The Best SLPs are Thieves

August 6, 2014 BY Kelly C. Bawden, MS, CCC-SLP

The best SLPs are thieves.

I know. A bold claim, right? You’re thinking that I’m wrong, that the best SLPs, the ones we all idolize, they’re original thinkers. They’re innovators. They have ideas that no one has ever thought of before and they change the game when they come forth with a new theory, a new approach, a new technique, a new product.

Go read this post by the great Seth Godin. It’s about stealing other people’s ideas. It’s about encouraging you to steal ideas. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

The best SLPs are thieves


Great! Welcome back. Now, did that shift your thinking a little bit? Because I’m here to tell you, it rocked mine.

As SLPs, we rely on the ideas of others to build our practice. Who among us spent the summer tooling around on Pinterest, grabbing ideas of how to set-up a room for the Fall, or the units we’ll tackle this year? Has thumbed through a pile of catalogs and then thought, “Y’know, I have an idea for Kai . . . “? Has been to a conference, had that moment when the speaker says, “Well, when I have a client like that, I . . . ” and had their mind sent racing with all of the possibilities for their own practice? See what I’m saying here? You are a THIEF. We all are. And it’s what makes us, and our profession, so vibrant and alive.

I think (and talk) a lot about the art of what SLPs do. Yes, evidence based practice. Yes, data driven decision making. But also . . . yes, finesse. Yes, creativity. Yes, magic. Because SLPs get to use and touch and feel and MAKE magic. It doesn’t come from looking at a page full of numbers and marching formulaically down the path to dismissal. It is born of that little flutter in your belly when you look at those numbers, do 32 google searches, read 5 abstracts, marvel at the ideas on 17 SLP blogs, think about a client/student/patient you had 8 years ago, have a vague memory of something you learned in grad school, and the semblance of a “new” idea that just might be the breakthrough for this kid begins to take shape. The magic, and art, is facilitated, no, RELIANT, on the stealing that Seth Godin extols. So as we all stare down the barrel of a new school year, I say unto you . . . Go forth! Steal! Give credit where it is due, and then pay it forward by sharing your own ideas. Together, we make more magic than the entire Disney compendium ever could.