What's Your Story?Did you always know what you wanted to do for a career, or did you happen upon your profession another way? What influenced you to take the path you did?
The Frenzied SLPs are sharing their SLP stories with you this week.I can't wait to read how each of them arrived in our wonderful profession. Be sure to check out the linky below, to find SLP stories from some of my favorite slpeeps! But first, I would love to share my journey with you too. Here's how speech-language pathology found me. This is my SLP story.
My son's kindergarten teacher noticed his three-year-old brother was very hard to understand.She asked me if I would like to talk to the school speech therapist about him, and see if he needed speech. "But he's only three, not old enough to go to school," I said. I knew he had a hard time pronouncing his words. Robin Hood was his favorite "boovie". He would get mad at his brother and tell him "top it!" He ate his "pood" with his "poon". He loved when his "tat" would jump up and purr. I tried modeling words for him, but we didn't have much success.
My son's doctor had never mentioned anything, so I though it must still be ok. I had faithfully marked off my son's developmental milestones in his baby book. It never mentioned intelligibility....I figured he would grow out of it. Right?
In those days, I considered myself a good mom, and I was. I played with my kids, took them to the zoo, to the museum, joined play groups and scouts, let them dig in the sand, build pillow forts, fingerpaint and cook with me in the kitchen. I truly didn't know much about speech therapy. I vaguely remembered there had been a "speech teacher" at my elementary school growing up, but I never went to see her. Taking my son to a speech therapist never occurred to me, since he was so little. And I had certainly never heard the term speech-language pathologist.
After my son's initial evaluation, there was a meeting. The results were explained to me, along with a lot of terms I was not familiar with. Speech therapy was recommended for him, and I was grateful someone would work with him to help him pronounce his words. He got so frustrated when I couldn't understand him.
That was my first real introduction to the profession of speech-language pathology.
My son had therapy through first grade, then began working on those lingering /l/ and later the /r/ sounds. (He said my first name was "weezette"). By second grade, therapy services had become pretty infrequent, instead of the twice a week he was scheduled for. I think one semester he was seen twice in total.
Fortunately, with my prompting my son at home, he continued to make progress, and we dismissed him from speech therapy that year.
The school said there was a shortage of therapists, and just hadn't been able to find enough therapists to cover all the speech students.
The following year, I began subbing at the school. I had been a stay-at-home mom for a few years and was considering going back to school. I had my bachelor's degree in psychology, but I knew that wasn't really going to help me get a good job without an advanced degree. I wasn't sure what direction I wanted to go. I wasn't interested in becoming a teacher, as so many members of my family had done. I wanted something different.
I was subbing in the early childhood classroom when the speech therapist came in to do a lesson.The school had found a speech therapist now. She read a story and asked the children questions. They sang a song. I thought, "I could do that." So I asked her more about it. She told me about the various goals she worked on, vocabulary, grammar, comprehension and listening in addition to articulation. She told me she would be leaving soon to do private therapy for a much bigger and better salary, and how there were so many jobs open at that time for speech-language pathologists in all kinds of settings.
My interest was definitely piqued. I started looking up more information about the profession... and I decided that this was it.
I loved language and science, I enjoyed working with children, and a school-based job would allow me to have summers off with my own children. I headed to grad school, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
I had found the profession that really seemed right for me. Eureka!
This profession has given me such wonderful opportunities to grow, learn, create and help others. It took me a while to find my perfect "niche", but this is definitely it! I love my job. That's my SLP story.
Until next time!