I am an Assistant Professor at Marshall University. I am proud to be a speech-language pathologist because I love helping students develop into outstanding professionals. The biggest challenge I face as an SLP is helping to ensure that future clinicians are well-prepared to work within the entire scope of practice and 'at the top of their license.'
I am proud to be a speech-language pathologist because I get to open up so many doors with the introduction or expansion of language/communicative abilities. It is an honor to have the skill set to work in this field. The biggest challenges I face as a speech-language pathologist is lack of reimbursement from insurances, the reduction of pay as a professional, and the overstepping of ABA therapy in our field. It has been told to me that ABA is better than speech therapy for both feeding and communication by their therapists. That, even though I have a degree is communication, that I 'don’t know what communication is' and that I 'need to learn from ABA'. This is a continual issue that needs to be addressed. We need ASHA to fight for us and our treating rights as SLPs, not sit back and let others do our work. Or think they can do our work. Virginia is a great example. They wish to allow those without a masters degree or even a specific CSD degree to provide services. This is not allowable and it is hard to conintually practice without seeing a governing body fight for SLPs.
I am proud to be a speech-language pathologist because I provide a valuable service to people of all ages and make a marked difference in their lives. The biggest challenge I face as a speech-language pathologist is unmanageable caseloads in the schools. So much time is taken up by paperwork (documentation, writing IEPs, eval reports, and progress notes, Medicaid billing) and meetings, students don't get the personalized attention and therapy that they need and deserve.
Although I am now retired, I am very proud of my career as an SLP because I know that I have helped thousands of students to improve their speech and language skills, making a real difference in their lives. The biggest challenge for me as a school SLP was caseload size. In PA the cap is 65 students, and I often had that many or more. It is not possible to be as effective with that large a caseload. I know that when my caseloads were smaller, I had more time to individualize for my students to help them to meet their goals faster.
Being an SLP has many learning opportunities. One can only help patients or clients when one takes advantage of those opportunities to learn. I love always learning about new developments in our field. I’m proud to learn and apply to serve my patients. This then leads to Question 2: Besides the usual challenges with reimbursement and caseload etc- my biggest challenge is keeping up to date with the literature. There are new developments every day. New research every day. It is a challenge to keep up when one is supposed to be proficient in all disorders. Not everyone has the opportunity to develop an expertise in one area. I refer to colleagues when necessary because I just can’t treat all disorders such as stuttering or voice. Sometimes one has to say ‘I’m not the best choice (clinician) for your problem.’
We contribute meaningfully to our patients lives. Getting the word out that we need to address our patients' pain management communication. Ask yourself: If my patient had emergency surgery today, could they express their pain management needs after surgery or would they suffer until medication adjustment through trial and error took place?
I am proud to be a speech-language pathologist or audiologist because…..I help others build bridges across their communication chasms. I have the respect of the community because we have excellent reputations. I team together with parents and professionals to help a child be the best he or she can be! The biggest challenge I face as an audiologist or speech-language pathologist is…In the area of oromyofunctional therapy and tethered oral tissues because there is not enough training for SLPs at our convention and there is very little awareness that these are valid issues to address. Then when I am someone who is aware and observing these issues in most of my clients with articulation issues, I have difficulty with reimbursement issues, how to build a team of providers without overwhelming the client because often the issues are more than speech (sleep disordered breathing, tethered oral tissues, tongue too big for the mouth, etc). Insurance won't reimburse for much of these issues and we need advocacy for them to cover all of these services because we are preventing disease and disorders down the road. We need ASHA to team together with the other professional organizations to push for coverage of frenulectomies, mouthguards that address more than TMD/TMJ.
I am proud to be a speech-language pathologist because I believe communication and swallowing are inherent human rights. As SLPs, we are the experts in these areas and we can help others to live the best quality of life possible. The biggest challenge I face as a speech-language pathologist is that very few people, even colleagues, know our value in what we do. I feel am constantly having to repeat myself while advocating for my profession. Advocating for SLPs and audiologists in a clear and concise way on a large scale would be beneficial for all!
I am proud to be a speech- language pathologist because I am able to provide children the opportunity to improve their communication skills on a daily basis. Children who have articulation disorders which adversely affects everything from their self-esteem to effectively understanding phonemic awareness skills which can inhibit their literacy achievement. Children who have language disorders and cannot fully grasp understanding of what is being told to them or express themselves in grammatically targeted sentences. Children who speak with blocks, whole word, or part word repetitions and do not understand why. Children who cannot socially engage with their peers or others due to pragmatic difficulties. Finally, children who are nonverbal and are in need of someone giving them a voice through AAC. I am proud to be that person who can provide support to these children in so many ways each and every day. The biggest challenge I face as a speech-language pathologist is finding time to handle my growing schedule of 50+ students I see weekly, keep up with paperwork, and billing services.
I am proud to be a speech-language pathologist or audiologist because I truly love making a difference in the lives of other. My goal is to provide a better quality of life to people with communication deficits and break down barriers. The biggest challenge I face as an audiologist or speech-language pathologist is overall lack of awareness. I and many other therapists don’t feel supported by school administration. Because therapists tend to be a smaller group compared to that of general education staff, we often get overlooked during bargaining agreements through our union. I feel like caseload numbers are beyond ridiculous especially for our expected workload. I find the amount of unnecessary paperwork to be outrageous and a waste of time. This is time that could better be spent helping students. If I were given more time, I could better support students and educate others about my role. To this day, a lot of people in the schools are very unaware of the role we play. I sometimes cringe when I hear from a staff member talking to a parent that ______ will go see the speech teacher. In our district, National Board Certification is given to teachers. However, I am not in anyway compensated for all of the extra hours and certifications I’ve taken (well over NBC). As a matter of fact I accrued over 150 CEU’s on SpeechPathology.com before deciding to go from a contract to a district position. The district would not honor these as clock hours because they are in 0.1 credit increments. The state of Washington/OSPI, does not honor these hours unless they are 3 or more credits. I am amazed because there is such a shortage of SLP’s. I would think that school districts would do everything they can to retain the number of qualified therapists they have working. Instead, I find my team of therapists (including myself) feel undervalued, not supported, and overworked. They have at least 3 counselors for each of my schools and yet we have 1 SLP that travels between multiple schools. Other employees have time to have breaks and lunch but we often do not get this time. Each counselor and nurse has their own space to work and yet every year I am having to fight for space in my buildings. A lot of good therapists get burned out less than halfway through the year. Anyway, sorry to rant, but these are a few of the many things I am up against as an SLP.
I am proud to be a speech-language pathologist because it has given me the opportunity early on to advocate and work with pioneers in developing alternative communication for those individuals who had no means of communication. As the years have gone by, I have been privileged to be associated with various Universities to provide learning sites for graduate students in the field. My career has been diverse giving me the ability to travel and work across the United States and meet so many interesting people. Hopefully I can continue to challenge the field in providing services in unique ways and inspiring others to carry on. The biggest challenge I face as a speech-language pathologist is convincing others that our services cross all aspects of a person’s life whether it be within the educational setting, transitioning to adulthood, or taking into consideration home/work, and end of life. Being compartmentalized limits our vision of how far we can help our clients. I relish the ability to work with other disciplines such as robotic engineers, computer scientists, occupational therapists, bio engineers, and physical therapists. Through collaboration we are only as limited to help people as our imagination.
I am proud to be a speech-language pathologist because I have the ability to give children and adults a voice. The power to communicate is something we often take for granted and as an SLP I have the power to alleviate the communication challenges many people face. I currently work at a school district in Pennsylvania. I have been at this school for almost 3 years now. On weekends and in the summer I PRN at different skilled nursing facilities and out patient clinics across all of PA. I find that doing this helps keep my skills current and has allowed me to help in a different way. There are days when I don’t feel extremely successful, days when I feel like the AAC device I’m using with a student just isn’t the right fit, or days when my patients at nursing facilities have to be changed to a purée diet for their safety. Days when I just can’t figure out exactly what path to take to ensure a child/adult reaches their goals; but there are also days when I see the look on a parents face after their child has said “mommy” or “daddy” for the first time. There are moments when a student spontaneously uses their voice output device to communicate and moments when family members thank me for how I’ve helped. These are the moments I’m most proud of and these are the times that keep me most excited to be an SLP. The biggest challenge I face as a speech-language pathologist is a misunderstanding or lack of understanding about my scope of practice and general job duties. Each day it seems like I am fighting a small battle explaining what it is I’m doing or why I’m doing it, or simply why I can’t do something someone is suggesting. I feel that these battles are faced because very few people truly understand what a typical day in the life of an SLP is like. When I tell colleagues that I PRN on weekends at hospitals and nursing homes they are often perplexed as to what I would even do there. Even doctors or other professionals do not truly understand what it is we, as SLPs, do on a day to day basis. There are very few people that I know who simply understand what SLP stands for.... and this in itself is challenging. I am called “speech teacher” on a regular basis by professionals, parents, colleagues and students and though that’s not entirely incorrect, it’s not exactly accurate and really takes away from everything we do as SLPs. It seems like the majority of people think we simply correct lisps and r sounds, when in reality there’s a long, long list in our scope of practice.
I am proud to be a speech pathologist for the same reasons that most would say. More pressing on my mind are the challenges that we as practitioners in the field face across healthcare and educational settings. At this time, I don't think that I would advise someone to pursue a career in this field. I think many drastic changes need to be made in order to provide long term satisfaction to speech pathologists in this country. Considering my current work setting of outpatient pediatrics, I think the biggest challenge that is faced is the way that the healthcare system functions. Employer expectations for productivity continue to increase, resulting in decreased job satisfaction and increased stress for speech pathologists. Patient care is seen by employers as only a dollar amount of revenue. As a result, any non-billable time allocated for care such as phone calls, emails, treatment preparation, report writing, or research is seen as having little to no value. This results in lower quality care provided across the board. Insurance companies are trying whatever they can to make it more difficult for healthcare providers to provide care. Restriction is the business model that allows them to profit. I firmly believe that this system is immoral and that we need universal health care. In my opinion, reforming the healthcare system should be one of ASHA's top lobbying priorities.
I am proud to be a speech-language pathologist or audiologist because….. I have provided services to adults with I & DD for over 40 years. I offer services that may provide people with an augmentative/alternative mode of communication, giving voice to people who are often not heard. The assessment and funding process for SGD’s is very time consuming, reimbursement is not always there for the all the time it takes to complete the process, however the rewards are many when the process is complete and a SGD is obtained. The biggest challenge I face as an audiologist or speech-language pathologist is… that funding services for adults with I & DD were typically funded through our county programs in the state of Ohio. New laws have changed and limited or stopped any funding that was provided for speech pathology services. There are minimal services available in the community for adults that receive Medicaid. I am not sure what the immediate future holds for adults with I & DD who could benefit from our services. I have many people that I currently see and have no recommendations where they can continue to receive services when I retire.
I am proud to be a speech language pathologist. As an SLP, we help others to achieve a basic human right - the ability to communicate. Communication is what connects us to each other and having the ability to functionally communicate is a vital part of everything we do in life. I am currently an assistant professor teaching the next generation of SLPs. Working with both undergrad and graduate students as well as sharing my passion for this field is a joy every day. The biggest challenge I face occurs when advocating for student education and the advocacy for evidenced-based, ethical, and legally defensible practices that our profession is required to provide across the lifespan to those we serve. In a complex world, difficulties like lack of financial support for our endeavors (service provision, education, and research) creates multifaceted problems. These challenges often create conflicting and competing missions in our organizations and institutions. These problems require us to collaboratively confront these problems without fear to properly understand the issues and create viable solutions. Yet further challenges are faced when leaders in our organizations show lack of knowledge and, all too often, respect for our field. Thus, advocating for our profession, those we serve, as well as the students we educate, in what sometimes feels like an increasingly troubled world has been the greatest challenge I have faced in my 26 years as an SLP.