This week’s “Letter to My Younger Self” is written by one of our long-time team leaders, who is now our Associate Clinical Director – Liza Sanchez, M.A. CCC-SLP. This clinician has definitely experienced the highs and not-so-highs of a speech therapy career. From someone who thought she “knew it all” as a CF, Liza has learned from each experience and grown into an amazing clinician. Read on to find out what advice Liza would give her younger self!
“Dear Little Liza,
I know you feel like an “adult” now with your first professional job as a CF but guess what, you don’t know it all. Even though it may feel like you do, all your fancy theoretical knowledge will now be put to the test and you’ll need to figure out how to apply it. Apply it so that it benefits each and every child’s individual needs. Apply it so that each child’s overall well-being is considered, not just what happens between 8 am and 3 pm, Monday through Friday at school.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice from your mentors. You are not expected to know it all now or even 15 years from now. You should always be in learning mode.
With that said, be confident in your current knowledge and stand up to the nay-sayers that will tell you “we’ve always done it this way”. Know that the only way to make meaningful progress is to always be abreast of current research and data and I encourage you to challenge policies and procedures that are older than you! Do this with passion, yet be thoughtful of your approach. Nobody likes a loud-mouthed-know-it-all. Learn to be tactful and never complain without being able to offer a solution.
I want you to know that even today as I write you this letter, 15 years later, I sent an email to my supervisor letting her know of suggestions that would benefit current assessment procedures. Today, I also read a wonderful article that helps support what we bilingual SLPs have been preaching for years…in a nutshell, children with disabilities can be bilingual and can be treated as such without hindering their English development. As I mentioned before, you will forever be learning in this field. The day you are unwilling to learn and adapt, you may as well retire and find something else to do.
Finally, I want you to know that your work is important and your knowledge is ample so share it with those that are willing to listen and learn. Many will benefit from your experiences so be willing to mentor and help develop future clinicians.
Good luck to you and me,
No matter where you go in your speech career, every experience is a learning process that will make you stronger, just like it did for Liza! Don’t be afraid – take the next step into your newest adventure and check out our latest school-based therapy jobs right now!