What have I learned as a Speech Language Pathologist the past 40 years?  A Reflection

May 5, 2024 by

What have I learned as a Speech Language Pathologist the past 40 years?  A Reflection

44 years ago I embarked on my career as a Speech Language Pathologist.  When I started college the course of study was still called the Speech Therapy program in the school’s catalog.  By the time I finished the program changed to the Speech Language Pathology program and a Masters was then required in order to work.  Eastern Michigan University was proactive with the change and I was fortunate enough to enter one of the first 5 year master degree programs in the country.  Most of the “Speech Therapists” at the time knew they were going to be grandfathered in but it was still an issue for many.  Basically we were also rebranded and at that time the distinction was Speech Therapists didn’t have a masters and Speech Language Pathologists did.  With that said even back then people were saying that the term Speech Language Pathologist was an odd moniker.  I couldn’t imagine that 40 years later our role in schools would still be loosely defined with most administrators not understanding our skill set.  I’m often called the “speech therapist” or “speech teacher” and you know what it doesn’t bother me too much.  I will however introduce myself as a speech language pathologist in meetings.  

So I graduated Eastern with a masters degree and added the letters SLP after my name.  I was on my way.

So now it’s May 2024 and a lifetime since I started working as a Speech Language Pathologist, 39 years to be exact.  While I started my career in early intervention, most of my work has been in the public schools with some private practice on the side.  In 2016, I stopped working for schools as an employee (I had had about all I could take) and went exclusively into private practice, contracting to schools instead.  

While I’ve loved working with kids in schools, I’ve tried to vary my career just to do a little something different and to expand my skill set.  I have been blogging on and off since 2007.  My first blog was Your Middle Schooler: A Unique Age and my second blog is this blog The School Speech Therapist.  I also wrote a book for school administrators called The School Speech Language Pathologist  an Administrator’s Guide to understanding the role of the SLP in schools along with strategies to aid staffing, workload management and student success, it wasn’t received well.  Blogging was and is a lot of fun, saying I wrote a book sound cool but the actual writing was a lot of work for very little return.  Plus I’m beginning to realize that blogging alone is perhaps a bit outdated these days. 

As I’m pondering retirement I’ve decided to close out my blog sometime in the near future.  However, always the person who wants to share their knowledge and expertise, I’ve decided to write a series of articles reflecting issues I’ve faced as a school SLP and the joys I’ve experienced as a school SLP.  I want to be able to impart my wisdom to the masses.  No really, my objectives would be to share what I’ve learned from experiences, provide guidance to help any school SLP avoid pitfalls, provide practical information, point out my concerns and share some of the good times.  I will admit that like my book this is probably going to be a bit of a therapeutic assignment for me.  I hope it will also help me remember that I did sometimes make a difference in the life of at least a few kids.    

During the month of May, which as we know is Better Speech and Hearing month, I plan to post an article a day (yes I am a few days behind already).  Now I know Better Speech and Hearing month is supposed to be for us to provide information to the community but this May I want to provide information to my SLP community.

I have a variety of topics planned.  However, if you have any specific topics, situations you want to ask about, any questions, concerns you’ve faced or just a fun story to share, I would love to hear from you.  Email me at teresa@tbsspeechtherapy.com

Please indulge this aging SLP and follow along through the month of May 2024

By the way, my domain name may be going up for sale at some point if anyone is interested.

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