Student Perspective: Learning about Commercial Therapy Tools

~Written by Melissa Jennings – Social Chair of the SFSU NSSLHA Chapter
~Edited by Isabella Firpo – Media Coordinator of the SFSU NSSLHA Chapter

The importance of understanding the material provided to us in our undergrad and graduate studies has always been emphasized. However, while succeeding in our academics surely prepares us for the workforce, understanding the field as a whole will make us the best speech pathologists possible. The SFSU Communication Disorders program allows us as students to be updated on what is new and exciting in the field. One instance that illustrates this was when a professor of ours, Renata Tabellion, had a lovely speaker come in to talk to our Articulation and Phonology class. Professor Tabellion brought in a speaker who helped create a set of tools that she uses in her private practice. At our last class of the semester we had Alexey Salamini, from “Speech Buddies” come in and not only explain the idea behind the invention but, also to let us try the items ourselves. He provided us with a presentation that explained how these nifty tools are used orally to target individual sounds that are problematic for the client. They are FDA approved tools that are placed within the mouth, each one having a specific shape and purpose. The Buddies are simple to use and are attractive to the eye. Each tool has its own assigned color and animal. The animal on each tool has an initial that is meant for that tool (i.e. the lion buddy is used for the /l/ sound).

This presentation informed us about a tool that could be very useful to us once in the workforce. It was also a reminder that when in the workforce, it is important to be knowledgeable and up to date on the research and tools that are available. Additionally, it relayed to us just how many different opportunities are available in the world of speech. Alexey Salamini is not a Speech Pathologist, however, he had the capability to collaborate with a Speech Pathologist in order to design these Buddies. As the company grows, there will then be more of a need to help supply the demand. They will need more individuals who are educated and experienced in the speech pathology field. This provided us with the idea that this field allows for yet another opportunity; business and marketing of speech tools. Overall, this experience was an amazing chance for us as students and future therapists to grow and to network with those based out of this lovely city we call San Francisco. As a group this only motivated NSSLHA that much more to keep providing our program with great speakers who have priceless knowledge to share with us. A special thanks to professor Renata Tabellion for giving us such a beneficial experience.

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