The main reason I am interested in being an SLP is because of my daughter. She has not officially been diagnosed with anything. When she was two, our pediatrician became concerned about her level of speaking. I was not overly concerned because she is my third child and her older brothers loved her and would frequently speak for her. I assumed that was her reason for delay. She never struggled with reception, only expression. I thought I would humor the pediatrician by getting her evaluated for speech. She was delayed and we received in home services. My thoughts still were that she would catch up quickly and be just fine. She turned three. At age three, if your child is still delayed, there are other options for treatment, including preschool. We decided to send her to preschool.
(side story) When this daughter was about 1, I worked at this preschool as an aide, but only for a few months. I didn’t know much about speech disorders, but I could play with little kids. This entire preschool was dedicated to speech disorders. They would enroll 2 students per session that were ‘model’ students so the other kids would know at what level they should be speaking. One of the boys that I assumed was a model student was there for speech. I was told that he used to be completely unintelligible and something clicked for him and he spoke SO perfectly.
(Back to original story) At age three my daughter was admitted to this preschool. I always had it in the back of my mind that she would be like the boy above. That one day it would just click and she would speak perfectly normal. It hasn’t happened. She is now 8 and still in speech therapy.
Having her in speech has been wonderful. I think having her in preschool and in therapy her whole life has been good for her. She has been surrounded by others just like her. She has NEVER suffered from low self-esteem. It has never been something scary for her because it has always been part of her life. We have moved a lot and we have had to fight for her to get therapy sometimes. The school she is currently in, for example. Her regular teacher said there was nothing wrong with her speech. We went to the principle and requested she be tested. (In one of our moves, her paperwork was lost and I didn’t have it to bring with us as her currently receiving therapy). She was tested and now receives her therapy during the school year. She has greatly improved over the years and is very intelligible.
She struggled with she/her up until last year, she struggles with plurals and past tense. What I’m seeing with her now is struggling in reading and spelling. She reads slowly, pausing after each word. We read together as a family, every morning, and when I’m especially tired (yes, I am not a perfect mom) it is very frustrating. I try, on those mornings, to just keep my mouth shut and let my husband help her. She adds sounds, she leaves off endings. In order for her to see the whole word, she has to read slow. We are working on fluency with her. What I truly worry about now, is her younger sister is almost caught up with her. When she surpasses her, I worry about her self-esteem. She spells like a kindergartner (she will be entering 3rd grade in the fall).
This is why I want to be an SLP. I want to help those who don’t have a clue, just like I have no clue when it comes to my daughter. I want to be there for someone who is struggling and I can say, ‘I know how you feel, I’ve been there.’ I want to see the child’s eyes light up as some little piece clicks for them. It may not be the whole of speech, but one tiny piece. This is why for me.
Why do you do what you do?