I’ve made it through week 1 of my Clinical Fellowship experience as a Speech-Language Pathologist!!! (For you non-speechies, this experience is a 9 month-long career as an SLP, while a mentor guides you through all those questions they didn’t have the answers to in graduate school.)
Most of my classmates (and most SLPs, really) begin working at SNFs (skilled nursing facilities) or hospitals or traditional schools. This SLP? I got lucky and got placed at Mt. Herman Exceptional Student Center. This school is a center for low-incidence disabilities, and I am lucky to call myself their SLP. My intention for this post isn’t to get on my soapbox and preach about functional communication and allowing all students to have a chance to communicate their wants and needs because we all deserve to have our wants and needs met, but I think the length of this sentence telling you how much I DON’T want to lecture shows you how important this position is to me.
I know I’m in for a challenge at this setting, especially as a brand-spanking-new SLP-CF, but I think my colleagues don’t realize that unlike a traditional school, (a) I’m not case manager for ANY IEPs, (b) I get to take as long as I need to for the students to warm up to me, and me to them, (c) because of the nature of Mt. Herman, I am not going to have copious amounts of data to report on, (d) my job mainly entails supporting the ESE teachers (exceptional student education…AKA special education…AKA learning support…) to help them facilitate communication for the older students, and really tapping in to the potential of my babies (PK-3, PK-4, K, 1…) to give that early intervention support they respond to.
Like I said, I didn’t want to soapbox, but I think this profession is one of those where you sometimes just can’t help yourself.
Communication is a right we all deserve. I’m just trying get these little sweethearts’ messages “un-stuck.”