Blowing Babbles is a team of four Filipina Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) who share the same passion for creating therapy materials: Jacy Alfaro, Ina Caramoan, Nicole Pingol, and Indiana Ramos. As a passion project launched last July 2020, Blowing Babbles aims to (1) create innovative therapy materials for the benefit of parents, therapists, and teachers, (2) advocate for SLP clients through awareness-raising initiatives, (3) form partnerships with local artists for the creation of physical and digital products, and (4) support other local SLP ventures.
Guided by their team’s purpose, Blowing Babbles develops relevant and useful therapy materials, including Boom Cards and digital worksheets. Visit them at their Facebook and Instagram pages, or their Teachers Pay Teachers and individual Boom Learning stores.
The Founding Roots
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a change in the service delivery of SLPs as clinicians transitioned to utilizing teletherapy since face-to-face sessions were put to a halt. In July of that year, Indy approached her university batchmates – Jacy, Ina, and Nicole – who were individually designing Boom Cards for their respective clients. She presented a proposal to them detailing the potential projects, roles, and objectives of a new endeavor. Not long after, the planning for the Blowing Babbles commenced.
All were eager to be part of this collaboration in the pursuit of serving clients. For Nicole, the venture was one way to reach a larger audience, as each of the clinicians had a significant number of followers on their accounts. Ina believed that starting this undertaking as a group paved the way for varied insights and contributions when crafting and marketing products. Jacy talked about how this pursuit would open doors for collaborating with other SLPs, artists, and other allied health professionals. Blowing Babbles would be an avenue to spread awareness about the SLP field in the country. The clinicians were ready to brave the adversities of establishing Blowing Babbles amidst the pandemic, driven by their unified aim to better help the Filipino patient.
During the early stages of the project, Ina and Jacy took care of financial matters. Indy and Nicole created publication materials to be posted on different social media platforms. As Blowing Babbles grew, the delegation of duties became more flexible. Generally, the four help one another with whatever needs doing. The trust and rapport they now have with each other allows them to freely express their concerns or need for assistance. We see in Blowing Babbles the vitality of open communication and team synergy that leads to successful management of their operations.
A Step Further: Turning Visions into Actions
The four manage Blowing Babbles together, but design and develop materials individually Each therapist releases products depending on their needs and availability. Distribution dates are variable. This flexibility decreases stressors due to deadlines. A Boom card created by a member is shared to the group with a library consisting of everyone’s work. They collaborate by leaving comments, reviewing details (e.g., grammar, layout), and making consequent changes to a Boom card or deck accordingly. They value the moral support that comes from this working pattern.
The goal, the interface, the price point, and the relevance are main factors the team considers. Before joining forces, all four were already creating Boom cards to meet specific needs of their clients. The goals they want their clients to achieve has been the primary foundation of their materials. Then comes the overall layout. How every element is presented (colors, aptness of tasks, kinds of clipart, etc) has an impact on both the clinician and the client. The appropriateness and convenience of the interface, then, proves to be vital. The team also examines and compares their Boom cards to other products from various online marketplaces (e.g., Boom Library, Teachers Pay Teachers) to gauge the price range for materials targeting similar goals. They also consider whether this particular product should be released free of charge or for a fee.
Blowing Babbles has collaborated with other Filipino teacher-authors for the BOOM CARDS FOR A CAUSE (#BoomCardsForACausePH) project held last November 2020, raising funds by selling Boom decks and donating the proceeds to the victims of typhoons Rolly and Ulysses. They also participated in the Independence Day Giftaway held last June 2021 which aimed to increase public awareness of Filipino Boom Learning Creators in the country.
In addition, Blowing Babbles disseminates information about the field to their Facebook and Instagram followers by sharing relevant publication materials and infographics. Ina’s advice for aspiring SLP creators is to communicate with others who pursued the same line of work. There is a Facebook Page for Filipino Boom Card Sellers who organize philanthropic events and fundraisers. Opportunities to help other people are many.
Their journey with Blowing Babbles has been an insightful and interesting experience. The initiative has built its roots during the pandemic which is undeniably a difficult time for everyone. However, the four found a reprieve with Blowing Babbles. As Indy says, “During difficult times, there’s this” because Blowing Babbles gave her something to look forward to. Moreover, it provided them with an opportunity to reconnect with each other. In that period of uncertainty, they underwent another adjustment ー teletherapy. Nonetheless, amidst all the challenges, they found companionship, forming a bond that reminds each of them that they are not alone. In the face of adversities, such connections keep us going. Blowing Babbles became their silver lining.
Blowing Babbles is more than just a project for these four speech-language pathologists. Nicole sees their journey as a learning opportunity and experience. The creation of materials brings her to conduct a deeper task analysis, needed for identifying the goals that she can target using what she creates. Jacy points out that Blowing Babbles is a conducive environment for growth. Blowing Babbles has strengthened their friendship and provided them with means to grow as clinicians together. Their familiarity with one another certainly helped Ina describe the dynamics between them as light and easy with no need to work on building rapport.
Jacy says that being part of the Community of Filipino Boom Card Sellers on Facebook and Boom Learning communities is ideal. The Boom Learning community is itself interactive and reassuring; participants voice their concerns and the operators reply to them and respond to their needs. Blowing Babbles has allowed the team to foster a greater awareness of the speech-language pathology profession. People message them to learn more about SLP, and they are able to talk about the profession and the services that SLPs provide.
The experiences of Ina, Indy, Jacy, and Nicole show how this joint venture opened doors for them to collaborate and contribute to the profession in ways outside of the usual clinical setting. The path they took did not come without challenges, but the challenges could always be overcome. The four of them were able to build a bridge between vision and reality, and this allowed them to apply their talents to contribute to and advance the SLP profession.
Paving the Way: To Grow and To Inspire
What is in store for Blowing Babbles? First, they plan to continue creating teletherapy materials for the various communities they cater to. Nicole stated that introducing new materials would increase client engagement with the activities. Jacy stated their aims to create more relevant and useful content and to explore other mediums such as home delivery of physical materials. Second, they aspire to utilize their social media accounts to spread awareness about the profession. They believe that SLPs should not only advocate for their clients, but for themselves as well. Last, they wish to act as a bridge that connects caregivers or families to SLPs that could provide them with either face-to-face or teletherapy services.
The founders imparted a message to SLPs who are planning to venture into the field of material creation. Nicole and Jacy view material creation as a means for better service delivery, as they perceive that creating materials that are tailor fit to their clients yields beneficial outcomes such as higher engagement. There is also a sense of fulfillment in knowing that the clients enjoy the materials presented to them. Moreover, Nicole proposes the utilization of other talents or skills, as they can be beneficial in the SLP practice. Entering the field of material creation will serve as an avenue to help other SLPs, occupational therapists, parents, and clients all over the world.
Speech-language pathologists have an extensive reach and a diversity of potential paths that they could take within the profession, and this is a fact that should not be overlooked but instead maximized. Our unique endeavors should not be isolated from the profession, and what must be attempted instead is a convergence. These talents could be utilized to further our purpose as SLPs which is to contribute to the betterment of the SLP clientele as well as the SLP profession.
Ana Sophia F. David, Maria Blanquita M. Salvador, Regina Ariane DR Tayag, Kristine A. Villena