My personal SLP story begins around 2009. I was a 4th grade classroom teacher who knew very little about what went on in the speech therapy room. I had very few students who received speech therapy services and really never knew what they did while they were out of my room. I didn’t think much about it…until my own daughter began stuttering. Taiylor was 2 and struggled a lot as she began learning to speak. Our family doctor wasn’t concerned about it, but I was. I finally pushed for a speech evaluation after her third birthday. She began attending private speech therapy in 2010. I was able to watch every speech session via video in a parent viewing room. I was so impressed with her SLP, and my curiosity about the field began to grow.
This was also around the time that I was beginning to think about leaving the classroom. I had taught for several years and just knew I didn’t want to be a classroom teacher for 20 more years. I knew I wanted to stay involved in education, but just didn’t know what I wanted to do. I changed schools hoping new scenery might change my opinion of teaching, but it did not. Every day I prayed and researched about what other careers might be a good fit for me…and everything kept pointing back to speech-language pathology.
At this point, my daughter was no longer in speech. After a few months of therapy without a lot of progress, she woke up from a long nap one day with no more stutter. She actually walked up to me after her nap and said, “Mommy. I don’t have to think when I talk anymore.” We went back for a few more speech sessions, just to be sure she really no longer needed it and it never started again. Some say this was purely developmental stuttering and she outgrew it. I say it was God’s way of leading me to what would become my new career.
After many prayers and discussions with my husband about speech-language pathology and needing to go back to grad school (I already had a master’s degree in teaching), I took the leap and enrolled in a leveling program.
I completed my leveling courses while I finished my 7th year of teaching. After being accepted into my graduate program, I found a job as an SLP assistant and the intense journey to becoming an SLP began.
Grad school was amazingly difficult. Working as a full-time SLP Assistant, being a mom, and pulling off projects and late night study sessions was a challenge. However, my husband instantly saw a difference in my happiness level and passion for my new field. I knew in my heart I had made the right choice.
I graduated from grad school in August 2015. I knew I wanted to work in the schools, and that is where I am today, but I also discovered I love working with adults. My clinicals in the SNF and hospital settings were life changing experiences. One of the things I love about this career are all the different options. Every setting is different. Every patient is different. Every school is different. Every SLP is different.
I love helping others improve their lives. I love being able to help a child learn their first words, produce that tricky /r/ sound for the first time, and experience success in the classroom or in a group setting. I love helping my stroke patients improve their communication skills or improve their swallowing so they can eat the food they want to eat. Being an SLP has changed my life in more ways than just where I go for work. I am inspired and passionate and thankful for this field every day.
I am still a new SLP. I actually just got my CCC in July 2016. The passion and excitement that led me to becoming an SLP is fresh in my mind and heart. By writing down my story, I know I will be able to read it on those difficult days in the future when I need encouragement. I hope sharing my story helps inspire others who may not be feeling the passion anymore. I encourage each and every one of you to think about what led you to this field. Think about the new graduate excitement you had and dreams of improving the world and the lives of your clients. Write your story down and share it with others. You never know who you may inspire…including yourself.
To read more SLP stories, click through The Frenzied SLPs linky below.