To get these introductions over with, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I am a second year graduate student who is 5 classes and 2 practicums in my Master’s program away from being a certified Speech-Language Pathologist. While I’m not up to my eyeballs in papers and journal reviews , I love spending time with friends and family (as cliché as that sounds), baking, drinking coffee, shopping, spending too much time on Pinterest, reading, and working with preschoolers at my church.
I wanted to be a Speech-Language Pathologist (or SLP as we’re more comfortably called ) since my sophomore year in high school. My older sister is an occupational therapist and told me about this “great field that is in very high demand!”. I had the opportunity to job shadow later that school year, and after a day of playing games with preschoolers, reading books, and filling out paperwork (which is also something I strangely love), I knew this is something I wanted to do forever.
Little did I know that day that I had just moved into my mission field. Over the next 7 years, I met children and families whose lives I have had the amazing privilege of being a part of.. Because being an SLP is about so much more than helping kids who can’t say their “r” and “l” sounds-its about changing lives.
One of my very first clients that I did in-home therapy with
While working on my bachelor’s degree I had the awesome opportunity to do in-home behavior therapy (which, in a nutshell, is pretty close to speech) with a total of 4 little boys who have Autism. Working with these 4 individual families-in their homes, with their children- made me realize that I was not only walking into a career, I was walking into my calling.
Also during undergrad, I had the privelage to take part in a Augmentative and Alternative Communications (AAC) camp for individuals who use some form of speech device as their primary mode of communication.
|our camp counselors, campers, and their “family member of choice” they got to bring with them-what a FUN bunch!
It was at this camp that I got to hear the stories of how speech has made a literal world of difference in these students’ and families’ lives. I was told first hand of the devastation a diagnosis can bring, how heart wrenching it is to hear that “something isn’t right” with your precious child. I got to hear about triumphs and set backs, about the overflow of emotion that came with hearing their child utter “I love you, mom” for the first time, even if it wasn’t with their natural voice. It was after this weekend of camp that I was convinced that this is what I was supposed to do with the rest of my life.
When people need my services, it is never on good terms. Something is always wrong; something that is supposed to be happening isn’t, something that isn’t supposed to be happening is, or something that used to be working o.k. is no longer. And that is where I get to step in- I have the opportunity to bring hope. I can’t promise a complete “fix”, but I get to be the one who sits across the table from a parent who has a child with a disorder (any kind-speech, language,genetic, or anything else that effects communication) or a spouse who’s other half has acquired some kind of impairment, and say “This is what you’ve been handed. But, here’s what we can do about it.” The prognosis isn’t always the best-but it is always better than where we start. The road is never easy, and often long, but I get to come along side these families and patients and be the one who stands in their corner; to be their advocate. A verse in Proverbs reads:
This is what I get to do every day! I have been commanded to do the above-it just comes across in the form of speech therapy. Not only is speech pathology a job, it’s a passion. It’s a mission field.