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Career Story: Speech Pathologist For A Suburban School District

Speech Pathologist For A Suburban School District

Job Title: Speech/Language Pathologist

Type of Company: I work for a school district in the MetroWest area of Massachusetts.I I

Education: BS in Communication Disorders, UMass Amherst; MS Speech/Language Pathology, Worcester State College

Previous Experience: I worked in a Private School setting for children with autism, PDD and other social emotional and communication challenges for 14 years.

Job Tasks: I am responsible for the evaluation and treatment of school age children with (potential) speech, language, processing and sometimes hearing challenges that make it difficult for them to access the regular education curriculum.

When one these children have been identified as needing my services, I am one member of a team that then works to provide supports and accommodations to better enable the individual. In addition, direct speech and language services may be set up. Being part of a team I also work with regular education and special education teachers in a co-treat model to provide inclusion services to help for natural environments so that the student can generalize skills that they had been working on in the pull out setting.

I also work with students with social pragmatics (social skills) issues as part of their disability. This is usually done in a co-treat model with the school psychologist.

Another aspect of my job is working with parents and the families of the students in our district. We meet at least one or two times per year regarding their child's education plan in addition to any parent training sessions that we provide for all parents in the district. Consults and trainings are also provided for and with the regular and special education teachers that I work with on a regular basis. Writing reports for initial evaluations and re-evaluations as well as progress reports (4x/year) on each student is also a big (time consuming) part of my job.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is working directly with the students, whether that is in a pull out model or working with them in their classrooms and the satisfaction that I am making a difference.

The most difficult part of my job can be working with parents who are still trying to grasp what their child's disability is and want services that may not be appropriate for their child. We have many parents who come in and say that they know someone who is getting x therefore they DEMAND x for their child as well. We spend more time in litigation justifying why we are doing/or not doing something for their child.

Job Tips: As corny as it may sound, communication is key to working in the field of speech and language. It is very important to communicate with parents, teachers and other professionals regarding each and every individual on your caseload. When everyone has a better understanding of the child, his/her disability as well as the treatment plan and the prognosis, you can all be on the same page.

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