“Devote yourself to your community around you and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.” – Mitch Albom
As a school-based speech language pathologist, or SLP, you have the opportunity to work with diverse children of all ages with wide ranging skills and abilities. Your purpose has direct impact on future generations by diagnosing and treating speech and language delays, fluency disorders and building literacy skills.
Laurelle Hofman is an SLP at an educational center for Charles County Public Schools in Maryland and works in the classroom setting helping students with functional communication.
“Many of my students are non-verbal, so I am integrated into the classroom where we work on answering simple questions and giving them strategies to make requests,” said Hofman.
Hofman enjoys the flexibility and seeing different students every day. The support she has from teachers and administration allows her to infuse play with learning. She recently made ice cream with her students as part of a winter-themed lesson.
“I have to be able to catch kids in the moment in naturalistic settings,” said Hofman. “It’s my job to help them be able to say hello, goodbye, and express their wants and needs in real life.”
SLPs can work with students through individual sessions or small group sessions. Others might co-treat in a special education classroom alongside a physical therapist or occupational therapist.
Flexibility is just one of many perks that school-based SLPs enjoy along with the opportunity to take summers off and begin contracts in the second semester. Plus, boredom will never be a factor, because no two days are alike, and every student is unique.
“It’s never a cookie-cutter approach,” said Christina Egan, an SLP working in Darien, Connecticut. “We use appropriate material based on each student’s individual goals and objectives, so that might mean play therapy techniques for an elementary school student and online activities or written tests for older students.”
If you’re considering becoming a school-based SLP, success awaits as the demand for speech language pathologists continues to rise with projected job growth at 15% through 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The rewarding nature of being an SLP cannot be discounted either. Supporting students with social and emotional skills so they can be successful in a school setting and beyond is meaningful work that builds a fulfilling and purposeful career.
Contact PPR to learn what exciting opportunities are available throughout the country for school-based SLPs.