If you’re considering making the transition from a rehabilitation center or hospital speech therapist to a school-based therapist, there are certain traits and skills that will help you succeed. Although you need a strong desire to help people regardless of the setting you work in, there are additional traits that are helpful to becoming and succeeding as a school-based speech therapist. Consider the list below.
As a school-based speech therapist, you will be working with children with a variety of communication disorders, such as resonance and swallowing problems, articulation disorders, and many other conditions. Since you’ll be working with children with a variety of conditions and the size of your caseload may vary, organizational skills are a must. Good time management and strong organizational skills are essential to provide the best services possible for your students. Establishing an organizational system reduces stress which results in being on time, increasing productivity and being able to find the resources that you need to be successful in your job.
Children are from different backgrounds and situations. Your job is to do your best to provide therapy. Leave preconceived notions and beliefs at the door. School-based speech therapists should be empathic and compassionate while still expecting their students to work hard to reach their potential.
There may be days where you have to move things around and fit in paperwork, therapy, and unexpected meetings with parents. Also, you might be trying one therapeutic approach and have to switch gears if something is not working. Being flexible will make you a more effective therapist and less stressed. The ability to maintain a flexible schedule goes hand-in-hand with practicing strong organizational skills. By staying organized and getting ahead of the game, you will have a greater sense of flexibility when faced with these last-minute tasks
Problem Solving Skills
What works for one student may not with another. A school-based speech therapist should be willing to try different approaches and not give up. There may be situations where it seems you cannot reach a child, but remember the saying, “where there is a will, there is a way.” Being a problem solver also means getting creative with the techniques you try. Trying certain techniques or using games and toys may be just what you need.
Be a Team Player
School-based speech therapists must be able to work well as part of a team. As a therapist, you collaborate with parents, teachers other therapists and speech therapy assistants. Being able to communicate well with a wide variety of people is a must have skill for speech therapists who work in schools. Team players listen to what others have to say and consider their input. They also delegate when appropriate and maintain good communication.
Enjoy Working with Children
Although it may seem obvious that school-based speech therapists should enjoy working with children, it’s still something worth mentioning. Keep in mind, not all people who like working with children enjoy all age groups. Ask yourself if you’re willing to work with preschoolers, school-age kids, and high school students. This can certainly help towards determining what the most ideal working environment is for you.
Ideally, school speech therapists should have a strong belief in their students, which helps children believe in themselves. As a therapist, you have the responsibility to engage kids in therapy sessions and not give up on them. Although therapists should not have blinders on to the obstacles a child faces, it’s helpful to be someone who can see the positives and find things they can build on with a student. Some students may certainly feel discouraged when it comes to participating in speech therapy. You have the unique opportunity to speak positivity into their world and encourage them along the way.
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