I’ve been organizing my home office over the past couple of weeks, and this has led to interesting walks down memory lane — reminders of my journey from parent of children with communication disorders to professional Speech-Language Pathologist! I admit here and now that I am an information hoarder. I don’t like clutter, but I feel physically ill when I consider tossing reference materials I might need someday! My husband is an engineer, educated by nuns, and this personality trait drives him just a bit nuts. Fortunately, I have concluded that I need to lighten the load and simplify my life, so I have tackled the problem with a vengeance. My hard work was recently rewarded with a key find — an old folder containing notes about my earliest attempts to research ways to help my children. It’s a time capsule of sorts, dating back to 1988 and containing speech/language milestone documents, facilitation techniques, activities, speech disorder bibliographies, and info on computer programs! I had forgotten my desperate search for language development/speech facilitation computer applications during those early, challenging years!
My first computer was an IBM Personal Computer (PC) operating on DOS (Disk Operating System). I explored Apple and used it as a volunteer with pre-school and elementary students, but my background was in business. I had learned word processing on the early, cumbersome, pre-Microsoft, DOS-based programs, so I leaned toward PC-DOS. My PC had an 8088 processor running on DOS, and memory was measured in kilobytes and maybe a few megabytes and was expensive! Microsoft Windows was new and gaining momentum, but I hadn’t bought into that platform yet. Basically, I was navigating via covered wagon compared to modern travel via jet engine technology!
My initiation to Speech-Language Pathology began around 1985 when I realized “something wasn’t right” with my youngest son’s speech development and that my oldest son’s auditory processing was suspect. My typical coping mechanism is to throw myself into research to learn all I can about challenges I face in life. I fought pretty much alone until about 1988 when both of my children were formally diagnosed with different communication disorders. My real-world education as a Speech-Language Pathologist began in earnest at that time!
What’s in the folder?
There wasn’t much available to us in those early years! Aside from the aforementioned speech/language development and treatment materials, my folder contains product information for two programs: IBM THINKable and Speech Viewer II. You might need to zoom your screen to see the details, but look at the minimum requirements!
Like I said: covered wagons vs. jet engines! I also have a six-page document listing the benefits and uses of Speech Viewer II — “A Powerful Tool for Your Therapy Workstation.”
According to this price list, I was still searching in 1994.
I think you can see why I never, ever complain when I have to pay for a powerful, functional, motivating iOS app for my patients/clients! The most expensive app I’ve ever purchased is nowhere near the average price of computer applications in the late 80s and early 90s!
As I often say: It is wonderful to be a Speech-Language Pathologist in the 21st century! How far we have come over the past 25 years! Unfortunately, this find did nothing to discourage my tendency to hoard information. I would hate to have missed out on this treasure, and truth be told, my super-organized, minimalist husband has also enjoyed this walk down memory lane. I hope you have, too!
Cynthia Williams Bowen, MS, CCC-SLP owns Bowen Speech-Language Therapy, LLC in Clearwater, FL. Cyndee provides quality, creative, collaborative treatment to adults and adolescents with communication, swallowing, Parkinson’s, and related disorders.