Rhiannan Walton is a Speech and Language Therapist practicing in West Wales (UK). Rhiannan started her own therapy practice after having worked for the NHS for seven years. This is her list of essentials, and tips for going about procuring them, when you’re first starting out.
Space and cash are precious when you’re starting out on your own, so I kept two principles in mind when deciding what I needed to buy or borrow to start my therapy business:
Wait and see what I need and then buy it – with internet shopping lots of things are available on next day delivery.
Buy things that can be stored easily and used for multiple purposes – as I’d need to store everything at home and then carry it to therapy sessions.
I bought two standardised assessments, my most expensive purchase. I’m happy with the two I chose, and how many times I’ve used them. The publishers have displays at industry conferences or events, and offer discounts, so if you’re planning on going to an event and need to buy assessments, check and see if the timing works out.
If you’re a speech therapist, like me, I also use informal measures like
- Language For Thinking
- Sequencing pictures from Black Sheep Press
- Free observation schedules like the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers
2Toys and books
My colleagues in the NHS asked what I’d like as a leaving gift, so my toy collection started with a tea set, a train set and Mr Potato Head! I bought toy animals, food and a fishing game. My parents still have toys from when my sisters and I were little so I “borrowed” soft toys and books from them.
Check the content of books, I love 'There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake' by Hazel Edwards, but in my original copy, the character gets a smack: I skip this page.
I’ve found some great bargains at charity shops and bought things to motivate particular clients. Homemade toys often go down well too, I have a giant tube decorated with sparkly paper that I made in 2008, and still get strange looks carrying it to work on the bus!
I use an iPad in therapy. I record and watch back videos in Parent Child Interaction therapy, and use a small set of speakers to boost the audio. I also use the iPad to play games such as my favourites from Toca Boca. When I made a snakes and ladders style game to work on speech sounds, I realised I didn’t have dice, so I downloaded a free dice app (I think it’s for poker!).
Lessonpix is another online resource I use to make my visuals (and bingo games!).
I already had a colour printer and scanner at home, and I use both regularly. I bought a laminator and I use it for making visual timetables and other resources.
Finally, I use Cliniko to manage my appointments, write my case notes and send invoices. I can use it on my desktop computer at home, and my phone and iPad when I’m out and about, which means I always have my client files with me.
A box of tissues is my secret weapon. I’ve finally realised that if I bring the tissues, I’m much less likely to get sneezed on!
- Practice management tips
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