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Career Connections: Speech Therapist

7 minutes

(Describer) Beside four different-size different-color circles connected by lines, title: Career Connections. Under a world map with dots in various locations, title: World Languages.

(Describer) Title: Speech Therapy.

My name is Andrea Heilman, and I'm a speech therapist. My parents were foster parents, so I grew up with different therapists. They'd come to the home and work with the foster children. The speech therapist was the neatest. I thought, "That's what I'd like to be."

(Describer) Two of them work with a young man.

We look at the whole person, what's their environment, who are their communication partners that they're going to be interacting with and what do they want to say. We do the best that we can to match the communication partner and the environment and the person and the system all together so it's the right combination.

(Describer) She shows pictures to two patients.

Tools that we use can vary between just standard test materials, worksheets, books, things like that. But we've also incorporated using the iPad or other different devices. We have a variety of different high-tech, low-tech, no-tech devices that we use here. Some of the no-tech is gestures, actions. Communicating with some of the low-tech is pictures. So we'll have pictures that they can either choose from, or they can hand a picture to make a request. We have picture schedules that we use that help clients know where they're going and what they're doing and higher-tech devices like the iPads and iPods and different devices that have pictures on the screen. You can touch a picture, and it may say something or go to another page of words and pictures. You want something that's going to work for them, that'll be easy and that they can use. You don't want to make it cumbersome or difficult for them. Some of my clients are more aware of their environment and more aware of other people. So they would rather blend in than have something that stands out and is different. The iPad and iPod are nice because they look like everyone else's tablets or iPods that they're using. They can have games and music, but they can also talk to their friend. Then they can switch back and play a game. Sometimes it's a lot easier for them to make friends and to interact when they kind of look like everyone else. You have to get to know your client and know what their interests are, their likes, their dislikes. We have clients that we've tried new things with, and they'd still like to go back and use their old systems, like a plain word board or pictures or sign. So you just figure out what works for them and what they want to use. There's the interaction and building rapport with a client and helping them to learn social skills and be able to relate to others. You want them to have a relationship with the therapist and also with their community and other therapists, with their teacher and other peers.

(Describer) Title: What level of education is required?

(Heilman) Four years of undergrad at a college or university and then two years of graduate school. It's either a Master of Science or a Master of Arts in Communication Disorders, depending on the school. Usually you're taking psychology and sociology classes. But if the curriculum that you're taking doesn't include that, I definitely recommend those classes. I think just knowing how people communicate and how people think and all the different disorders and things that you'll come across as a therapist, I think that really helps. To know socially how people relate to each other really helps.

(Describer) Titles: What volunteer opportunities are there? www.sunshine.org/volunteer.

We have volunteers all the time that come to Sunshine to observe and see if it's something that interests them. I definitely recommend volunteering. Then once you kind of set your sight on speech pathology, you'll be encouraged to do the 25 observation hours, so you'll get connected with a clinic or rehab site or hospital site. So you can watch and observe and get your hours as course curriculum. Once you get to graduate school, you've kind of seen what speech therapy is and what would be expected. There's many openings. It's a growing field. And as people are aging, we're seeing a lot more need for the geriatric therapists that are gonna work with people in the hospitals or rehab. So, definitely growing, and especially in the Toledo area, we're really looking for speech therapists. I've always loved speech therapy, and I still do, but there's moments where you get down or you feel like, "I'm not making a difference." Sometimes you try something and it doesn't work. So you try something else, and it's like a snap. The lightbulb goes on and it happens. On the rough days, those moments keep me going.

(Describer) The young man plays a game where shaped pegs go into matching holes.

Good. You got it.

Funding to purchase and make this educational production

(Describer) Titles: For more information, visit OhioMeansJobs.com. WGTE Public Media. Copyright 2014.

accessible was provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

PH:1-800-USA-LEARN (V) or WEB: www.ed.gov.

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A speech therapist works with a community of people with developmental disabilities and helps her clients develop their communication skills. She shares the background, training, and education necessary for success in her field. Part of the "Career Connections" series.

Media Details

Runtime: 7 minutes

Career Connections
Episode 1
5 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 2
6 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 3
3 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 4
5 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 5
5 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 6
4 minutes
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Career Connections
Episode 7
7 minutes
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Career Connections
Episode 8
7 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 9
6 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 10
6 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12