Like most, after reading that I had to choose a project to research and write about I had no idea what to choose. Out of all the endless options to pick from, I was at a loss, nothing seemed interesting enough to research for an entire semester. However, after some contemplating, I decided that my learning project would be centered around my long term career goal; Speech- Language Pathology.
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, “Speech-Language Pathologist work to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders in children and adults”. A speech disorder is considered when a person is unable to correctly or fluently produce speech sounds or has difficulty with their voice. Language disorders are considered when a person has trouble understanding others or sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings. So, a Speech Pathologist does so much more than just help a small child learn to produce sounds. They really have more in their job description than I would have guessed when I first started considering this profession.
I was inspired to go into Speech Pathology my senior year of high school. During that year I had the opportunity to be a cross-age tutor at the elementary school. I was in the speech teacher’s room, so I spent most of the week days with her, but the the Speech-Pathologist would come to the school once a week, and I got to experience this profession first hand. It was truly amazing to see the progress of the students that we worked with! The different ways of communication were eye opening to me, but the fact that students were accessing their ability to communicate with and understand others was what was really intriguing to me. After experiencing how a SLP works in a school setting, I decided I wanted to see what it was like to work in a hospital setting as well. Later that year, we took a senior job shadow trip and I shadowed at the hospital. I loved being in the hospital setting, it was completely different than a school setting, but still fairly similar. I am torn between working in a school or hospital, but I would have the opportunity to do both, and if I could choose, that is what I would do. Since there is a high demand for SLPs right now, I will have the opportunity to have a versatile career.
As I stated earlier, Speech-Language Pathology is my long term career goal. As of now, I am in my last years of my Elementary Education degree, so I will probably teach for a few years, but I hope to one day achieve my goal! It is something that keeps me going and is my motivation for going down the path I chose.
Photo CC- Penn State & Paul Shanks