Posted on Monday, December 4, 2017 by HeadStart for Life 2 minutes
Hi everyone! HeadStart for Life had been fortunate to have an intern, Joe, join us for 2 months in October and November 2017. As it is always interesting to hear from someone who is not already working in this field, Joe had kindly agreed to share about his experience!
This post also concludes our blog entries for 2017. Thank you everyone for your support! We will be back in January 2018! If there are any topics that you are interested to hear more about, do leave a comment!
My name is Joe Shepherd and as of Monday 2nd October 2017, I have been fortunate to intern at HeadStart For Life. My goal is to attend university in the near future and gain an undergraduate degree in Speech and Linguistic Therapy and this internship has been invaluable for giving me a clearer understanding of the profession. This has only strengthened my resolve to become a speech therapist. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to gain valuable experience to learn about the work of Speech and Language Therapists in a thriving work environment. Alongside learning about speech language practices, I have also been shown organisation skills and learnt from professionals about best practice in a work environment.
The experiences and knowledge I have gained at HeadStart for Life will remain with me for a long time and have furthered my interest in a career in Speech and Linguistics. During my internship I have been allowed to observe teachers and students during support sessions, to organise and lead some small group activities, and to increase my understanding of what it means to be a speech therapist. I greatly appreciate the increasing responsibility I have been given and the understanding obtained from this. Even during my relatively short time at the company, it has been rewarding and heartening to witness the changes within clients, whether that be things learnt over one session or a gradual increase in confidence and knowledge.
I believe that communication is the life force of humans; we use language to convey emotions and use words to change opinions and make bonds stronger. At HeadStart for Life, I have discovered the importance of a broadly understood and spoken language (eg. English in Singapore) and good communication skills, which provide access and understanding of social issues, without which, a person’s ability to communicate can be seriously affected. This has given me a new perspective on my chosen career and a respect for the valuable work achieved in companies, such as HeadStart for Life. Observing Speech and Linguistic therapists in action at HeadStart for Life has also taught me important skills, which I believe will serve me well in my future endeavours studying the subject. These will enable me to develop strategies to facilitate supporting individuals who face challenges in communicating; whether this is due to hearing impairments, learning or language difficulties or through physiological causes, such as eating, drinking or swallowing difficulties, which are all strategies I have learnt from during my observation sessions here at HeadStart for Life.
It has been extremely enlightening to see how far some clients have come even in the short time that I have been with the company. In particular, I have been heartened to see one client’s increase in confidence in speech, watching the perseverance in learning new words and their expression. It has been clear to see how each week her verbal skills have developed. For example, just last week it was clear that certain pronunciations have now been almost secured in her vocabulary, and words that had previously been missing sounds, now include them. It has been a pleasure to be able to sit in on each session and not only learn how to use different teaching strategies from the teacher but also how rewarding it is to be able to see progress and track the change in a child’s life.
HeadStart for Life has also opened my eyes to other health professions linked with speech therapy, such as seeing how occupational therapy sessions aid students. Even though my internship originally revolved around speech therapy, I have been privileged to be allowed to sit in on some occupational therapy sessions and observe how this aspect of health care operates. I have seen one client, who had previously shown a lack of confidence and unwillingness to participate in activities, transform when with the occupational therapist. The confidence and energy shown in activities, such as now being able to bounce on a exercise ball in a large pipe or roll a ball down a slide and catch it when thrown back up again, was transformational. These things all contribute to the well being and growth of children who need a little extra support, and it is clear to me that HeadStart for Life is doing the absolute best to encourage this growth in all of the children that come through its doors.