The Olympics and Speech-Language Pathology

What do the Olympics and speech-language pathology have in common? Plenty, as it turns out! Those stellar Olympians flying through the air, leaping across finish lines and passing balls with miraculous grace and strength displayed unparalleled athletic skill over the past two weeks. But what the world witnessed at the Olympics was only the finished product – the end result of years of training and commitment. Of course, most Olympians have the physique and athletic aptitude that set them apart early on, but their commitment and focus propel them to being winners. In a few weeks, we will have a chance to witness the Paralympics, even more amazing given the hurdles those athletes have to overcome to cross their finish lines. Without skilled and understanding coaches, a commitment to regular practice, a positive “never give up” attitude and plenty of loving support and encouragement, they could not succeed. So it goes for those working to improve their communication skills. Whether trying to learn how to form words for the first time, overcoming a lisp or a stutter, learning how to read or write, or communicating via an augmentative communication tool, those who make progress are those who stay positive, commit to a regular schedule of intensive  practice and receive support and encouragement from many people including their speech-language pathologist and their family and friends. Communication disorders are extremely complex and difficult to overcome, but the brain is an amazing organ, amenable to change throughout the lifespan. Most people can improve their communication challenges given proper training, intensive practice, a positive attitude and plenty of support and encouragement.

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