Communication beyond the academic setting

February 3, 2014 BY Kira Wright, CCC-SLP

Happy February! This month in which we experience the Superbowl, Groundhog’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Presidents’ Day, *and* the Olympics certainly has no shortage of real life topics for us to use in bringing “speech and communication” into the real world. However, sometimes I lose sight of the big life-changing, and potentially very personal, events that depend on communication skills, and the people in our community that support communication outside of the schools. Our broadest goal for students, after all, is that they will be valuable participants in society.  Last week, I came across two examples of organizations supporting communication in our community. They remind me of the universality of our field and the great opportunities to network with others passionate about communication. 

Domestic Violence Safe Dialog is a local non-profit facilitating dialog between domestic violence survivors and offenders (from unrelated incidents) in the ultimate exercise on perspective. Through a one-time, therapist-supported protocol, the program strives to bring healing, growth, and safety to participants. A recent post on their blog reinforces for me the importance of teaching communication through problem-solving skills in classrooms, playgrounds, and speech rooms. 

Healing Hurt People is a Portland organization serving young males of color, designed to reduce retaliatory violence among gang members. The public radio feature story that aired this week discussed the “golden moment”, the period of time, often within hours of being hurt, when a gang member is most open to making a change. Counselors at Legacy Emmanuel Medical Center are finding the moments when their clients are most receptive, and tailoring their lessons in a way that makes sense in the current context. Not so different from what we strive to do in a smaller way every day. I love seeing the broader ripples of communication and problem-solving in our community!