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7 Reasons Why School SLPs don’t like being called “Speech Teachers

As I finish up my third year of working as an SLP in the school setting, I still haven’t come to terms with this term. I’ve worked in private practices and SNFs on the side and I feel that I am more respected and valued in those environments; which shouldn’t be the case.

1) “You do more than speech?” A questions I’ve heard one too many times. Because the term “speech” is used to denote the components of vocal activity such as, articulation, voice, phonology, resonance, and fluency. In today’s world, if you were to ask a stranger “What do SLPs do?” their answer would most likely including working with people in one of those areas. However, that doesn’t even skim the surface of everything we do.

2) You’re leaving out the LANGUAGE part. Probably our most important job in some cases. This includes what you can understand (receptive language) and what you can produce (expressive language). I am not only speaking of verbal language, we also do non-verbal, total communication (gestures, eye gaze, sign language, pictures, writing), and everything in between.

3) Because A & P. Oh yeah, and we had to pass a couple anatomy and physiology classes too because we handle anything and everything to do with swallowing as well. Even in the school setting, we are watching out for that tongue thruster, (under the radar of course) and making referrals to pediatricians when need be.

4) We have our master’s degree. I know, “How dare I.” Teachers are not REQUIRED to possess their master’s degree; most of the great ones do, however. I am simply saying, we have it and we earned it.

5) We have our CCC’s. Clinical Certificate of Competence. We have spent a great deal of time and effort to earn this label to write behind our name. (I used to doodle my name imagining what it must feel like to accomplish such a thing.) Our national organization, ASHA, gives us this label to represent our validity and status as an SLP and it is an honor to possess.

6) We are not teachers. Plain and simple, we have different skill sets. I am not claiming to know more or act better than anyone, but we’re different. Honestly, I don’t think I could handle all those kids at once and the rigorous standards they are held to.

7) No one does what we do. We are the ONLY professional working in the school setting that is required not only to assess, diagnose, treat, and prevent speech and language disorders, but we are required to be case managers of our students as well. We manage high caseloads (the normal caseload is around 60 students) all the while, we are scheduling meetings, emailing parents, planning sessions, taking data, writing reports, progress monitoring, doing formal evaluations, collaborating with OT, PT, teachers, and the psychologists, fitting in some RTI time…I could go on and on.

I hope this helps you identify the difference between teachers and speech language
pathologists! What do you think about the name?
Speech Me Maybe
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1 comment:

  1. I LOVE THIS POST! Almost everyone is my family always tells people I am a teacher. I am always correcting them and they do not understand why.


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