Marisha McGrorty knows Sam-I-am wants you to try green eggs and ham, but her bundle of children’s books is about more than finding out where Corduroy’s button went — it’s about therapy.
For speech language pathologists like Marisha across the nation, finding the right tools to treat 100 or more students is often a struggle between time, cost and sanity. The resources are out there, but scattered throughout Google searches and the unreachable black hole of results past Page 50. A strong community network is virtually nonexistent.
“Sometimes, there’s one SLP (speech language pathologist) in an entire (school) district, whereas (school) teachers all have their teaching teams and professional development communities,” said Marisha, a CO+HOOTS member since February. “SLPs are often isolated.”
Facing this struggle to find solutions for her profession, Marisha set off to create SLP Now, an app that compiles readily available tools to lift unnecessary weight off SLP shoulders. At the same time, SLP Now will build collaboration among professionals in an effort to better help students with communicative disorders.
“It’ll be a way to streamline all of the miscellaneous tools and resources that I put together to really make it easier for SLPs to do their job well and to reduce that overwhelm,” Marisha said. “I still feel really strongly that we should manage caseloads and advocate for that change, but in the meantime, we have to find a way to survive and serve our students.”
The membership-based app curates themed activity packs, step-by-step lesson plans and more, ensuring organization and student engagement in addition to increased leisure time for SLPs. Because of the commonality of the time-consuming issues Marisha faced, SLP Now has the potential to reach thousands — possibly more — in a supportive online community.
Since February, Marisha has utilized CO+HOOTS’ coworking community to effectively collaborate with entrepreneurs from various industries, even finding her app developer — fellow CO+HOOTS member Stephen Orsini of Distill Mill. Marisha said the space’s work environment also inspires her productivity and drive to make SLP Now fully come to life.
“It wouldn’t be happening if I weren’t here,” Marisha said. “I’ve been able to bounce ideas off of people and I met my developer here, which was amazing because I had a hard time with that previously.”
Marisha’s personal journey as an entrepreneur has also been a success. An introvert at heart, creating SLP Now in CO+HOOTS has helped her smoothly build connections, allowing her to practice and refine her networking skills.
“The community here is very inclusive and welcoming, so it’s been a playground, a great place to develop that skill in a fun way,” Marisha said.
Marisha said she plans to give back to the whole community through SLP Now by steadily reaching more students and SLPs, and by creating jobs as her app officially launches.
For now, Marisha said the connections are the most incredible part of what she has already built.
“The community piece is pretty amazing,” Marisha said. “That’s what helped me survive during that crazy time. That’s what helped keep me motivated and trying to find solutions and being reminded that what we do is important.”