Speech-Language Therapist: A Day in the Life
Your mornings are spent in a public school with programs for severely handicapped children. You bring your first client, a child with Down syndrome, to your office, a small but pleasant and quiet room. You work painstakingly to improve the child's enunciation. The problem is especially difficult because his first language is Spanish. You're partly bilingual, which helps. You make a note to offer his teacher a few suggestions.
Next, you have a far less compliant client, an autistic child. You try to pull out all the stopssinging, tapping on percussion instruments, cutting and pasting picturesanything to try to get the child to focus on you; that's a key precursor of language. It's tough sledding, even though you're patient by nature. The session ends stressfully when the boy's frustrated mother lashes out at you as you're trying to give her some advice.
You're relieved to see your next client, a child with a cleft palate. She's highly motivated to improve her speech, and she makes progress during each session. Then you see a child with attention deficit disorder who needs to slow his speech and modulate his naturally harsh voice.
In the afternoon, it's off to the hospital, where you see a young man who sustained a brain injury in a motorcycle accident. You try to help him regain speech. Finally, you try to help a 90-year-old stroke victim develop a new way to swallow. By the end of the day you've worked just a standard eight hours, and your work feels rewardingbut you're sure glad when it's time to go home.
Accent Neutralization Specialist. When we call tech support, it's reassuring to hear someone whose accent we can understand. To that end, companies hire accent reduction specialists. Also, many immigrants to the United States, especially those in professional jobs, are eager to make their accents sound more mainstream.