Job Title: Speech Language Pathologist
Type of Company: I work for the public schools in a suburb of Boston.
Education: BS, Communication Disorders, Bridgewater State College (Bridgewater, MA) MS, Speech and Language Pathology, Boston University
Previous Experience: I became a speech language pathologist right out of graduate school.
Job Tasks: I work with anywhere from 65-75 elementary school students per year, primarily in small group settings, but sometimes, individually as well. These children have varying levels of cognitive abilities, ranging from normal to the severely developmentally delayed. Several of my students are on the autistic spectrum. I work on addressing difficulties in the areas of articulation, language (receptive, expressive, auditory processing and memory skills), fluency, voice and pragmatic skills. In addition to servicing these children, I am also responsible for doing evaluations to determine the need for service or continued service. I also participate in many meetings throughout the school year (team meetings, 504 accommodation meetings, system-wide SPED meetings, faculty meetings, parent conferences, workshops and conferences). In addition, I proctor MCAS administration for those students who have MCAS accommodations. I also consult with classroom teachers regarding prospective referrals that they may make. In addition, the speech language pathologists in our district meet monthly to coordinate services, share materials and discuss cases.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Working with my students and their parents is, without question, my favorite part of my job. There is nothing better than watching students make gains in their communication abilities and having them come back years later to express their thanks for the difference you made in their lives! Having a parent express his thanks and appreciation is also gratifying!
Paper work would have to be my least favorite part of the job. Sometimes it can be overwhelming and repetitive!
Job Tips: I would encourage people interested in the field to get their undergraduate degrees in communication disorders. It makes graduate school so much more meaningful. It is also very important to have some practicum experience at the undergraduate level. Book learning is very different than face-to-face service delivery! Find out if you like it!
Flexibility, compassion, and patience are key ingredients to the making of a good speech and language pathologist. In addition, I have learned that it is imperative to listen to parents...they know their children better than anyone else!
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