decisions decisions

20 May

I was chatting with an SLP gal pal of mine today (who is super smart and happens to attend Gallaudet – kill me now please) and discussing the vast array of options we have in our professional lives.

Everytime we take a class, go to a conference, talk with a colleague – we are literally PLAGUED by this constantly growing, every changing field and the opportunities it presents to us.

First you’ve got environment to deal with.

There’s schools. But not just schools. You’ve got First Steps, Headstart, and Early Childhood Education Centers. You’ve got elementary, middle school, and highschool. Then you’ve got special school districts to contend with. Oh, and you could likely work for private schools as well. No big deal.

Then you’ve got the hospital setting. Do you want to do rehab? Acute care? Long term acute care? Skilled nursing? Long term/nursing home? Home care? NICU? Outpatient? Polytrauma/VA? Pediatrics/Children?

Don’t forget that you could just work for any private rehab company, you could have a private practice, you could outsource yourself, you could do telepractice, you could work in a university clinic, you could work for uniformed services, public health agencies, or even be a consultant for private companies.

OR you could teach, be a professor, do research, be a speech-hearing scientist. You can go get your Ph.D!

So that’s all fine and dandy. But then you gotta think in terms of population.

Do you want to work with babies, toddlers, preschoolers, school-age kids? Do you want to work with children who only have speech and language issues? Or do you want to work with children with special needs/multiple disabilities? How about middle-schoolers, high-schoolers? Maybe you’d prefer working with adults. Do you want to work with adults with developmental disabilities, accent modification, acquired disabilities? Heck you could even work with people who are transitioning/transgender. Do you want to work with the middle-aged? Maybe you’d like to work with the elderly!

Then again, maybe you think in terms of disorder.

Maybe you have an inclination towards voice. Or stuttering. Or maybe you only want to do phonology and articulation. You could really love AAC/AT! Or maybe you lean towards the neuro-motor side of things: dysarthria, dyspraxia, dysphagia. Some people are really into social communication, socio-linguistics, pragmatics. You could ONLY work with clients who have stroke, or dementia, or TBI. Maybe you’re really into oro-facial anomalies and you want to go live in Venezuela and help kiddos who have cleft palate and lip.

Once an SLP told me that she literally only worked with 2 year olds. THAT’S IT. Nothing else. 2 year olds. This field is INSANE. You can actually, genuinely do ANYTHING you want.

My problem is I want to do it all. And I can’t. Where do I even start? How could I possibly choose?

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