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
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
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
this particular child with language stimulation and increase his
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
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
The student responded brilliantly. My supervisor was using language stimulation
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...
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