A Little About Me and This Blog

I have been a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) since 1987. I am a member of the American Speech and Hearing Association. I have worked in the states of New York, Hawaii and Florida. I am currently in New York State. I have worked in settings that include public schools, special education preschools, hospitals, adult day treatment programs, home health rehabilitation, early intervention and preschool homebased therapy. I have provided evaluation and therapy to people ranging in age from 6 months to 100 years. I have worked with a wide range of conditions and treatments including fluency, aphasia, apraxia, voice disorders, dysphagia, cleft palate, hearing impairment, articulation delay, language delay, augmentative/alternative communication, autism, and many others through the years.
The purpose of this Blog is to share information and answer questions that you may have. I will strive to provide the correct information to the best of my professional knowledge. I may not share the same professional opinion as other licensed speech pathologists and I encourage second opinions if you want to be as informed as possible.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Day in the Life of a Speech Pathologist

      Today was my first day back to work following the Christmas Vacation.  I thought I'd share with you a little timeline of my day.  Every day is so different, I'll share one of my totally different sort of days another time.

     I dropped my son off at the high school at 7:15.  I arrived at the Intermediate School by 7:30 after stopping for a large coffee.  Our school building has 4th and 5th graders only.  I turned on the computer and logged on to the Online IEP site. An IEP is an Individualized Education Plan and it is the document that contains the test results, goals and other relevant information about the students.

  I spent the next hour on the computer.  I first entered the attendance for the month of December for my Medicaid eligible students into the related service log of each student's online IEP.   Next, I realized that it was January and the second quarter progress codes needed to be entered  on each goal for all 26 of my kids with IEP's. This online program takes at least half of the time off of "paperwork" like this.  I only work at this school 17 hours a week, so 26 kids is quite a few.  I also have 8 kids that receive "speech improvement" and do not have an IEP. 

I had finished entering the progress codes (NP for no progress, SP for some progress, PS for progressing satisfactorily etc...) and had enough time to check school emails like the Principal's weekly newsletter and general requests from teachers for things.  I then wrote an email to all of the teachers that had my students in their classes.  I told them that I had to get started on annual review testing because I had half of my kids with early meetings this year.  They are scheduled for February 24 &25th which is much earlier than we are used to.  A change in Committee for Special Education scheduling caused this change for us.  Onced I hit send, the 8:30 bell rang.  This bell releases kids to their classrooms and to breakfast.  I take a Breakfast Club group of speech improvement kids to work on sounds 'r' 's' and 'th' during this first half hour of the day before morning announcements and the school day technically begins.  These kids do not have an IEP, so I don't feel right seeing them during the school day.  Kids with an IEP have a documented time out of regular education slated for their therapy sessions. 

The day is broken into half hour intervals for most pathologists. From 8:30 am until 2 pm were my 10 time slots for today.  This is my longest day at the school.  Other days I am only here about 3 hours.  Here is how the rest of my day played out.

9-9:30 I pushed into a reading class that I have 5 language students in.  A typical lesson in here is reading a chapter in a book and answering comprehension questions.  Today we also worked on combining sentences such as The girl is running.  The boy is running.  The girl and boy are running.  OR They are running. 
9:30-10 I typically push into a reading class with a boy with Asperger's.  Today I pulled him out for a little testing.  He has trouble with things like use of idioms, metaphors, similies etc.
10-11 I pushed into a collaborative teaching classroom during English/Language Arts time.  Mondays is the beginning of a spelling list week.  They get a list of words, write these words into sentences, practice writing them in cursive, alphabetize them and copy them onto a list to study at home.  During the rest of this time I provide lessons that directly address the goals of the students in there that are on my caseload.  There are 7 in this particular group. 
11-11:30 I pulled a student from his classroom for testing.
11:30-12 I see a small group of three kids in my therapy room.  They are working on a variety of things, but the group works well together.  One student leaves off all plural and possessive "s" markers and used the wrong tense in his spoken and written expression.  The other boy in the group needs work on social skills involving conversation rules and socially appropriate topics and skills.  The girl in this group needs to speak more loudly, provide longer and more complete answers and learn to use more descriptive words in her speaking and writing.  Today was a conversation about vacation and Christmas presents.
12-12:30 I had a break.  I spent this time going through all of my files to find information for a parent I met on twitter that has a child in need of speech therapy. I was unable to make any copies for her though since the copy machine ran out of toner with all the teachers using it this morning. Grabbed a cereal bar while I looked through files.
12:30-1 I pulled another student for some testing.
1-1:30  Yet more testing. 
1:30-2 Back on the computer to go into the IEP site again.  This time I had to sign off on two therapists' attendance.  In our district there are two therapists and two pathologists.  I am the supervisor of the two therapists and I have to sign off on all of their testing, therapy, attendance, etc. 
2-2:30 Worked with two students who have Aspergers.  Great session on idioms.  One of them has caught on a bit that they are not meaning what they sound like.   The other student is so literal, he can not yet get past it. It was fun though.
2:30 I left the school...but I was not done working yet!
2:45-3:15 I worked in a home with a 4 year old who has recently had his tongue clipped.  He needs retraining in saying many words now that he has more tongue mobility.  We are working on 't' and 'd' as well as 's'  He previously made these sounds way in the back of his mouth...uses g for d for example.
3:30-4 I worked with a 2 year old boy in his home.  He is just starting to use words and we are noticing that he leaves off all initial consonants.  We are addressing this as well as increasing vocabulary and having him be able to follow more directions. 
4:00....Headed home to make dinner. Evening activities begin.

This was my first day back after a very relaxing vacation.  I honestly do not have any brain power left to write an in depth, educational post today.  Hopefully tomorrow I will be back in the swing of things! 


  1. that was a busy day... you see a lot of children in one day... gives me a lot more respect for the speech teachers that worked with me and with my son. Thank you for everything you do.

  2. God bless you for posting this. Wow. Thank you.

    1. Thank you for this. I am considering a career in speech pathology and appreciate all intel!

  3. Thankyou for posting this.

    I'm an incoming senior in high school and have been thinking about going into this field. I've always loved working with children and after reading a lot about this career I think it's right for me. I was wondering if it would be okay if i asked you some question via email to get a better idea of what you do and what you had to do to get to where you are at. Again thank you and I hope you can help me.

    1. Hi Karina,
      I would be happy to answer any questions you may have. There are so many settings a speech pathologist can work in. I have worked in most! My email address is beajvw@gmail.com I look forward to chatting with you!

  4. Hello Brenda,
    I am going back to school and I was strongly considering Speech Therapy. I was wondering if you would have time to talk a little bit and answer any questions I may have. Let me know!


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