Interview With Jessica Danley of Ozark Speech Pathologist

Jessica L. Danley is a Senior Speech-Language Pathologist who specializes in evaluation and treatment of adults with cognitive-communication, motor speech and swallowing impairments. She has gained over 10 years of experience in pediatric and medical settings. Jessica loves collaborating with other passionate SLPs, especially those who love FEES and swallow treatment as much as she does. In her off hours, Jessica loves knitting and spending time in the garden with her husband (an organic farmer and garden designer) and two young children.

Note: You should consult with your doctor or speech pathologist for recommendations on treatment. The views and opinions expressed in this article are Jessica Danley and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

What inspired you to start Ozark Speech Pathologist?

Ozark Speech Pathologist was created as an outlet for me to share my personal experiences and helpful resources for other clinicians starting out in speech-language pathology. I absolutely love networking with other clinicians who share my curiosity and passion for continual learning and self-growth. Having a blog helps me to connect with other SLPs and share what new resources I’m finding helpful in my little corner of the world. Now that I’ve discovered the huge community of SLP’s on Instagram that is where I spend the majority of my time (@ozarkspeechpathologist) sharing weekly photos of my therapy life.

What do you hope readers get out of your posts?

I hope readers enjoy the clinical resources I’ve made or shared. I enjoy passing along helpful tools and have appreciated the free materials that I’ve run across over the years. I do tend to see a pattern online – other clinicians looking for ideas or help. We like seeing real world experiences and enjoy collaboration. There are so many fabulous blogs, websites, and subscriptions now that weren’t available just a few years ago. New SLPs have so many options for growth and connection online. Some are listed under Therapy Links on my blog.

What was it like transitioning from pediatric to adult practice?

Transitioning from school-based therapy services to the adult medical setting has been a journey! The shift involved investing time, money and energy towards continuing education and supervised training under the watchful eyes of several seasoned clinicians and mentors. Initially I found it quite challenging to find medical-based opportunities, due to my background in pediatrics, but I persisted. I eventually caught a break with a travel agency for a non-profit residential facility for individuals with brain-injury. They were seeking an SLP to cover a maternity leave and I was hired to work alongside 3 other SLPS, PT/OT, neuropsychology and other professionals. When that position ended I knew that I was ready to continue my transition.  My next opportunity came as a PRN SLP in an acute care hospital. Training consisted of additional continuing education online and 8-weeks of (1-2 days per week) shadowing full-time clinicians in inpatient, outpatient and on the acute care floors. There I received hands-on and supervised guidance through swallow evaluations and treatment. Since that time I’ve worked in skilled nursing and, more recently, inpatient rehabilitation settings.

How has what you learned in pediatric practice shaped your approach to adult medical speech therapy?

Patience and compassion are key no matter the setting!

Is there a big difference in motivating clients in these populations?

Yes and no.  Clients need functional goals and therapeutic activities that directly apply to and impact their daily lives, no matter the age.  And I’ve found both children and adults are equally motivated by chocolate.

What is your advice for SLP graduate students?

Get organized! Try to create a morning or daily routine to improve your efficiency and reduce workload-related stress. It sounds basic but a simple calendar or planner can really help. I’m always sure to check my to-do list for the next day just before I leave work. That way those items are fresh in my mind when I return.

Continue to seek out opportunities for growth every step of your new journey. Don’t allow yourself to become complacent – that is the easy path. Find out what inspires you daily at your place of work and keep seeking out opportunities related to that. I have found my niche in dysphagia and FEES. If you aren’t finding inspiration or joy at work then consider researching a new therapy technique or attending a conference. I always return feeling rejuvenated and excited to put new ideas to practice.