Monday, October 24, 2011

The Noble Calling of being an SLP

I was approached about doing a guest post.  After reading his submission, I am excited to have you read 10 reasons SLP is a noble calling.  But just as a disclaimer, I do not promote any particular college or institution.  There are pros and cons to all schools. Some have more pros, others more cons. You need to do your own research on a good college for your degree.

10 Reasons SLP is a Noble Calling
--Philip J Reed, on behalf of Westwood College

Few careers are more rewarding or personally fulfilling than those that deal directly with helping
others. And of those, SLP (speech-language pathology, also known as logopaedics) may be
even more rewarding than most.

Why? Well, read on, because we’ve compiled a list of 10 reasons SLP is a noble calling, and we
know that you’ll not only agree, but that you’ll be able to add at least another 10 of your own.

1) Helping Children
A very large number of SLP patients are children. Those young patients need assistance with
understanding, processing and reacting to the world around them, and the sooner they get that
assistance – and receive an accurate diagnosis – the better.

2) Helping Others
It’s not just children that need SLP TLC though! Speech-language pathologists help people of
all ages, of all backgrounds, and with all sorts of different needs. The variety of patients you will
encounter is limitless, and for every one of them, you can improve their quality of life in a very real
and tangible way.

3) Giving the Gift of Communication
What’s one of the best gifts you can think of? It’s difficult to conceive of a gift more valuable to
any human being than the gift of communication. Most of us were given that gift more or less by
default when we were born, but not everybody is that lucky. Speech-language pathologists work
with those who have difficulty communicating effectively with others, and that’s a gift of greater
value than one might realize. The best part is that it often comes packaged with the additional
gifts of higher self-esteem, increased happiness, and greater confidence.

4) Staying Engaged
Few careers will keep you as engaged in what you’re doing as SLP. Your patients are all
individuals with different desires, aspirations, and things to communicate to the world, and every
single one of them – and every session that you have with them – will be a unique experience of
its own. It requires the ability to think on your feet as well as the gift of creativity when it comes to
crafting lessons and exercises – often on the fly – to help your patients overcome their difficulties.

5) Putting Your Education to Use
Certainly you’ve heard friends and family speak about the work they do, and how it often does
not match up with the classes they took or even the degrees that they hold. Sometimes that
schooling can seem like something of a waste. With SLP, however, you can be sure that all of
your training will be put to good use…and then some! Your classes, your certification and your
medical assisting training can all come together to form the important groundwork for the job that
you do. It won’t be enough on its own to prepare you for everything – nothing can prepare you for
everything after all – but you’ll be glad you have it all the same!

6) Touching Lives
The younger your patient the more obvious this might be, but no matter how young or old they
may be, you are touching their lives in very important ways. You are shaping the way they
communicate their feelings, emotions and needs to those that they love, and your hard work will
be validated by every word that they were previously unable to speak, and every thought that
they previously had difficulty expressing. That’s a big responsibility, but it’s also a reward like no

7) Changing the World
And, of course, as you touch these lives you also, in a very literal sense, change the world. Your
patients live complete and full lives of their own, and they touch other lives themselves. Every
day they leave their mark upon the world, and it’s a mark shaped by the hard work that you did
with them. The effects of your work will be vaster, wider and longer-lived than you might expect,
and that’s something to be very proud of.

8) Becoming a Better Parent
By working so closely with those who struggle to communicate, for such a wide variety of
reasons, you will gain insight into how communication works in general, and how people express
what they want, need, and feel. This can – and almost certainly will – make you a better parent
(or even spouse) in this regard. By being more acutely aware of what your children are trying to
say, as opposed to what they are actually saying or not saying, you will be better able to provide
for them, and that’s a skill you can’t put a price tag on.

9) You Do it Because You Love It
Speech-language pathologists are a distinctive breed. You won’t meet many of them, or possibly
even any of them, who do it for the money. SLP is a labor of love, and those who decide upon
it as a career path do it knowing full well that they will not be famous for it…but they may well be
loved. Which brings us to…

10) You Will Always Be Remembered
Those that you touch will never forget you. Their lives will change for the better, specifically
because of the work that you did with them, the gift of communication that you helped them to
develop, and the confidence that you gave them just by helping them overcome the difficulties
that they have. Speech-language pathologists don’t have patients; they have legacies. It’s a
noble calling, and one beyond reward.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hearing aid - personal story (not mine)

For one of my assignments I was asked to interview people who wear hearing aids.  I was able to interview a 54 year old lady.  Here is her story:

Ruth grew up like any other hearing child. When she was nine years old, she was bumped by a car.  She was crossing the road and a car came to a screeching halt just past her.  It bumped her to her knees.  As far as she knew, her only injury was scraped up knees.  She began having a gradual hearing loss, to the point, six months later, she was deaf. She was placed in the hard of hearing class in elementary school. In the 60's it was taboo to teach a child who was hard of hearing sign language, especially one who already had oral language.  So she was taught lip reading and oral speech therapy to keep her speech skills.  She rode the bus with kids who were deaf. But because she was not taught sign, she would just enviously watch.  She wanted to know what they were saying.  When she was a teenager, she went to a summer camp where she learned more sign and gained friends who were deaf who helped teach her sign language.

Ruth's favorite job was working for a Deaf Agency.  Her job was to teach late deafened adults the tools out there for them.  To show them the different hearing aids and assistive technologies available.  To teach them assertiveness, to speak up and not withdraw. To help them know that they were still a person and important.

With her hearing aids, Ruth has 50% or more hearing.  She said that without her hearing aids she becomes drowsy and withdrawn. She is completely disinterested in the world around her.  She becomes a different person.  Everyone she loves is hearing, she is so grateful for modern technology to be able to communicate and hear and understand all those she loves.

Ruth married a man who is hearing.  All of her children are hearing.  One of her daughters married a man who is hard of hearing.  This same daughter is an ASL interpreter for a child who is now in junior high. (She worked with the same child since elementary school.) What I find fascinating is the fact that this couple signed with their kids from birth and they began signing around 9 mos. of age! I think all babies should learn sign, so they can communicate so much earlier than oral speech.

Ruth wears a behind the ear hearing aid (they are the strongest available to her). She has been wearing hearing aids for 45 years.  10 years ago she switched to digital hearing aids instead of analog.  Her only complaint is that music sounds different.  Not a good different.  Speech is so much clearer and as much as she loves music, she'll take the decrease in music enjoyment to be able to hear clearer speech.  When using assistive technology, if there is a choice between ASL and CC (closed captioning) Ruth prefers CC.  She says, "after all, English is my first language."  (ASL is it's own language, with it's own sentence structures. It is not English in sign)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Esteem hearing implant

I have recently heard of a new hearing implant. It is called the Esteem Hearing Implant. From the little I've been  able to read, it sounds amazing! The website also explains how it works.

Here is a video of a woman (Sarah) when her Esteem was first turned on:
My confusion was in how clear her speech is. Apparently, she just had really good SLP's and has always had pretty clear speech.  She explains it here:
Like a hearing aid, she can still turn it off (like her husband snores and so she turns it off at night).

This costs $30,000 per ear. (much less than a cochlear), but insurance does not cover it. If you watch the video, you see that Envoy (the company that makes Esteem) paid for Sarah's second ear and paid her back for the cost of the first one.

Let me know what you have heard about it.  It sounds like a miracle to me!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Unfair Hearing test

I had to listen to one similar to this for my audiologic rehabilitation class.  How did you do? I love how this helps put us in the shoes of those we are helping.