On Criticizing Colleagues

By Pam Marshalla

12692990703_ebbfb16d1a_mQ: Can you help me deal with a situation? I work in the schools. A private SLP accused me in a meeting with parents recently of not using the correct “motor planning methods” with a mutual apraxic child. Do you know what she is talking about? She really embarrassed me.


I regret the competitiveness that some therapists have, and absolutely detest the way some private therapists treat SLPs in the schools.  You should not have had to experience that. No SLP has the right to degrade any other, especially in front of parents!

Further, there are no right methods and there are no wrong ones. Even with apraxia there are no methods that have proven themselves to be superior to any others.  There are no specific “motor planning methods” other than ones therapists make up themselves.

Van Riper said it like this––

“There are no doubt almost as many ways of carrying out these basic principles as there are clinicians”

We all do the best we can with what we know. This therapist is way off base. I hope this is working out for you.


  • Van Riper, C. & Irwin, J. (1958). Voice and Articulation. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.


7 thoughts on “On Criticizing Colleagues”

  1. amen. amen. amen! No child is the same, so therefore, our technique is required to be different for each child! That’s what keeps us on our toes and scratching our brains, because you learn something new from every single child you work with!

  2. I just can’t believe what some SLPs will do to their own in hopes to make themselves look better. No integrity at all. On that note, I once had an out of town SLP call me regarding a mutual student. She asked, Are you the SLP? I said, Yes, I am, how can I help you? She replied (here it comes), Are you an M.A. or an M.S.?

  3. I work both in the schools and also in the private sector PRN. I think that the best way to handle this sort of thing is to remember that in the schools we are working with students to increase their ability to access the curriculum. It is completely different in private practice. Also, it is important to note that we all have our own techniques that we have found that work for us. Having said that, it is a good idea to be open to learning new techniques, also!

  4. That is just unprofessional beyond words! As stated in other comments we all have our own techniques. We also have to find out what works with each individual client!

  5. I hope that your school team gathered around. It has been my experience that they are stunned at the moment that a team member is dissed, but give me wholehearted support in all future meetings. I hope they have told you how much they admire your ability to take the heat and do the right thing.

  6. As someone who has worked both medical and educational settings, neither one is better, both settings have expertise/access the other does not. Parents should be supported in a meeting, not railroaded into chosing a side to support an insecure, bragging therapist. This has happened to me in both settings. I would suggest calling the manager of the private therapy provider and explain what happened. The clinic will want to repair this image as this is really bad PR since school clinicians are asked frequently about outside therapy. I would say this clinic would not be recommended due to lack of professionalism. Also, if this clinician thinks they have found the magic formula that helps this child who is apraxic, shouldn’t they be sharing the exact techniques they use with the school clinican who probably sees the child more verses slaming the public school clinicain. Obviously the private therapist is not thinking of the child.

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