In this week’s blog we thought we would talk a little about our jobs. We both feel privileged to work with children and their families and hopefully help and give useful guidance. But the job entails much more than the face to face time spent with the children and as with any job there are highs and lows!
Things we love about our job
– The reason we went into this profession, is because we wanted to help and there are certainly many rewards! There are few things better than helping a child make a sound they couldn’t before, hearing them use the sound or word you have been working on spontaneously or watching them use signs or symbols to communicate that they hadn’t before. This is a fantastic feeling and never gets old.
– Being able to discharge a child because they no longer need you. Admittedly also a little sad, but great that they no longer need speech therapy.
– A lovely knock on effect from the work we do can be improved confidence. When a child knows that their speech is improving and more people understand them, they may start to offer answers in class or want to take part in plays. It’s lovely when a teacher comes and tells you the child is talking more and joining in with class discussions or that a child can sit and listen better and understands more instructions.
– Having the opportunity to work with other professionals, for example Occupational Therapists, Specialist Teachers, and Educational Psychologists. I have had the pleasure of working with a fantastic Specialist Teacher and the experience of working together has changed the way I write targets and programmes for schools and given me a much better understanding of the curriculum and demands placed on teachers.
– There is always new research and better understanding of the processes behind speech and language acquisition, so you are always learning new things. You don’t feel stuck doing the same things as there are always new ideas. Sometimes it might be as simple as working with a child where your normal strategies don’t work, so you have to start from scratch and think up some new ideas.
Challenges of the job
– Travelling. I really don’t need to know how many hours a day I spend in my car and how many lunches I have eaten sat in it! This is however a necessity to get to see the children.
– Admin and paperwork. We have to write notes after each session, reports, targets, programmes, score assessments, meetings, training, send and answer emails and try and find the time for phone calls as well! This can be very useful (well some of it), but is very time consuming. I can spend a whole evening just responding to emails!
– Not having the skills you need …..yet! It is tricky when you find yourself in a session and you don’t know what to do. But it just means you have to go away and find out!
– One of the hardest parts of our job is giving people difficult news and it never gets easier. You may have to explain that the child has a bigger difficulty than initially thought and that they may not ‘catch up’, you may be the first professional to mention specialist schooling to a family or just that this difficulty is going to take longer to get better. Giving this type of news sensitively to a family is always tricky.
– When things go wrong and the circumstances aren’t ideal. Now, anyone with children knows that circumstances are often less than ideal, but some are better than others! For us it’s restrictions like a school only letting you in to see a child at 2.30pm on a Friday when they are exhausted, or the child just not being ready for therapy yet. Maybe the family you are trying to support can’t access the right services. These sorts of restrictions just feel like they slow down progress.
Overall I still love my job and can’t see myself doing anything else, but some days can be so frustrating! What do you love about the job, or not!?