Adventures with Pediastaff

No…This is not a plug for Pediastaff’s job finding services. It’s not even a plug for their newsletter even though I’ve subscribed to it for years. If you don’t already, you can sign up for it here. It’s usually full of lots of different ideas from the (and for the) trenches. In fact, this post is only peripherally about Pediastaff at all…however wonderful they are (and they are wonderful!). But it is a plug for something near and dear to my heart.

What it is for is to let everyone know of something really cool…that Pediastaff and a few others just happened to create.

***updated 10/7/12 There are now 2 stores!!! One with shirts, one with keychains. Check the blog to see where!

First, let me say…If you haven’t already discovered twitter…it may be time you do. There is a wealth of information available at your fingertips. Are you familiar with that feeling you have at a conference where you’ve connected with others and hashed out things from your work or their work? You’ve gained some new therapy suggestions…and just generally  connected with individuals who ‘get it.” That’s what the #SLPeeps group is on twitter.

As the only SLP in my community it can be hard. There are times I really need to bounce an idea off of someone or hash through a particularly difficult problem. While my SPED teachers are great, it’s not the same as another SLP.

I don’t always have time to look for new research articles outside of ASHA or talk with researchers that are actually doing the research, either. The #SLPeeps often link to great articles and research that’s out there just waiting for someone to read it. There have also been times when we discuss whether the answer to an assessment question is “correct” or “incorrect,” or different ways to interpret the scores, or better ways to write the goals.

For that matter, just being able to chat with someone and have them understand that feeling when a student finally “gets it,” or the joy when we dismiss a student. That’s what twitter is all about. Sharing. Sharing of information, resources, research, sadness, and joy.

I can say unequivocally, Twitter has made me a better clinician, has helped me widen my professional boundaries,  and has helped me a build a primary learning network that is unrivaled. In 2009, when I started my twitter account, I had no idea it would grow the way it has. As one of the original #SLPeeps, I am amazed at the incredible wealth of knowledge and world-wide support that is available to me now. It truly is a way to connect with people world-wide.

The #SLPeeps have officially been around on twitter since early 2010. The term was coined when Bob (@speechbob) was trying to shorten his tweet to fit in the 140 character limit. Thankfully Tanya (@SLPTanya) was quick to snatch it up and start using it (she’s good at that and, thankfully, was looking for a group hashtag for us all to use).  And so the #SLPeeps were born and it is huge.

In fact…it’s so huge…we’re going to have a booth at ASHA 2012 in Atlanta. You heard me… The #SLPeeps are going to have a booth at ASHA, compliments of Pediastaff. We will explain what the #SLPeeps are, show people how to use twitter, get people signed up, and really showcase the incredible network that’s out there.

Heidi from Pediastaff also created a LOGO for the #SLpeeps. But, not only did she create a logo…she made it available to everyone who wants to buy a shirt! Here, let me show you!

All the grey is the names of the most active #SLPeeps. I’m sure not everyone is on there because 1) there are new #SLPeeps every day, and 2) there is only so much room on a shirt. So we took the ones who posted fairly regularly and used those names. Hopefully no one is offended…and hopefully when we re-work the logo, it’ll need a front and back because there are so many #SLPeeps out there.

The shirts are not expensive and you can buy them here: 

I do want to put a word of caution out there… The men’s shirts seem to be fine; however, the women’s shirts seem to be running a bit small (or my sense of size is skewed). So you may want to buy up… I don’t know. The woman’s small fits my 12 year old in the chest/shoulders…barely. In the men’s style the buyer can choose between “regular” weight and “heavy” weight.

The shirts do come with laundry instructions and highly recommend turning INSIDE OUT for washing (which makes sense as you don’t want the logo to peel or crack), and LINE DRY (which also makes sense so it doesn’t shrink).

Also, please keep in mind, this is digital art not screen printing. Heidi worked very hard on this (and she’s not the only one), but there’s no way to make a $15.00 shirt look like a $30.00 screen printed shirt. Don’t get me wrong… It is awesome, it’s DEFINITELY worth the $15.00…and eventually, who knows, maybe we’ll be able to do the screen print version. We wanted something people could order at ASHA or even before ASHA so we could wear them to the tweet-up (meet-up).

In addition to the shirts (and sweatshirts!), there are coffee mugs (and iPhone cases!!!). Here’s my coffee mug. 

Obviously a cup isn’t as big as a shirt so the logo is smaller. Smaller logo means smaller print and not ALL of the small names are legible. But it’s still very cool and I’m still very happy I bought it.

The mug is a stainless steel travel mug (so I can use it in the car or at work). Because it’s stainless steel it does help hold the heat in a bit. The lid is a push down type lid (no screwing involved) and the top has a valve that twists to close off the drinking ports. So it’s spill resistant (certainly not spill proof – but you’d have a few seconds to pick it up if you knocked it over before it spilled).

I’m always a bit skeptical when cups say they will do that if they’re not labeled as “thermal” so I checked it out. I put  coffee in my cup (after washing it of course), put the lid on it, and let it sit. I went back and checked it after an hour and the coffee was still hot – not as hot as when I poured it in, but still hot enough to be enjoyable to drink.

The care instructions with the cup are common sense. It’s stainless steel – so no microwave. Like most other decorative travel mugs, they recommend no dishwasher. The water and detergents in the dishwasher (not to mention the banging around of items) is often damaging to printed items. So..hand wash. Not a big deal.

All in all… I’m very pleased with my purchases. So much so that even though I was disappointed in the “snug” sizing of the women’s shirts, I purchased a man’s style shirt to wear to ASHA. I can’t wait until it comes in next week!

**update** We just received notification from Heidi at Pediastaff that the second store is open. The address is:    go check it out! It has keychains and magnets!

I am very excited for ASHA 2012. There will be amazing seminars, a meet-and-greet the authors (yours truly will be among them) from Smarty-Ears, the Pediastaff #SLPeeps booth, and the official ASHA12 Tweetup! What an incredible way to network!

Are you on twitter? If not, have you considered being on twitter? Let me know.. Let me know if I’ll see you at ASHA 2012 as well!  If it’s the day of the tweet-up, I’ll be the one in a pink #SLPeeps shirt!

Until then….Adventure on!

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