Wednesday, July 4

Career Development

Yesterday I had the opportunity to job shadow a few speech-language pathologists who work specifically with youth (0-18) and still get paid (oh, career development). I can't reveal anything about the cases I sat in on however I did get to participate in therapy of two small children, one working on speech development (focusing on certain consonants or sounds) and another on social interaction. I also observed a session that was being taped for a new theory of treatment out of the States and watched a swallow exam for an infant. Swallow exams sounded the least interesting to me however, the film was made by a radiologist so the food was visible from the time enters the childs mouth for the entire path it takes to the stomach.

The facility included occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists and childworkers. The offices were crawling with toys, books and materials to engage children and work on everything from coordination to comparisons and pronouns and even had a fully wheelchair accessible apartment in the building where young people can practice independence.

The staff were up to date on fairly recent research and, for example, work very closely with autistic children just to get them to engage. The idea is to use nonverbal communication forcing them to look at the face of the therapist/playmate (something often of little interest to autistic children) for cues of when to act, how to act: help pickup the toys (shake head and frown) no not the truck, (smile and nod vigorously) yes, the elephant (wave the child over).

It was nothing I had expected and so much more rewarding. Is it worth 3 more years of school? Am I really scared of a thesis? I just want to have an education and be involved in a field that contributes to society, that helps others.

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