communication Disorders and am currently working on a PhD in Media and Communication, where I focus on adult-child interactions surrounding media content. I love sharing, whether that is in clinical settings, the academic classroom, or out in the field. I have had the pleasure of presenting presentations on a variety of topics relating to technology and communicative interactions at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's national convention, technology conferences, state conferences, school districts, and local professional organizations. This blog is an on-line extension of these conversations and discoveries. Say ‘hi’ and feel free to join in!
How do we find a balance? Simply put, there’s no easy answer. As a society, we are constantly experimenting on ourselves. Luckily, the life lessons from our past, leave breadcrumbs to follow as we forge a path forward. Media effects is not a new topic and what we already know helps develop our road map moving forward. As we follow these crumbs through the forest of uncertainty, we aren’t alone. The friends we meet along the way, with the same curiosities and questions, bring their own knowledge and expertise to this grand conversation. As a result, our collective path forward is lit by various fields, including mass communication, education, psychology, medicine, and special education, to name a few. It is here, within this space, that I add my own voice from the field of speech-language pathology. Together we have the opportunity to weave a richer, stronger path of discovery as we navigate a technologically-driven world.
During the past 15 years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with children, students, and their families in early intervention
programs and public-school districts with preschool, elementary, secondary, and post-secondary students.
Speech-language pathologists diagnose and treat individuals with communication disorders, including those associated with speech sound production, language and literacy, social communication, feeding and swallowing, and hearing impairments. Although speech-language pathologists aid individuals in improving communication difficulties, we are
grounding in communication development, interaction, and
maintenance across the lifespan.
As technological advances expand into the world of speech-language pathology, I've found that it's not what apps and devices we have, but how we use them with our patients,
their families, and communities within their educational, social, and vocational environments. Individuals with unique communication needs also have unique technology needs and preferences. When it comes to using technology in meaningful and communicative ways, speech-language pathologists are important stakeholders. For it's not just a book, a game, an app, or an activity - it's the communication that takes place through it and around it!