As SLPs, we have one of the BEST jobs in the world. Seriously. We help people communicate–what could be cooler than that?! We teach vocabulary to children in school so they can access the curriculum and collaborate with their peers. We give alternative methods to verbal communication by teaching a child with Autism how to use a communication device. We help retrain a stroke patient’s brain in order to learn how to speak again. We teach correct articulation production so that a child can be understood by those around him.
We are making positive changes in our students’/patients’ lives every single day. Every. Single. Day. However… it is really easy to get wrapped up in all the downsides of our job.. as a school-based therapist, maybe it’s the 4 new students that just got added to your already-too-large caseload.. or the 7 annual IEPs that are due next week, or the meeting that got changed that no one told you about, or the 65 progress notes that need to be completed… or all of the above!! With so many demands placed on us, it’s easy to get discouraged. But, in spite of all that, we have one of the most amazing and rewarding jobs you could ask for. I really, truly, believe that. Those little breakthrough moments where your students/patients have those “aha!” moments are what makes all those not-so-great things about our job bearable.
Today, I decided to make myself reminders of why I do what I do to keep me going and keep me inspired on the days that are harder than others. I started writing down all the positives I could think of that had happened with my students over the last week or two.
One of my little guys on the spectrum said my name for the very first time, and then wouldn’t stop turning around, looking at me, saying my name, and giggling! 🙂 My little one with Down Syndrome used a few words spontaneously at center time with no modeling!
A couple kids I’m doing Cycles with got their L sound in isolation & in syllables. Another one who’s been working on the /f/ sound for forever said “four” and “five” with a BEAUTIFUL /f/ at the beginning, independently while he was counting! Another one of my students who is suspected to be on the Spectrum came over to me at centers and made lots of eye contact showing me her toys, and kept touching me if I turned away, to get me to turn back and interact with her. She didn’t even acknowledge that I was right in front of her at the start of the school year.
My goal is to write down at least one positive thing that happens each day and place it in a box, so when I’m feeling stressed out & like a failure SLP (because let’s face it, we ALL have those frustrating days where it feels like no one is making progress!), I can open the box, read through the positives, and remind myself of the big smiles those kids had on their face when I was so excited about their breakthrough moments. And, to remind myself that the work I’m doing with my students is too important to be bogged down by all the other things.
Helping people is the reason we all got into this profession… And a daily reminder of that never hurts 🙂
What’s something positive that happened to YOU today?