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The Rewarding Work of Speech-Language Pathologists


Kathy Mullin, Speech-Language Pathologist, Speech Department, Horizon's Saint John Regional Hospital

Communication with the people around us is a skill most of us take for granted.

But what would your life be like if you could not communicate with the people you love or individuals you meet in your community every day?

Speech-language pathologists are specially trained to help children and adults who are experiencing obstacles or impairments to their communication skills.

I asked some of my colleagues to share why they decided to become speech-language pathologists and some of their care "wins."

Here is what they said:

  • One colleague told me she had a cousin who was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He needed very specialized help in order to learn how to interact with other people and to express his needs with words. His success became the inspiration for her to help other children who struggled to connect with the people they loved because of their speech and language limitations.
  • Another colleague said her mother's friend was in a car accident and lost her ability to speak. After a long period of rehabilitation and many months of treatment with a speech-language pathologist, she regained her speaking ability. One of her greatest achievements during her recovery was going to the bank and successfully communicating her needs to a teller. She knew she would be able to function independently once again.
  • One speech-language pathologist described the satisfaction of working with children who stutter and the joy of helping parents who were at a loss to know what to do.
  • Another colleague described the gratitude expressed by a patient who was struggling to swallow and benefitted from the expert advice he provided.
  • A teacher who was off work due to a voice disorder thanked her speech-language pathologist for helping her improve her voice quality and get back to teaching.
  • During her very first session with a toddler, a speech-language pathologist helped him use the word "Go!" while playing with cars and a garage. His mother said, "That's the first word I've heard him use!" His vocabulary just kept growing after that.

Speech-language pathologists work every day to help people communicate and connect with the people they love. Their work requires strong interpersonal skills, empathy, good problem-solving skills, creativity combined with their specialized knowledge. They develop individualized programs for people with a variety of communication difficulties. It is rewarding work.

During Speech & Hearing Month, join us in celebrating the good work of our speech-language pathologists!

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