Toddlerpalooza Teaches Valuable Lessons in Interprofessional Education
Laboratory experience for second-year speech-language pathology (SLP) students and third-year physical therapy (PT) students
It looked like all fun and games when Toddlerpalooza took over the School of Health Sciences and Practice on July 2. In reality, it was an interprofessional education laboratory experience for second-year speech-language pathology (SLP) students and third-year physical therapy (PT) students, who were tasked with evaluating a group of infants, toddlers and school-aged children who came to visit for the day. They collaborated to evaluate the gross motor, speech and language/cognitive abilities and developmental stages of the children and recommend appropriate activities and exercises for speech-language and gross motor goals for parents and caregivers to perform at home.
Prior to the youngsters’ visit, a planning session was held for the students to discuss expectations, organize their approach, decide how the evaluations would be conducted and plan an alternative if the participants became uncooperative. Creativity became key to keeping the children engaged while conducting the evaluations.
Students appreciated the opportunity to learn and think outside the box. Brannan Carlucci, SLP Class of 2019, said, “I liked evaluating the toddlers with the physical therapy students. I was able to observe many aspects of speech and language, such as articulation, following commands, labeling, requesting, and pragmatics while the PT students conducted their assessment.”
Cansu Ozer, SLP Class of 2019, concurred, “It was interesting to see many aspects that we look for as speech-language pathologists overlap with the profession of physical therapy. I learned that many of the physical therapy goals could be incorporated into sessions of speech therapy.”
“Overall, I believe that the IPE event went very well and that it was a great learning experience. Prior to this event, I was unaware of what assessment measures a PT uses when working with a pediatric patient,” said Hayley Riker, SLP Class of 2019. “This experience not only opened my eyes to some of the areas of development that PTs look at, but also how to conduct an evaluation together. This strengthened my insight about professional development and how to coordinate our assessments to target both of our goals.”
“There are always obstacles when planning interprofessional education activities, especially with regard to scheduling. I am so pleased that our respective departments were able to work together to make this event happen. The day was truly a success,” said Kathleen Kaiser, M.S., CCC-SLP, assistant professor of speech-language pathology and director of clinical education
“At the end of the day, everyone benefitted from a new perspective of the children, families and each other. This experience was instructive and fun for all of the participants and consistent with best practice in pediatric care,” said Susan Ronan P.T., M.A., D.P.T., assistant professor of physical therapy.