Putting back on the Speech-Pathologist Hat

I started back to work part-time today. I’ll be working every Monday and Friday from 8:00am to 3:00pm. (My kids will be at Kindergarten/Parent’s Day Out on Monday’s, and Kindergarten/home with their dad on his off day on Fridays.)

Early indications are that my job is going to be great! I’m working for an early intervention program (I had a job with a similar agency in Dallas before Ryan was born and LOVED it), doing speech evaluations and therapy with children from birth through age three. It is a home based program, so I’ll travel to homes all over Lubbock and the surrounding towns.

I am often asked, “Why would you do speech therapy with babies? They don’t talk!”

The short answer is that SLP’s (speech-language pathologist’s) evaluate and treat much more than just speech sounds. We work with speech, language, feeding, voice, cognition, and sensory disorder issues, as well as children with facial or oral anomalies such as cleft palate.

The long answer is that even the smallest babies can communicate (with their eyes, mouths, reactions, reflexes, etc), and when they do not demonstrate any kind of communication there is usually a reason for concern. Also, I will likely have little ones on my caseload who have been on feeding tubes and need to learn to eat by mouth. I may also have babies who were born severely premature and spent significant time in the NICU. These families often need support regarding how to best stimulate their baby toward language development, in spite of the likely medical challenges they will be facing with their child. When a child is dependent on several machines to breathe and eat, parents use an incredible amount of mental energy keeping them healthy and alive. Sometimes these parents need help to establish normal routines and interactions with their child. My job is incredibly rewarding! I love working in the home environment, because I get to work with the entire family. I also enjoy the other professionals I work with, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, pediatric nurses, social workers, dietitians, and early intervention specialists.

I haven’t worked for almost four months, and the SLP section of my brain feels a bit rusty. So even if no one reads to the end of this post, maybe it at least helped me “grease up” that part of my brain and get it going again!

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