The world of work is volatile and invigorating. In these unprecedented times, the world of digital work can be seen as limited, and in many respects it is. Communicating with colleagues becomes a bit more difficult, but this forces you to become creative. In the same vein, you have to be creative with social justice work.
Though I was not hands-on with every social justice initiative I saw at my job, I made note of many of them. Social justice work makes you sit with injustices and inequities, sometimes knowing that you may not have to find solutions all on your own. What you can do is try to understand why they exist and validate that they do exist.
When I started to learn more about IEPs (individualized education programs), I realized that the root of the issue of how they are administered in schools cannot be squarely blamed on just one person or one thing. The public education system and the massive amount of students it houses makes it difficult for IEP evaluations to be individualized and truly reflective of every last student.
Through my role, I was able to see the difficulties of having digital speech therapy. There are some inconsistencies with technology that cause distractions that you would not necessarily find in in-person meetings. It exposes areas in therapy that can be further developed to accommodate more people.
Before I started my internship at My Speech Matters, it would have been helpful to have known a bit more about the standard strategies that speech therapists use with children, in particular. The reason why I would have liked to know more about them would be to compare how well they work virtually. I did, however, have an opportunity to learn more about a wide range of strategies after observing several sessions over time. Learning how to assuage a child’s temper or gauge their attention over the computer requires adjustments. As mentioned earlier, they may be dealing with sensory overload in their environments or not accustomed to remote sessions. I would have appreciated knowing how different things needed to be handled given varying circumstances.
Lastly, to anyone looking to pursue a career in the speech pathology field, I would say it is as fulfilling as your mission. I believe that if you have a passion for helping individuals to work towards achieving social-emotional skills and goals, then the speech pathology field would be fulfilling. It is also a field in which imbalances in care and implementation of strategy are present. I always wonder who does and does not have access to speech pathology resources and ask why.
Working at My Speech Matters this summer has given me insight into my career in the sense that it has allowed me to envision the space I want to cultivate and provide for my community. It has been an invaluable experience in the sense that I have been exposed to many things that the field is working on and many ways that the field can do better. As I go through introspection about how things will progress in the field by the time I enter it, I still know that many things will need work.