Posted on Monday, February 19, 2018 by HeadStart for Life 2 minutes
Hi everyone! Happy Chinese New Year from everyone at HeadStart for Life!
HeadStart for Life was fortunate to have Cheryl join us as an intern for the past few weeks. This week, she is sharing her thoughts about her experience.
My name is Cheryl and I began my internship at HeadStart for Life on 2nd January 2018. As I am heading towards the second year of my Masters in Speech and Language Pathology, this internship has allowed me to put into perspective what I have learnt so far in the university. It has further widened my horizons and added value to my learning experience with regards to paediatric speech therapy.
During my internship, I was presented with opportunities to coordinate and conduct small group activities and was also given the privilege to be able to sit in with both Speech and Occupational Therapists in their sessions to observe and participate in certain activities. Despite feeling like I have some big shoes to fill, conducting activities for children have taught me to be more organised and to really think out of the box. Moreover, I have also learned that no matter how prepared I am, ultimately, life often throws you a curve ball and things may not go as planned. Hence, learning to be accommodating and flexible are additional skills that I have acquired during the internship.
Possessing creativity is a vital trait that I have found to be very crucial in this job scope. In order to keep children interested and motivated during therapy, often Speech Therapists would have to tailor activities and tasks individually in order to achieve the session goals.
To add on, I have understood that progress in therapy is something that requires time, a large measure of patience and perseverance from both therapists and clients. Progress is never instant and in therapy, there are no “one-size fits all” as the clients are diverse. Though children may share similar diagnosis, they are never the same. As a result, therapists, while developing the child’s individualized treatment plans, take into consideration each individual child’s abilities and the most suitable learning strategies that would facilitate his learning. When therapists see the child progresses, they would often jump for joy as all the time and effort put in have come to fruition.
Having a supportive environment plays a part in achieving progress for the child. Therapists in HeadStart for Life encourage at least one parent to observe their child during therapy. As parents spend most of their time with their children and know them best, they will be able to help reinforce and practice what has been taught in therapy sessions in their familiar environments. This is pivotal in facilitating progress and accomplishing better therapy outcomes. Therefore, this has taught me the importance of parental participation in therapy and that I have to learn to communicate clearly and work closely with the parents in the future. Having good listening skills and the ability to manage the parents’ expectation are important to a therapist.
From this internship, I have also discovered that team spirit is very important in this profession. As Speech Therapists often work with other professionals such as Psychologists and Occupational Therapists, having a caring, communicative and cohesive multidisciplinary team is important. Due to the continuous publishing of new research on treatments for communication and language disorders, therapists often have to attend workshops and conferences to keep themselves up-to-date with the latest treatment methods so as to provide the most evidence-based treatment for their clients. In the Centre, the Speech Therapists who have attended these events often share their newly acquired knowledge with other professionals. This, in turn, helps to produce the best possible therapy outcome for the children. Listening to their discussions and exchange of ideas help to expand my knowledge of other therapy treatments and also keep myself updated in this ever-changing field.
Frankly, there were certain moments during my studies where I found myself in doubt of whether I have made the right career choice of becoming a Speech-Language Pathologist. However, having said that, these 7 weeks of internship has given me affirmation that I have chosen the correct career path, especially when I get to personally see the children change and improve their communication and language skills during the therapy. I was given the chance to learn many different therapy strategies such as creating visual cues to help facilitate the children’s learning.
I am extremely thankful to be given the opportunity to intern at HeadStart for Life and to pick the brains of such a great and caring team of professionals. Thank you very much for your support and guidance throughout this amazing experience.