Speech Language Pathologists can work with virtually any age group and in a variety of settings. Speech Pathologists can work in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, clinics, and they can even go from home to home. When I graduate with my masters in Speech Pathology I would like to be able to work with small children in either a clinical or school setting.
I had the opportunity to interview Mrs. Lisa Nelson who is a speech therapist at Glenview Elementary School. Mrs. Lisa is a graduate of Louisiana Tech University and has her masters degree in Speech Language Pathology. She has worked as a Speech Language Pathologist for twenty years and for Glenview Elementary for three years. Over the last twenty years she has worked in home health for eighteen years and in the Lincoln Parish school system for three years, with some of that time overlapping.
Mrs. Nelson’s job includes, screening and evaluating children to decide if they need to be in speech therapy or not. If a child qualifies for speech therapy it is Mrs. Nelson’s job to write goals for the child as well as an Individual Education Plan (IEP). This requires the use of her technical writing skills, because this is a document that not only goes to the parents and teachers, but also to the state. This document will follow the student to a new school or school system within the state. She also meets with the child’s parents and come up with a schedule of when to pull the child out of class for therapy.
There is a lot of writing in the field of speech pathology. Speech pathologists write IEP’s, goals, objectives, and they write letters and emails to parents to keep them up to date on their child’s progress. She communicates with the principal and other teachers by email and texting. She says texting is an easy form of communication in the school because they can remind each other when an IEP is scheduled for, and the time and place of an upcoming meeting.
When working with the children she uses methods such as; visuals that the children are able to touch and have a hands on example of what is being taught, and auditory learning methods such as saying the words to the children.
Mrs. Nelson believes that the writing associated with speech Pathology is informal because when she communicates with a parent or faculty she cannot use the intricate terminology used by Speech Language Pathologists because not very many people would understand what the problem with the child is or how to go about fixing it.
To someone pursuing a job in speech pathology, Mrs. Nelson suggests that they should observe a speech pathologist while they are still getting their bachelor’s degree because there are a lot of different places that a speech pathologist can work. Therefore it would be beneficial for them to go and observe at different places and see wether they like working with older people, trauma patients, children, or infants. She also suggests that they visit the ASHA web site, which is the official web site of the American Speech and Hearing Association, to learn more about the program and what is expected of a speech therapist.
Mrs. Nelson believes that speech pathologists are extremely important in the school systems because they help prepare the children to be able to communicate and excel in their academic studies. They also prepare the children to be able to go out into the world after they graduate from school and be able to communicate adequately in society.
Darby Rowland, guest blogger