Sunday, February 15, 2015

Chicken Soup for the SLP Soul

Imagine this scenario:
You’re a first year SLP—ready to take on the world after 6 years of school including 2 years of practicums behind you.  You’re a little nervous about being out on your own, but confident enough to know that while you don’t know it all, you know enough to be plenty competent in order to do your job.  You’re ecstatic that you’ve landed your first job!

Then... “Oh by the way, these several parents of children on your caseload are not happy because their kids didn’t get the services they should have last year.  It happened before you ever came and is something you had absolutely nothing to do with, but you’ll need to put out some of these fires.” 

Um.. What?! That was terrifying for me as a shy, quiet, first-year SLP trying to get my sea legs! I had no idea what I was walking into!

One of these particular students who didn’t receive consistent services that year was a little girl with Apraxia.  Her teacher had told me that the year before, she basically “squawked” because she had such difficulty with her speech. 

I first met the freckle-faced cutie pie with Apraxia at a “Meet the Teacher” night before school started.  She was a bit shy, but we were able to talk a little bit, and I adored her right off the bat! Then, I chatted with her mom and she asked about my previous experience.  Cue hundreds of butterflies in my stomach as I desperately tried to remain confident when saying that it was my first year.  I figured after the prior school year's debacle and some lack of speech progress the year before, that a brand-spankin’ new, first-year SLP was probably not what she was hoping for!

The night went well enough, but I was still really nervous about the whole situation when I got home that night.  My husband gave me a pep talk, though, and told me, “Just do your job, and they’ll have to love you.  You’re awesome! You got this” (Thanks, hubs!)

So, that’s what I did.  I "did my job," and both me and that little girl worked our tails off that year.

I remember the day when she finally mastered the /y/ sound we had been working on.  She had a w/y substitution, so the word “yeah” always came out “wah.”  To show off, her teacher and I asked her questions like, “Are you beautiful?” “Are you smart?” “Are you funny?”  It was so fun to see her just beaming with pride and self-confidence, answering "yeah" or “yes” to all of those questions.  She never seemed to struggle with /y/ after that! ;-)

I'll never forget when her /L/ sound popped into a word one day, too. Her name had an L in it, so it was a pretty big deal! I remembered her mom telling me at the beginning of the year that whenever someone would ask her daughter's name, that her daughter would turn to her and ask her to say it, because she said she "couldn't say it right" Well, let me tell you-- She was rockin’ those /L/ sounds like nobody’s business by Spring!

About a year or so later, in May 2013, on the first official Apraxia Awareness Day, I stood next to her mom at the kindergarten graduation program. She gave me the sweet card pictured above, letting me know how much she appreciated me and the difference I’d made in her family's lives (I still keep it in my desk, and pull it out to re-read on the extra tough days for a smile!).  Together, we stood there, and watched that same freckle-faced cutie who used to squawk and be embarrassed to even attempt to say her name, sing with her peers in her end of the year kindergarten graduation program.

And that moment, right there, is why I am an SLP. Moments like that far outweigh the negatives, and I can't imagine doing anything else for a career!

Want more stories to warm your heart or make you laugh? Hop on over to the next blog, and keep reading! Don’t forget to keep collecting numbers at the end of each post so you can add them all up at the end and enter into the raffle for some AWESOME TpT gift certificates!   My number is:

Happy Hopping!

Thanks Felice at Thedabblingspeechie for organizing this awesome hop, and thanks to all of these ladies who shared their sweet stories!


  1. What a wonderful story! I remember that painful feeling of being new and knowing that was not the answer some parents/teachers wanted! I too have several pictures and cards that I keep in my desk to lift me up. Thanks for sharing one of your sweet stories! Emily

  2. That "new" feeling is hard, but the feeling of gratitude from parents doesn't compare! I loved your story!


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