Speech Pathology Student

I'd like you to travel back in time with me to April, 1998.

I was a 2nd year speech pathology student on my first clinic placement. I remember that day with some clarity. I didn't know it then, but it was the starting point that ultimately led to the creation of this website.

Inexperienced speech pathology students are always guided by a clinical supervisor - a senior speech pathology teacher.

In the surreal world of the speech pathology student you really are like Dorothy in the land of Oz. You pray your supervisor will be a good witch, and not the sort who gets the flying monkeys to bring the broom around.

My clinical supervisor this day, fortunately for me, was a good witch.

My first client was a seven year old boy with an expressive language disorder. My goal was to engage this particular child with language stimulation and increase his semantic word knowledge.

My goals were adequately set out and...well... I knew what I wanted to do.

The session started badly and got progressively worse. The sheer level of my ineptitude was truly confusing to me.

The session spiralled to the point where I fumbled and stumbled and tripped over my words.

In short, I lost control of the session. My client sat there in silence throughout my performance; I'm sure he was completely befuddled.

But then, something quite amazing happened.

My clinical supervisor took over the session. Not in a disaproving way, but in a kindly didactic way.

She engaged the student immediately and started to use my materials in a way that was mesmerising and exciting.

The student responded brilliantly. My supervisor was using language stimulation in a way that I hadn't seen.

My supervisor seemed to possess a powerful and arcane knowledge.

A knowledge that I really wanted to learn.

I'm sure this story will be familiar to many speech-language pathologists and also to students. Awkward clinical experiences are a reality for most students - a rite of passage I guess.

For me, the student clinical experience was a gradual (achingly slow if you ever speak to any of my clinical supervisors) process, from bumbling, stumbling automaton to intuitive and competent professional.

It takes a while...

Return from speech pathology student to about me