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Early Intervention Speech Therapy

Speech Spirit: Caring for Ourselves

Published August 10, 2010 10:00 AM by Stephanie Bruno-Dowling

Last week I shared the story of my current very painful struggle with bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome. Several of you responded with wonderful suggestions and kind words. Thank you! As I read back over what I wrote and reader responses I realized that I have not written a "speech spirit" post in a very long time......

For a while, I would write one at least every month, talking about the more personal side of being a therapist. Now that I am a working mom, I can see that over the last several months that maybe, just maybe I have been ignoring certain parts of me that just don't fit into the hurried schedule that my life has become. So, today's post is about regaining that connection and supplying not only myself, but anyone who is interested with some suggestions for nurturing your body, mind and spirit. If we are not at our best, it's awfully difficult to give our best to the little ones who count on us each day in therapy.

Some of the complaints and concerns therapists shared last week in their comments include: "muscle spasms in my back...caused me to stop providing EI services for several months a few years ago" and "now I only end up with throbbing pain or numbness occasionally". As many of you know, suffering with chronic pain, while trying to provide efficient therapeutic services to young children, can really be a challenge.

In addition to the battle wounds of therapy, some of you also provided information regarding the many ways you personally care for your body in order to manage pain and discomfort. I am not advocating or denouncing these, I am simply sharing some of the suggestions other therapists made:

  • regular acupuncture
  • a modified diet of only anti-inflammatory foods
  • heavy doses of all forms of Vitamin B
  • frequent massage therapy
  • Ibuprofen ( to help reduce inflammation)
  • Wearing a brace, through the day and at night while sleeping
  • Exercise/consulting with a physical therapist
  • I am also a big advocate of sleeping at least 6.5 to 7 hours every night, but with little ones and a busy schedule, we know that's not always realistic.
I Googled "anti-inflammatory foods", which is something I am very personally interested in, because I believe we truly are what we eat. I have also considered that maybe I need to "detox" in some way? Overall, I think I'm pretty healthy, but I know I could always be more conscientious about what I feed myself. Here some resources I found helpful:

Please share other ways you manage your daily aches and pains in order to get the job done!


Barbara - Thank you for sharing your insight!

Linda - How did you become a health coach? I've been interested in possibly doing some coaching on the side.....where did you get your training?

Diane - next week's blog will discuss working with bilingual children and families!

stephanie bruno dowling August 18, 2010 10:31 PM

It is critical to my ability to continue serving kids while experiencing  chronic cevical neck pain and frequent headaches, that I spend 10 minutes in meditation everyday. Even if I have to spend that time in the car after my therapy ends. Also, disengaging my facial muscles from whatever pain I may have allows me to focus on a relaxed 'smile' that I swear releases endorphins and decreases my overall discomfort. I will be 60 this year and I'm still on the floor with the little ones....good luck to all of you!

Barbara, EI and Pre-school - SLP, Itinerant August 16, 2010 10:57 AM
Kenmore NY

Thank you for your spotlight on our health. As an SLP and integrative health coach, I am very interested in the use of ourselves for positive change in others. In my experience, as we increase our self awareness and consciousness of mind, body and spirit, we become in better relationship with ourselves. This leads to an enhanced ability to effectively serve our clients.

In this busy life, we often feel that we don't have the time. We may know what to do, but find it hard to set our own goals and stick with them.

Linda Kolstee-Ozkaynak, Health Coach and SLP August 14, 2010 2:37 PM
Chapel Hill NC

I have enjoyed reading your blogs and helpful suggestions. My question is not related to your current blog but more an early intervention one. From your past experience I am wondering if you have any helpful hints and tips on working with a Spanish speaking only child/family and using an interpreter. I find myself in this situation for the first time and not feeling very comfortable.


Diane August 12, 2010 3:39 PM

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About this Blog

    Stephanie Bruno Dowling, M.S. CCC-SLP
    Occupation: Speech-Language Pathologist
    Setting: Early Intervention in Delaware County, PA
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