The incoming officers of the Philippine Association of Speech Pathologists took their oath of office on December 4, 2021. The ceremony was presided by the 2021 PASP Electoral Board. In attendance were the current Board of Trustees and the outgoing officers. The PRB-SLP Chairperson, Hon. Mae Catherine Sadicon and PRB-SLP Member, Hon. Juan Paulo Santuele also graced the event.
During the event, Hon. Mae Catherine Sadicon gave a message highlighting the support of the association for the PRB-SLP. PASP’s outgoing president, Ms. Suselyn Pascual, and incoming president, Ms. Tinnah Marie Balazuela, also spoke during the event. Ms. Pascual honored her co-officers. She credited their contribution for ensuring the success of the numerous projects of the association even when faced with the many challenges that were brought about by the pandemic. Ms. Balazuela gave a glimpse of what she hopes her team will achieve as they take their turn in leading the association. Prof. Fernando Alejandro Ligot, the chair of the Board of Trustees, also gave a message; welcoming the incoming officers and honoring the outgoing officers for steering the organization during the pandemic and making sure that “PASP was business as usual.” A copy of their messages can be read here.
In closing, Ms. Barbara Munar, chair of the 2021 PASP Electoral Board, expressed her appreciation of the exemplary job that the outgoing officers did for the association and its members in the midst of a very challenging period. She also wished the incoming officers the best of luck as they take over the rein in steering the association closer towards its mission and vision of effective communication and safe swallow for all Filipinos.
The event was graciously hosted by Ms. Rozelle Francesca King-Bentulan, member of the 2021 PASP Electoral Board.
The event in pictures:The attendees of the oathtaking ceremony
The Board of Trustees and the 2022-2023 PASP Officers
Row 1, L-R: Prof. Fernando Alejandro Ligot, Prof. Judy Damian, Prof. Georgina Mojica, Ms. Suselyn Pascual, Prof. Joyce Marzan; Row 2, L-R: Mr. Iric Santos, Ms. Tinnah Marie Balazuela, Ms. Ma. Carmela Go, Ms. Bea Angela Lozada, Ms. Sheryl Sibug-Wong; Row 3, L-R: Ms. Davilin Quilantang, Ms. Julie Anne Garcia-Rimando, Mr. Jay Katalbas, Dr. Ferdiliza Garcia, Ms. Maria Carisa Lacson; Row 4, L-R: Mr. Vito Garcia, Ms. Aileen Matalog
The Board of Trustees and the 2021-2022 PASP Officers
Row 1, L-R: Mr. Iric Santos, Prof. Joyce Marzan, Ms. Kara Basmayor, Ms. Suselyn Pascual; Row 2, L-R: Ms. Camille Leyba, Ms. Tinnah Marie Balazuela, Ms. Dane Raymundo, Mr. Kenny Dizon; Row 3, L-R: Mr. Karl Jamandra, Ms. Aileen Atienza, Mr. Michael Valdez, Prof. Fernado Alejandro Ligot; Row 4, L-R: Ms. Aileen Matalog, Prof. Judy Damian, Prof. Georgina Mojica, Ms. Elinor Bautista
The 2022-2023 PASP Officers
Row 1, L-R: Mr. Iric Kevin Santos (Treasurer), Ms. Tinnah Marie Balazuela (President), Ms. Ma. Carmela Go (Membership), Ms. Bea Angela Lozada (External Affairs); Row 2, L-R: Ms. Sheryl Sibug-Wong (Finance & Special Projects), Ms. Davilin Quilantang (Legislation & Public Policy), Ms. Julie Anne Christine Garcia-Rimando (Secretary), Mr. Jonah Jerome Katalbas (Convention); Row 3, L-R: Ms. Aileen Matalog (Public Relations), Dr. Ferdiliza Dandah Garcia (Professional Standards & Ethics), Mr. Vincente Mikael Garcia (Continuing Education & Research), Ms. Maria Carisa Relova-Lacson (Vice President)
The 2020-2021 PASP Officers
Row 1, L-R: Mr. Iric Santos (Treasurer), Ms. Kara Basmayor (External Affairs), Ms. Suselyn Pascual (President), Ms. Camille Leyba (Membership); Row 2, L-R: Ms. Tinnah Marie Balazuela (Professional Standards & Ethics), Ms. Dane Raymundo (Continuing Education & Research), Mr. Kenny Dizon (Convention), Mr. Karl Jamandra (Public Relations); Row 3, L-R: Ms. Aileen Matalog (Legislation & Public Policy), Ms. Aileen Atienza (Secretary), Mr. Michael Valdez (Vice President, Finance & Special Projects)
The PASP Board of Trustees and Electoral Board with the special guests of the event
Row 1, L-R: Hon. Mae Catherine Sadicon (PRB-SLP Chairperson), Hon. Juan Paulo Santuele (PRB-SLP Member), Prof. Joyce Marzan, Ms. Barbara Munar; Row 2, L-R: Prof. Fernando Alejandro Ligot, Ms. Rozelle Francesca King-Bentulan, Prof. Judy Damian, Prof. Georgina Mojica; Row 3, L-R: Ms. Eleanor Perez with baby Ria, Ms. Aileen Lantin, Ms. Elinor Bautista
The 2021 PASP Electoral Board
Row 1, L-R: Ms. Barbara Munar, Ms. Rozelle Francesca King-Bentulan, Ms. Eleanor Perez; Row 2, L-R: Ms. Aileen Lantin, Mr. Perfecto Paolo Sison III
“When we secure the rights of people with disabilities, we are investing in our common future.”
--- António Guterres (Secretary-General of the United Nations)
About 15% of the world’s population experience disability (World Health Organization, 2021). Education, healthcare, and employment are likely to be less accessible for them. They are also likely to experience higher rates of violence, neglect, and abuse (United Nations, 2021). The COVID-19 pandemic further aggravates the inequities that limit their participation in society. As larger-scale groups continue to take initiatives such as the formulation of a Disability-Inclusive Response to COVID-19 and guidelines for practice during the pandemic, we can also do our part. How? For this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities (PWD), we echo the call of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be a disability ALLY.
We can start working towards inclusivity by understanding PWDs’ perceptions of their disabilities. Respect does not mean looking at a PWD with sympathy, oversimplifying how we talk to a person with a disability, or making unnecessary remarks such as those made by some of the people in this video. Respect for persons with disabilities is grounded in disability sensitivity (i.e., basic etiquette when interacting with PWDs) and in sincerity in treating them as equals. For instance, we can ask before extending help and we can talk directly to them rather than bypassing them. We can listen to their experiences and empathize with them. Take a look at the stories of Marites Valencia Odarbe, Jay Monterola, Winston Go, Rocel Sison, and Carlos and Friends.
Not all disabilities are visible. The term disability is defined by CDC (2020) as “any condition of the body or mind (impairment) that makes it more difficult for the person with the condition to do certain activities (activity limitation) and interact with the world around them (participation restrictions).” These limitations and restrictions may manifest in mobility, managing self-care, and establishing interpersonal relationships among others. Individuals with illnesses that are not visible such as chronic pain, chronic fatigue, and mental illness are also considered PWDs (Disabled World, 2021). Learn more about their rights here.
We all have different roles in the community, and these roles entail unique circles of influence. Our words and actions can affect the perspectives of the people around us, so why not maximize our platform to take steps towards improving the overall well-being of PWDs in our community? For example, healthcare professionals can work together with public servants to ensure that adequate policies, accessible programs, and inclusive practices in the community are in place. Business owners can provide employment opportunities for PWDs (see how PWD employment in the Philippines works here). Even social media users can advocate for accessibility and inclusion when they share awareness campaigns with their friends online.
Apart from using our roles in the community, we can also advocate alongside organizations that share the same passion for promoting the rights of PWDs. Look for initiatives that share our vision for inclusivity and accessibility and support them, whether through volunteering or contributing to their cause. These are just a few examples of projects and organizations we can look into: Tinig AAC, Operation Smile, SmileTrain, Special Achievers, and ATRIEV.
In our pursuit of a disability-inclusive and accessible post-COVID world, the active involvement of PWDs is vital. When we conceptualize advocacy initiatives for disability responsiveness, it is best to include them in the process. We can consult them about their community’s needs and ways to increase disability inclusion because they directly experience the barriers we are trying to identify and eliminate. ATRIEV hosting disability sensitivity workshops for the general public, Brina Maxino appealing to world leaders for education rights of PWDs, and Ana Kristina Arce inspiring the younger generation of the Deaf community to hone their research skills for advocacy—are only a few examples of how PWDs can effectively lead and self-advocate.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Become a Disability A.L.L.Y. in Your Community and Promote Inclusion for All. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/humandevelopment/become-a-disability-ALLY.html
Disabled World. (2021). Invisible Disabilities: List and General Information. https://www.disabled-world.com/disability/types/invisible/
United Nations. (2021). COVID-19 Outbreak and Persons with Disabilities. https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/covid-19.html
The Logo of SLPs in Action and GW Food Drive
The COVID-19 pandemic has put everything to a halt: face-to-face classes, office work, in-person speech therapy sessions, and even programs that were aimed at helping families in need. Despite the physical limitations brought about by the pandemic and the measures to contain it, seven bold Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) saw this as an inspiration to move past the barriers and help those who are heavily affected or mostly in need. With this, the initiative called “SLPs in Action '' was born. The writers were able to have an interview with one of the founders of SLPs in Action, Ms. Wingmay Yves Alegado, CSP-PASP.
SLPs in Action is an online initiative that aims to provide online consultation, evaluation, screening, assessments, speech teletherapy sessions and home programs for people with speech, language, and swallowing difficulties across the lifespan. This project is led by Filipino SLPs composed of the University of Santo Tomas alumni Ms. Wingmay, Ms. Anna Patricia Talavera, CSP-PASP, Mr. Emanuele Virgil Fernando, CSP-PASP, Ms. Darla Zhana Manalo, CSP-PASP, Ms. Nathalie Andre Galang, CSP-PASP and Ms. Samantha Foja, CSP-PASP, and a University of the Philippines alumna, Ms. Katrina Claire Marcaida, CSP-PASP. Apart from providing therapy services online, they were also able to collaborate with GW Food Drive which aimed to provide meals, grocery packs, and hygiene kits, to those affected by calamities as well as the less fortunate.
From left to right: Mr. Emanuele Fernando, Ms. Wingmay Alegado, Ms. Anna Talavera, Ms. Samantha Foja, Ms. Darla Manalo, and Nathalie Galang during the zoom meeting where SLPs in Action was conceptualized.
It all started with a casual Zoom meet up. Seeing the news about the pandemic and how it affected disadvantaged people, the group decided that they wanted to help. Initially, the team asked “paano tayo tutulong” (how can we help [others]?) and “ano ang pwede nating gawin” (What can we do [about the situation?])as they were faced with logistical concerns.Recognizing that providing in-person services is not a viable option, the group then realized that they can extend help to people who are in need through virtual means.
From this idea, they decided to create SLPs in Action, which formally launched its services on September 7, 2020. The group of SLPs started social media pages on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to serve as an avenue for individuals, groups or families who might be interested in availing their services.
Idea Into Action
In order for the organization to run smoothly, the founders delegated tasks among themselves. For social media management and handling of inquiries, the people assigned are Sam Foja, Lian Galang, and Darla Manalo. On the other hand, Eman Fernando is the one responsible for the publication materials. Anna Talavera and Katrina Marcaida are the heads in service provision, while Ms. Wingmay is the one in-charge of the fund management.
A therapy session in SLPs in Action
The SLPs have one-on-one discussions with inquiring parents to know more about the complaint, and answer questions they have regarding their child’s skills and diagnosis. Clients who inquire in SLPs in Action and avail free consultations include those families who live in provinces, and those who have children with ages 2 to 6 years old. Some families who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic also express interest in SLPs in Action as they cannot afford paid consultations with a specialist.
All interested clients reach out to the SLPs via Facebook Messenger where they are asked to fill out a confidential patient form with their concerns and availability for consultation. After checking when the client and speech therapist are both available, the schedule is reserved for them on their corresponding appointment date.
Another key aspect of SLPs in Action is on building awareness of the profession. From the second day that the pages of SLPs in Action were made public, inquiries from potential clients already came in. Until now, inquiries regarding speech delays of children, milestones of what to expect in speech and language development, and recommendations for home activities that will provide speech and language stimulation are being raised. With this, the founders of SLPs in Action realized that there are still a high number of people who are not aware of the profession as well as the services SLPs offer that could help people with communication and swallowing problems. They saw the importance of promoting awareness, educating people, and sharing reliable information about speech and language concepts, which is evident in their current social media platforms.
The team continually advocates for the profession by posting and sharing relevant and reliable information regarding different SLP concepts such as teaching prelinguistic communication skills at home, tips for good vocal hygiene, techniques in communicating with a person with aphasia, and OWLing (Observe, Wait, and Listen). Moreover, they try to provide facts against the misconceptions that lay people have with regards to speech, language, and swallowing conditions. The UP-UST initiative even considers their free consultations as advocacy activities because they can better explain the conditions to concerned parents and/or caregivers. They aim for “individualized” recommendations to the different difficulties that the clients present so that they could best address his/her needs.
The team behind SLPs in Action began with the next phases of their initiative, which is to provide food and grocery packs to indigent Filipinos. Since they will be giving financial support consistently, they wanted to know that their donations will really reach their target audience; the group suggested choosing a group or organization that is associated with an SLP that is within their circle of friends. They asked around their group of friends and decided based on their choices. Given that Ms. Wingmay is the head of a non-profit initiative called the “GW Food Drive'', they decided to collaborate with this organization.
Ms Wingmay collects the funds on a bi-monthly (twice a month) basis and donate a percentage of the services’ rates to GW Food Drive. They usually give donations in-cash and ask GW Food Drive to inform them on where the given resources will be used; specifically, the SLPs ask for updates, information about the current project, beneficiaries, date, breakdown, etc.
GW Food Drive projects and their beneficiaries
“God’s Work,” or simply GW, is composed of compassionate and dedicated volunteers all over the Philippines who are dedicated to “help less fortunate Filipinos during the COVID-19 pandemic through meal distribution & community engagement.” GW was decided by the team due to the drive's pioneers and founders, Jan Gabriel Bulaong and Ms. Wingmay. The drive provides meals, grocery packs and clothes to different charities, orphanages, homes for the aged and areas affected by calamities. Those who are in need of help, regardless of their location in the Philippines, message GW Food Drive for support, and are immediately assisted by the drive’s volunteers. A portion of the funds collected in SLPs in action are donated to GW Food Drive.
Since the drive’s conception, they have helped different organizations such as Bahay Aruga, a place that houses children with cancer who are waiting for treatment, Little Sister’s Home for the Aged, Home for the Angels, an orphanage home for abandoned babies, and many more. It is the heart of the founders of SLPs in Action to provide a part of their income to the GW Food Drive. Because of this, the SLP initiative is a consistent collaborator with the said drive, along with different businesses who also aim to help those in need. Some notable collaborations include: Skin potions, San Beda, and Mr. and Ms. Chinatown. These team ups have helped different groups of people from Jeepney Drivers who lost their jobs due to the pandemic restrictions, children from Tacloban, to typhoon victims from Cagayan and Isabela. To ensure transparency to the said companies and groups who donated, Ms. Wingmay and her GW Team send the breakdown of the expenses to show that they are using the money for its intended purpose.
Trials and Triumphs
“The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” This was true for Ms. Wingmay and her group of SLPs and volunteers when they were passionately running the two projects. One memorable experience for Ms. Wingmay, is the first outreach program of GW Food Drive in July 2020 with Josefheim Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides shelter to the poor, sick and elderly. She and the other volunteers spent their afternoon in that foundation. During the donation drive, she noticed that there was limited engagement from the other volunteers with the elderly beneficiaries. Recognizing this, Ms. Wingmay immediately gave a “semi-training” on techniques such as chunking and wait time. It was through this realization and recognition of her role as an SLP advocate that the volunteers and beneficiaries were able to interact and connect with one another.
Another experience that Ms. Wingmay described as the “most challenging yet memorable event” was a relief-operation/ project they did last November. During the last quarter of 2020, Typhoons affected areas including Marikina, Isabela, Cagayan, and Albay. Despite having meager resources, she and her team decided to form Operation Ahon, An initiative to help areas affected by the typhoons by delivering food and water. Despite having the donations and beneficiaries to help, they lacked manpower to deliver these goods to the different people. Overwhelmed with the experience, she prayed and communicated her concern with SLPs in action and GW Food Drive. From there, her team members and herself were able to contact different people - from highschool friends, to relatives, and acquaintances - in the affected areas. Soon enough, everything fell into place. In just a span of 2 weeks, they were able to distribute 100 food packs in Albay, 500 food packs in Isabela, 200 food packs in Marikina and boxes of water bottles to areas that did not have access to clean water during those times. It still amazes Ms. Wingmay how this was all accomplished through connection and collaboration with the team members, partners, and volunteers.
The external and internal impact
With the extensive reach that SLPs in action and GW Food Drive have in their almost two years of operations, there is no doubt that their programs have made an impact on the people that are involved in these initiatives - whether it is their partners, the online space or the founders themselves.
Ms.Wingmay witnessed the effect of their initiatives as they were able to see the gratitude of the beneficiaries towards her and her team of volunteers, as well as their demeanor of relief upon receiving donations. These beneficiaries would also make the most out of the donated goods by making something new out of what they are given to sustain their livelihood. For Ms.Wingmay, the impact was made, not only because the organizations provided for their beneficiaries’ basic needs, but also because they reached out to the people and engaged with them. Another proof of the impact they have made was the lasting memory that their beneficiaries have of them - they will always be remembered as the group who went out of their way to help others. Moreover, Ms. Wingmay also observed that groups that they have helped also began to have subprograms that aimed to help others as well, or they would share the excess of the donations to those who are in need. For Ms.Wingmay, this is by far, the most beautiful impact that their initiatives made externally.
The two projects also gave Ms. Wingmay different insights about being a person and an SLP. As an individual, she realized that kindness really goes a long way - no pandemic, lockdown, or restrictions can hinder the kindness that people have towards others. She mentioned that when individuals have kindness within themselves, everything and anything is possible, no matter how young a person is, or where they are in the world.
As an SLP, on the other hand, the two initiatives helped her keep in mind that helping people does not have to be within the scopes of speech and language. Different professionals can go beyond their area of expertise and still make an impact in the lives of others. With this, she became more determined to continue helping others through these initiatives.
The future for SLPs in Action and GW Food Drive
A Zoom interview with Ms. Wingmay Alegado last November 13,2021 with UST Advocacy Interns Johanna Mariano and Martina Soriano (clockwise, starting from the upper left)
When asked about their future plans for SLPs in Action, Ms.Wingmay shared that they will still continue to provide SLP services to the public, as well as providing free consultation, evaluations, teletherapy sessions, and home programs. Aside from this, they will raise awareness to the SLP profession even further. In Ms. Wingmay’s words, they would like to “use SLPs in action as an instrument to inform the people when to consult SLPs, (to address) misconceptions about the different Speech, Language, and Swallowing conditions'', and to encourage people to consult SLPs should concerns arise.
For GW Food Drive, on the other hand, Ms.Wingmay is hopeful that they will still be able to help Filipinos in need but she and her team aim to provide more consistent programs to their beneficiaries. They are planning to promote sustainability by creating programs that can help with their target foundations’ livelihood, such as gardening activities, that will later on establish the foundations’ food security. Moreover, they still desire to expand their reach to more areas in the Philippines.
“Even as an SLP, you can still be a helping hand to those in need (by) participating with these kinds of organizations or with these kinds of pages. You can cater your own service, your own skills, as an SLP but at the same time (donate) to those in need." - Ms. Wingmay Alegado
Gratefulness exudes from Ms. Wingmay as she desires to give thanks to their beneficiaries. She wants to thank them for having an open heart in welcoming her and her team, and for teaching them lessons and values that they would never learn in books - these are lessons that she will treasure forever.
Ms. Wingmay and her team of SLPs and volunteers spread the message that with whatever skills, profession, and resources we have, we can make a difference. No barrier is too high or difficult to overcome for those who have kindness, compassion, and determination to be able to uplift and empower others. For those who are willing to join the initiatives, you may contact SLPs in Action and GW Food Drive through their Instagram and Facebook accounts.
The AAC SIG, the first special interest group of the association, releases the first issue of the AAC SIG Newsletter in time for the celebration of AAC Awareness Month. The newsletter will be published biannually. It will feature the activities and plans of the SIG, as well as news about relevant professional development or advocacy activities outside the SIG.
The current officers of the SIG, Ms. Barbara Munar (head), Mr. Jeremiah James Pinca (assistant head), and Mr. Alrenzo Ludwig Domingo (secretary) together with Ms. Ellyn Cassey Chua acted as members of the editorial board of this first issue.
The AAC SIG is also looking for volunteers to help in its upcoming projects. The link to the volunteer sign-up form can be found in this issue.
You may download the newsletter here: AAC SIG Newsletter, Vol. 1, Issue 1, Oct. 2021.
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
Speech-language pathology remains a developing profession in the Philippines. It is undeniable that there are several aspects that need to be further explored and understood. After all, the contextualization of practice is critical for individualized and holistic service delivery. At present, there exist hurdles that pose challenges to the profession, but the officers do not view these as hindrances. Rather, they regard such barriers as a catalyst or a springboard for growth and success. Certainly, the aspirations of the officers for the organization and the profession hold great promise in advancing the current SLP practice in the country. What are the issues and concerns uppermost in the minds of our incoming officers?
The limited presence of SLPs in certain settings, such as in schools, hospitals, and remote areas.
TM Balazuela contrasted the educational model with the medical model of service delivery. In the US and China, where she has worked as a school-based SLP, their utilization of the educational model paved the way for intervention goals to be aligned with the core curriculum of the child’s school. In this manner, targeting language and literacy skills was always framed within the context of education. This allowed SLP screening and management to be provided earlier in the schools. The educational environment gives the SLP an opportunity to view children in varied situations, such as in their interactions with classmates and during extracurricular events, which are often not observed in the clinic setting. The medical model employed in the Philippines generally involves waiting for the physician’s assessment before a client is referred to an SLP. Also, clients attain services by going to hospitals and clinics, not schools. However, in spite of the benefits offered by the educational model, implementing this in the Philippines will be challenging. TM advocates for the integration of the educational model, as this allows clinicians to see the child more holistically, rather than centering on their disability.
Aileen Matalog, on the other hand, shared her passion for working in a hospital-based setting. She stated that she personally feels and knows that Filipinos need SLPs in the hospitals, especially for the adult and geriatric practice. This is increasingly relevant given the increasing median age of the Philippine population; more aging Filipinos will need our services. Only a small number of SLPs cater to medical conditions such as stroke, head and neck cancer, kidney failure, chronic heart diseases, and dementia. The clinicians who do work with these populations are generally clustered in Metro Manila. To address this, she strives to encourage practitioners to work in their local communities, so that services can be accessed not only in the hospitals but at the barangay level and in primary healthcare units. Guiding the community will help the members to become more empowered and independent in carrying out basic screening and management approaches. In areas wherein SLPs are not available, Aileen contemplates the possibility of SLPs educating other professionals who are typically greater in number to administer some assessment and intervention practices.
Similarly, Bea Lozada discussed the barriers to accessing services, particularly the lack of SLPs in areas outside of NCR and its neighboring regions, such as in provincial communities. Free online therapy projects (i.e., virtual TheraFree) can be explored to reach clients amidst the pandemic.
The fundamental role of the client’s family in intervention.
Julie Garcia-Rimando talked about her interest in the beliefs of different Filipino cultures with regard to learning language. Certain pamahiin (superstitions) among families that particular practices hinder language development may contradict with the clinical knowledge of therapists. Nonetheless, these traditional notions should be acknowledged and respected, rather than dismissed because perspectives of families are critical in the intervention process. The clinician and caregivers should aim to communicate openly with one another to meet halfway, always prioritizing the welfare of the child.
Carmela Castillo-Go highlighted how family dynamics are pivotal to successful therapy. Looking into patterns, interactions, and roles of relatives provides the clinician with a more comprehensive view of the client. Maximizing family coaching and involvement results in intervention approaches being more readily and consistently carried over at home. Carmela points out that SLPs do not usually spend only one year with the child, but become lifelong partners with their family. In addition, Carmela spoke about connecting SLPs through establishing or strengthening chapters per province (e.g., Batangas, Pampanga, Baguio, etc) so that therapists have support in their geographic area.
Caysa Relova-Lacson mentioned early intervention as an area that she regards highly. In her 25 years of practice, she has several clients whom she met as toddlers and who are now thriving in their respective college universities or areas of employment. She also recognizes that financial capability is a hindrance in accessing SLP services in the Philippines. There are families - and they are not few - who have had to discontinue their participation in therapy due to financial constraints.
The SLP Law and the future direction of PASP
The enactment into law of RA 11249 (the Speech Language Pathology Act of 2019, or what is often called the SLP Law) has served as a catalyst for PASP to work towards becoming the accredited integrated professional organization (AIPO) which will strengthen the organization’s legal authority and credibility. The regulation of practice through the SLP Law serves to protect the profession, its members, and the clients and their families) from the pseudo-therapists who continue to pose risks against the profession and its stakeholders. Furthermore, Jay Katalbas pointed out that the existence of licensure within the profession will strengthen and reinforce the credibility of SLPs as professionals who manage communication and swallowing.
Iric Santos and Dav Quilantang talked about the need to heighten membership engagement (i.e., involvement in projects). At present, there are SLPs in the Philippines who are not members of the organization. It is Iric’s aspiration that PASP be seen as an organization that is beneficial to individual clinical practice, because it makes seminars or continuing education available, but also because practitioners recognize PASP as a community and an avenue that fosters collaboration and growth.
Like Aileen Matalog, Iric looks forward to the development of SIGs; he sees the SIGs as a venue for SLPs who specialize in the same area to interact, discuss, and develop research projects specific to that area. He believes that empowering SIGs will be beneficial for the profession, as it will advance specific areas of practice. Dav likewise recognizes the need to provide more opportunities for research. She also feels that increasing the employment of SLPs in government institutions is pivotal. Raising the salary grade of clinicians in government hospitals (possible once the licensure process is implemented by the Professional Regulatory Board of Speech Language Pathology or PRB-SPL) can motivate more practitioners to work in this setting. Jay stated similar beliefs and specified the need for the generation of localized research. He recognizes that current norms exist (e.g., consonant acquisition norms), but they may not be applicable to the entire population; research to develop norms for the Filipino population is needed. After all, the profession should specifically aspire to serve the Filipino people.
The varying roles of SLPs for particular clientele and situations.
Vito Garcia raised an interesting point for discussion regarding the relationship between SLPs and the deaf population. He explained that SLPs have an established role and objective when providing aural habilitation. However, those objectives may not apply within the deaf community. This creates a point of interrogation and re-evaluation — what is our role as professionals who engage with the deaf community? This perspective can also be applied with other clientele. There is a need to consider and question whether our management is based on preconceived ideas of how the client should function within society. Ferdz Garcia talked about her experience regarding the role of SLPs in disaster risk reduction and management in low resource settings, improvement of accessibility in low resource areas wherein SLP services are not available, and advocating and lobbying for programs and policies among private and public institutions in the country. All of these strengthened her advocacy of and passion for inclusive development, especially with regard to excluded populations who may be at risk for communication and swallowing disorders such as women, children, older people, and indigenous people. She recognized the need to promote communication for participation at all ages and for all communities because the end-goal of SLP support and service provision should always be societal participation and integration. Swallowing must also be valued because in our culture meals and mealtimes are a center point for socialization; a decreased ability to swallow decreases not only nutrition but also social participation.
Ultimately, all the officers’ unique insights and visions for the SLP practice in the Philippines are worth exploring. The consolidation of their diversities—the differences in their personal values, advocacies, and goals—and alignment of these principles with PASP’s primary purpose will be vital to the advancement of the Speech Pathology discipline, profession, and services in the Philippines not just for practitioners, but for the individuals that these clinicians serve as well.
It seems only yesterday that the candidates for the Philippine Association of Speech Pathologists (PASP) 2022-2023 Officers Election were introduced to the public. As they take the center stage, their responses to a series of questions put a spotlight on their character, their values, and most especially, their purpose. The voting ensued from the 20th to the 25th of September. After a long wait, on September 27, 2021, a new batch of officers was announced. As there are only a few more pages left before the next chapter for PASP begins, the time has come for the 12 newly elected officers to come forward and bring into reality the vision for effective communication and safe swallow for all Filipinos.
To start off, the officers have shared how it feels to be chosen to hold a position in the organization. There were mixed emotions noted from the new line-up of officers. For some, winning the elections was not something that they expected. Iric Santos expressed that being nominated alone, especially given this roster, is already a privilege. Similarly, Bea Lozada said that she was surprised as most of the officers are her seniors. Additionally, a few considered winning as a thrilling experience. Ma. Carisa “Caysa” Relova-Lacson stated that she is excited about this new chapter in her life. Similarly, Vicente Mikael “Vito” Garcia said that he is happy and excited to be elected. Generally, all of them perceived being part of this new line-up as something to be elated about. Despite the initial astonishment and uncertainties that the members faced, they recognized that each member will play a role in working toward the betterment of the organization.
Moreover, the officers have expressed their excitement regarding the coming year. In particular, all the officers shared that they are looking forward to working with new people, in creating meaningful projects and innovative solutions to issues concerning the practice together. Likewise, they are hoping to learn from the insights and advocacies of one another, in order to broaden their own understanding of varied Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) related topics.
Both Iric Santos and Julie Garcia-Rimando shared that they are keen to see the strengths and skills of each officer. Iric is looking forward to identifying and contributing to the main thrust — the purpose of service — of this set of officers. He is interested to see how he, alongside his colleagues, will formulate appropriate and effective strategies to address the different challenges they will encounter during their term. Julie is looking forward to forming meaningful and long-term bonds with the officers. She is eager to hear the diverse perspectives and visions of her colleagues.
Carmela Castillo Go and Caysa Relova-Lacson spoke about their excitement for project planning. Carmela aims to devise programs that will be relevant to the needs of new SLPs; she is intent on learning from the experiences of clinicians from all walks of life, primarily those of the younger generations. Caysa relayed that she anticipates raising her advocacies to the national level. She mentioned information dissemination about the profession as one of her advocacies. This includes amplifying the organization’s social media presence, which is relevant to the current technological trends and resources. It is also adaptive considering that technology and virtuality are highly integrated into the lives of the Filipinos.
Aileen Matalog had a unique take on the endeavors that she is most excited about. She is eager to foster the development of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) focusing on dysphagia or adult practice in general. She is hoping that more SLPs will be involved in the hospital setting since the majority of SLPs work in therapy clinics or private practice. The dearth of hospital-based SLPs has led to the reduced access to needed services for patients in the hospital. The lack of therapists specializing in voice, dysphagia, and cognitive-communication disorders (e.g., aphasia) is acutely felt. With the rising cases of COVID-19 patients, SLPs play an important role in assessing and managing the consequences of the virus on communication and swallowing. Definitely, the multitude of plans that the officers have in store for the advancement of PASP and the SLP practice drives them to welcome the new year with diligence and enthusiasm.
Cooperation is undeniably critical to an organization’s growth and success. “Cooperation begins with oneself” is a theme that is prominent among the responses of the officers — to cooperate, after all, is a self-initiative that requires commitment and attitude. The officers’ responses highlighted the value that they place on the importance of cooperation within the organization. It fosters a dynamic wherein the members’ strengths are maximized; it creates an environment wherein each members’ contribution is recognized and deemed as vital to the realization of the organization’s goals.
Ferdiliza “Ferdz'' Garcia, Bea Lozada, and Jonah Jerome “Jay” Katalbas expressed similar ideas regarding the importance of communication, openness, and humility for cooperation to take concrete shape. This includes the willingness to listen and to acknowledge the ideas of others. Jay Katalbas encapsulated this by highlighting the need to communicate “professionally, effectively, and with respect.” Equal regard and importance must be placed upon the ideas of every member; this promotes cooperation, as it entails that decisions are developed with insights and perspectives from various officers. Meanwhile, Davilin “Dav” Quilantang along with Vito Garcia both recognize the importance of being goal-driven and being guided by an objective to achieve success within the organization. Dav Quilantang adds that she is confident that each elected officer will contribute and fulfill their duties. Because in spite of their diverse backgrounds, she believes that all of them seek the protection and advancement of the profession, and such commonality is a springboard for cooperation.
In addition to the attitudes mentioned above, Iric and Carmela also view the relationship among the officers as a defining point of success. One of the foundations for cooperation is the awareness and understanding that the organization is a united collective that pursues and aspires to realize the same goals. Carmela reiterates that building “relationships deeper than being an officer” is substantial for teamwork and cooperation. Cooperation strengthens communication and relationships. The unity within an organization constructs a synergy through which individual fulfillments and organizational achievements are amplified. There is a greater sense of accomplishment when success and progress occur in the context of a collective.
The new set of PASP officers will be serving the organization for the next two years. They will take on central roles and perform duties in pursuit of the organization's vision and mission. They will head the development of activities and projects for its members, the SLP clientele, the families of clientele, and the general public. Indeed, there will be challenges ahead of these officers. The advent of unprecedented events such as the COVID-19 pandemic has posed organizational administration and management barriers including restrictions in movement and real-life interactions. However, having their common goal in mind and establishing effective communication systems among themselves will help them formulate innovative and adaptive solutions in order to overcome these challenges.
For 35 years, Super Duper Publications has been providing educational resources for a diverse range of audiences—school teachers, therapists, parents, and students—from all over the world. Co-founded in 1986 by Sharon Webber, a speech-language pathologist (SLP), it is a company that strives to create materials that are relevant for the SLP clientele such as children with special needs. They offer printed and digital materials, which are useful for various areas of communication such as articulation, augmentative and alternative communication, language, and social behavior. Super Duper Publications offers services congruent with the needs of SLPs, the major stakeholders of the Philippine Association of Speech Pathologists (PASP). Thus, perhaps we can say a collaboration between PASP and Super Duper Publications has always been a matter of when and not if.
The collaboration was prompted by the social media interaction of Super Duper Publications with one of PASP’s Facebook posts. This post, published last July 19, 2021, was an announcement about the organization’s most recent convention, Emerging Together. The organization viewed this as an opportunity to form a new partnership. With this, Kenneth Dizon, PASP’s Chairperson for Convention, reached out to Super Duper Publications on Facebook. This started the line of communication with Colleen McGrath, the Sales and Marketing Coordinator of Super Duper Publications. Other PASP officers involved in this collaboration include Mike Valdez and Susie Pascual, who were both present in the meeting with Super Duper Publications last August 20, 2021. Outcomes of the collaboration were the discount code given to PASP members and a free two-week trial of Super Duper’s Digital Library (i.e., September 25, 2021 to October 9, 2021).
PASP’s collaboration with Super Duper Publications aims to address Filipino SLPs’ access to therapy materials. Even before the pandemic, the products of Super Duper Publications were already being widely used by SLPs across the country. SLPs who engage in private clinical practice make use of these resources to provide services to their clientele. Although the materials are not contextualized to the Filipino population, they can be useful for developing the speech and language skills of children, including building of vocabulary concepts and improvement of comprehension. With the COVID-19 pandemic, telepractice has become a standard model of service delivery to safeguard the health of SLP practitioners and their clients. The consequent demand for accessible assessment and therapy materials increased, heightening the importance of the products made by companies such as Super Duper Publications. The collaboration between PASP and Super Duper Publications came at a perfect time, as the access to quality materials from Super Duper’s digital library may benefit both SLPs engaged in telepractice and those who have begun providing in-person therapy services.
PASP officers were delighted to work with Super Duper Publications. Their initial discussion with the organization made the officers realize the many possibilities that the partnership may bring, including how Super Duper could be tapped for PASP’s future projects. Mike Valdez asked if Super Duper Publications engaged in similar collaborations with other national organizations in order to gain insights regarding mutual obligations that each end could potentially fulfill. Both organizations share the same passion for providing for the needs of SLP practitioners and clients. While Super Duper Publications fulfills its mandate by developing educational and therapy materials for children with speech and language delays, developmental or learning disabilities, and autism, PASP realizes its vision by ensuring the quality of SLP services and enhancing the excellence and professional responsibility of SLPs in the Philippines. In general, as a PASP officer, Mike Valdez described the dealings with Super Duper Publications as a pleasant experience as they would initiate conversations, check up on the organization, and would offer help if it is needed.
Support from Super Duper for various PASP events and activities can draw PASP members to engage more in the organization’s projects and programs. According to Mike Valdez, the conversation with Super Duper included exploring the possibility of contextualizing assessment and therapy materials for Filipino clients. This involves the creation of resources that are based on Filipino norms, experiences, languages, and culture, allowing SLP practitioners to better provide effective services, addressing needs that are uniquely Filipino. The contextualized service delivery leads to the development of speech and language that is more meaningful, relevant, and useful in the various environments where Filipino clients live and the interactions in which they participate.
Collaborations between organizations are crucial as they propel the formation of linkages and networks. PASP should always connect and interact with its stakeholders, says Valdez. PASP’s partnership with Super Duper Publications is an important step in developing a continuing relationship. Other organizations such as Operation Smile, Smile Train, and Gruppo Hearing all reach out to PASP for manpower during their projects since they cater to populations that SLPs work with. Reciprocally, they support and sponsor projects, events, and conventions mobilized and established by PASP. Maintaining these linkages fosters a mutual awareness of one another’s needs and opens up points for collaboration. One such collaboration could be the development of Filipino-centric or Southeast Asia-specific materials with Super Duper Publications.
Moving forward, PASP plans to coordinate collaborations that aim to address the needs of SLPs, particularly in the context of teletherapy. As services are, at present, mainly provided through virtual means, Boom Cards and other companies that Filipino SLPs access or use could be further explored. Similarly, PASP could look into small businesses owned by local creators, SLPs, or educators. This could give them opportunities to promote their services and establish their name in the field.
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