A Day in the Life: Speech Pathologist
Posted: March 21, 2022 | Written By: Jessica Walls, MS, CCC-SLP/L | Category: Special Education Teaching
Speech Language Pathologists have the opportunity to work in many settings within the professional world. I have worked in a variety of places ranging from public schools to skilled nursing facilities, but New Story holds a special place in my heart as it is very different from working in these other placements.
My day starts early as I arrive at work around 6:30am with a Dunkin Donuts coffee in hand. Before the students arrive, I work on IEPs and prepare activities for the day's sessions. Before I know it, the walkie call for arrival sounds in my office. I greet the students at the door as they file in one by one. The morning announcements are made, and I am off to grab the first student of the day.
Every day is different depending on the students I have scheduled. My caseload is comprised of a mixture of articulation (speech sounds), language (vocabulary, grammar), social skills, communication training with AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) and fluency.
On this particular day, the first kiddo seen is in the autism support classroom where I use modeling and prompting to teach him how to answer yes and no questions while he requests from an array of preferred items consisting of pickle chips, bubbles, and putty. My second student is a 4th grader with trouble producing the “th” speech sound. He comes to my office, and we practice with the help of a mirror, using the correct tongue placement in isolation and progress up the ladder-phrases, words, sentences and eventually carryover to conversation. Kiddo number three is working on reading comprehension strategies such as chunking, reflection, and prediction. We read a story together and he stops to reflect then predict what will be coming next after each paragraph.
Students four and five have me back in the autism support classroom. One of the students just received his AAC speech generating device about a month ago and the other student has had his for a year-and-a-half. This new student is just learning how to use the device for communicative interactions. He watches as I model the button for “block” then pick up a block and stack it on the tower. After the 10th model, he reaches over and pushes the “block” button on the device, and I reinforce the communication attempt with handing him a block. Across the room, my veteran AAC user takes his speech generating device to the door and independently requests a walk in the hall. But before he leaves the room, he turns to me and pushes “goodbye”.
Throughout the day, I am stopped in the hall, or I’ll see faces peek around the corner of my office door while I’m typing a session note to ask me questions about a student’s speech sounds or speech generating devices. That is what makes New Story Schools different. Our employees work as a team collaborating with one another to create a plan that works specifically for each student. This means our teachers reach out to the speech therapists and our speech therapists reach out to the behavior analysts when we have questions or input that may benefit the student.
There is no greater feeling than seeing a student’s face light up when you let them know they have mastered a difficult concept, or you watch them use their speech generating device to independently communicate for the first time. We all come together to celebrate those wins as we cheer them out the door at the end of the school day with hope and excitement for tomorrow.
If you are interested in becoming a Speech Language Pathologist for New Story yourself, follow this link to our careers page to view open positions: https://newstoryschools.com/careers
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