Children — that is what school SLPs are all about! When I was asked to guest post here at The Speech Bubble while Maureen was taking a break from blogging for her new addition, I was so excited to be able to participate. Not only do I appreciate being able to reach out to some new SLPs, I just am always happy when I hear that an SLP is starting a new adventure as a parent. Here are some musings from a fellow SLP mom.
Our very thorough academic backgrounds give us a lot of developmental information about how children grow and a deep understand of childhood disabilities and how to remediate them, but there is truly no experience like being a parent yourself. Don’t get me wrong, we are perfectly able to be excellent, supportive SLPS without having a child, but no one can truly understand how demanding the job of parenting is without experiencing it themselves. I found it just added to my expertise, but most importantly, gave me great joy!
What difference does this make, you might ask? I have found that it gives me that extra bit of patience when dealing with the parents of my special education students about an issue when I don’t understand their perspectives. I know how rewarding, yet difficult, the job of raising children can be, but I don’t know how difficult it is for the parents of this child, with this disability, given their skill set, on a daily basis. So, I try to understand and realize that true comprehension may not be possible. Although I had compassion before becoming a parent, it helped me personally to continue to be patient with my students and their parents after living the life.
Our jobs with children, as SLPs and as parents, is to help them grow up to be the most capable, independent people that they are able to be. This is the reason that I believe we benefit from collaborating with our fellow educators and doing our best to incorporate our IEP goals into the bigger picture of where we want our students to be, and what we want them to be able to be doing, in the years to come. It’s a little scary to start thinking about that big picture when we are new SLPs, or new parents, and are just figuring out the day to day stuff, but it can be helpful, too!
When you make a mistake, and we all do, just ask yourself, “Will I remember this at the end of the year?” Generally, our answer is “No,” but we learn from our mistakes and try a different way next time. So, to the new SLPs, the new parents, and anyone with a new beginning out there, give yourself a break when you make a mistake if it isn’t vital to the big scheme of things!
To read more about how I use this train of thought when doing baseline monitoring, along with practical tips, check out this post on my blog. Thanks again to The Speech Bubble for offering this opportunity and congratulations!