Speech therapists need to have certain traits and skills, such as compassion, good communication, and patience, but that’s not all. If you are planning to work as a school-based speech therapist with children, there are also additional skills and traits you need to be successful.
As a therapist, it’s important to take an honest look at the skills you need to work on. Remember most of us, could always improve on something. Below are five skills and traits, school-based therapists should master.
Working with children in a school setting as a speech therapist requires adaptability. You will work with students with a wide variety of speech and language difficulties including voice disorders, stuttering problems, and swallowing difficulties. Therapists need to switch gears quickly from working with children with one type of disorder to another. Also, certain types of therapeutic strategies you implement may not work. You need to think on your feet and adjust plans. Learning to adapt to each situation will make you a stronger therapist.
The saying “it takes a village to raise a child” may also apply to a student’s treatment team. School-based speech therapists are one member of that team. Children may also work with physical and occupational therapists along with special education teachers. Aides, counselors, and parents are also part of the team working with each student. School-based speech therapists must have the ability to communicate well and get along with a variety of people even those who may be difficult. Being a team player is a must-have skill for speech therapists.
Willingness to Learn
Most school-based speech therapists have a minimum of a master’s degree. Regardless of your education, there is still more to learn. Medicine including speech therapy continues to evolve. Advances in technology and new research may change the way some types of language disorders are treated. New inventions may allow speech therapists to perform their job differently. It’s vital school-based speech therapists have a willingness to stay up to speed on the latest studies and advances in speech therapy. Being openminded and excited to learn more about your field helps you treat your students optimally.
Working with children in a school setting as a speech therapist is different than treating children in a hospital. Caseloads, responsibilities, and paperwork may vary. Speech therapists need to juggle meetings, therapy sessions and required documentation and charting. Additional duties also popup, such as impromptu parent meetings and additions to your workload. Staying organized is critical to being a successful therapist.
Children may respond differently to various methods of speech therapy. It’s helpful to be resourceful and have a variety of tools and ideas when working with students. Therapists should be familiar with the latest apps, games, and equipment to work with children of all ages. Speech therapists must also know where to get answers when they have questions.
While there are other skills that make you a successful therapist, the above list is a good start. What skills and traits do you think are vital to working as a school-based speech therapist? Please share with us in the comments section below.