Then, when you get your first job, you are assigned a mentor and you must complete a clinical fellowship year with that mentor before you get your clinical certificate of competence. And then you are on your own. When I graduated in 1999 I worked in the schools. In that setting, you are often the only SLP in your school. Often, you are the only SLP in 2-3 schools. At that time, there weren't really any SLP blogs or websites. ASHA didn't have a huge online presence. There was no Facebook or Pinterest. I remember feeling so isolated.
There were inservice days that brought all the SLPs in the district together, however those days were tightly scheduled according to an agenda that involved continuing education or procedural updates and didn't allow for much unstructured discussion. I remember desperately wanting time to simply talk with other professionals about my students. I had my first student with childhood apraxia of speech and I didn't feel I was doing enough to help her. I had a little girl with a severe fluency problem that I wasn't making much progress on. Did anyone have any really good strategies for sharpening up a lateral lisp? I wanted to trade creative ideas on how to make articulation therapy interesting. Or I would make some materials and not have anyone to share them with.
Today it is such a different world. I no longer feel isolated. If I want to see amazing things other SLPs are doing I can find them on Pinterest or by reading any number of SLP blogs. If I make my own materials I can share them myself on my own blog and know that I'm helping other professionals and parents. It is easy to keep up with ASHA's professional journals in the member section of their website. I can keep up with other sources of research in my areas of interest easily online. It helps me to be so much more creative and better at my profession. It would be pretty amazing to be starting out in this profession today with so many resources available at any computer with an internet connection and I highly recommend these types of resources to any practicing SLP today.
For example, start here:
- Go to the Pediastaff Pinterest Board on Articulation and click on any picture/idea that looks interesting to you. That should take you to the original blog where Pediastaff found the idea. Then explore that person's blog for other ideas you like.
- Check out other Pediastaff pinterest boards on other topics (language and grammar, early intervention, apraxia, and many more).
- Alternately, begin again with any pinterest board that interests you and choose a pin you like. Look at the list of people that have repinned that pin to their own board. Many of those people are SLPs and have boards of all the SLP ideas they like. You can browse those boards and see collections of ideas that appeal to other SLPs. It's a rabbit hole. If you get started, you'll find hours slipping away from you, but I guarantee you'll come out of it inspired.