Essay On Speech Pathology

Running a marathon: hurry up, slow down, pace yourself, what's next. That is sometimes how it feels being a senior in Communication Disorders. It is nice to slow down and reflect on the reasons why I want to become a Speech and Language Pathologist.

It is fascinating how children develop communication skills. I want to learn more about children's language. I require more knowledge about both preschool and school age language development. The investigation/diagnoses of language and the development of a plan of therapy are intriguing. Improving children's challenges with oral language requires further advancement of my knowledge of assistive technology. I must enhance my knowledge in literacy, swallowing and develop my knowledge about adult disorders. I see all of these as great opportunities to pursue in graduate school.

There has never been a time that I have not wanted to work with children, in particular, children who struggle in speech and language development. As a person who overcame a math disability, I was fortunate to have teachers who impacted my life with their teaching. Through direct experience, one particular educator was very influential to me, my third grade teacher, Mrs. Worzalla. Her lessons have forever empowered me to strive for the best and to never give up. I too, want to have the same impact on a child's education. I love children and people for that matter. Studying fluency, voice and adult neurogenic language and speech disorders has sparked my interest in working with adults to regain or improve their speech and language skills

My curiosity in Speech and Language Pathology began at four years old. I started being interested in working with children when my parents adopted my brother, Charlie, from Colombia. My brother has several disabilities: he has a unilateral sensorineural hearing loss, dysarthric speech and other physical problems. Becoming a Speech and Language Pathologist became a lifelong dream. I went to my brother's speech and language therapy sessions. Even at three years old I tried to do what the Speech and Language Pathologist did to help my brother speak. During the therapy sessions I would watch the Speech and Language Pathologist combining teaching with fun. It is very important to keep therapy sessions fun and enthusiastic in order for children to learn and develop the speech and language needed. As I observed the therapy, I came to the realization that this is what I wanted to do when I grew up.

A few years later when my brother had surgery for a velopharngeal flap, I discovered an anatomy book; it was on the anatomy and physiology of the speech structures. I tried to read and comprehend it. I attempted to learn where the structures were and what they did. Studying this anatomy book further increased my desire to pursue Speech and Language Pathology.

I have many qualities that would be assets in the field. I am patient and caring; two important qualities for the field. I want clients to be successful and to be able to function so that they have a good life. I have been a volunteer, in which I have worked to improve my skills and increase my knowledge. Volunteering with elementary school children who had articulation difficulties was an eye opening experience in which I was able to apply my book knowledge to real life. I helped to eliminate their articulation errors. This was a very rewarding and fulfilling experience. I have obtained skills during clinic, including sharpening my own discrimination of sounds, and developing the ability to be more flexible when therapy needs to deviate from the lesson plan. I learned how to build a lesson based upon previous lessons while managing ongoing assessments. I am a very reliable, responsible, honest, hardworking individual with focus on detail, and a strong desire to learn.

Academically, I have been on the honor roll. I strive to do my best in all of my classes. I study hard and absorb all the necessary and important information needed for graduate school and for my future career. I am very determined and I will persevere in everything I put my mind to do.

Due to my desire to learn and know more about this field, I have attended a conference which discussed the use of PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System), how behavior can be a form of communication and steps to social communication. I also belong to NSSLHA, in which I perform various activities such as raising money that benefit the community as well as the Speech and Language Pathology program. Working at Milestones, a daycare in Whitefish Bay, with infants to two year olds, has been a priceless experience. I have gained practical knowledge of the development of children; especially on how speech and language develops. Seeing first hand that each child develops in a different manner has been invaluable.

I am ready to continue onto graduate school. I have learned and can see how much progress I have made in clinic and in my classes as an undergraduate. I want to continue to expand my knowledge both in classes and in the field through practical experience. My lifelong dream of becoming a Speech and Language Pathologist is about to come true and I am so excited!

Running a marathon: hurry up, slow down, pace yourself... what's next?

That first paragraph needs at least one more sentence, maybe two more. It takes a big leap from the notion of "running" plus those intro words "hurry up slow down"... and then you jump to "sometimes it is nice.." but I think you should do this:

Running a marathon: hurry up, slow down, pace yourself, what's next. That is sometimes how it feels being a senior in Communication Disorders. (Add a sentence that will explain what you mean by that). It is nice to slow down and reflect on the reasons why I want to become a Speech and Language Pathologist.

I don't understand the use of "swallowing" here! ---> I must enhance my knowledge in literacy and develop my knowledge about adult disorders. I see all of these as great opportunities to pursue in graduate school.

can't say necessary---> needed
I study hard and absorb all the necessary and important information for succeeding in graduate school and my future career.

Separate the 2 halves of a compound sentence with a comma:
I am very determined, and I will persevere in everything I put my mind to do.

:-) You seem to have tons of potential!!! The essay is excellent, and your story is meaningful. Thanks for sharing your essay here!


If you are applying to a Speech-Language Pathology graduate school program anywhere in the country, you may need to submit a statement (or letter) of intent. Did you already Google “How to write a letter of intent for Speech Pathology graduate school? “There are limited, relevant results. First off, what is a statement of intent? In my opinion, it’s like a first date with a total stranger. Only you are trying to convince them to marry you, blindfolded, based on a test score, GPA, and resume. Talk about pressure. *Applies Makeup* But truly, the statement/letter is your opportunity to highlight strengths and weaknesses, explain your passion & interest in the career, and answer questions they may pose. First dates are always awkward, so let’s wade through this one together.

Before continuing on, take a moment to peek at two excellent resources before continuing your read:

1. The University of New Mexico’s Guidelines for your letter of intent –> “Statement of Intent = Intellectual Autobiography”

2. Questions to ask before you write –> Such as “Any discrepancies in your academic record that you should explain?”

Now then, let’s focus on the specifics of pre-writing and writing the statement/letter in relevance to Speech-Language Pathology.

Before you write, research the program:

  • What keywords are found on the department’s website?  – Try to work those in.
  • What is the mission statement of the department or college? – Use some of the phrasing, if possible.
  • What areas are some of the faculty researching? – Mention a similar interest, if you have one.
  • Have you spoken with faculty about the focus of the program? More clinical or research based? Key ideas to weave into your writing.
  • Check out ASHA’s mission statement and vision; see if those spark ideas for your letter.

Introduction:

  • The first sentence should be unique. Offer a quip or quote that inspires or provokes interest.
    • Avoid “I like the field of Speech-Language Pathology because…” Come on, be unique. Try “How often do passion and profession come together? For me,…” <–Something thought-provoking, yet speaks to your personality or interest.
  • Subsequent sentences should offer insight into why you want to study Speech-language pathology. Don’t give a history lesson, but offer a fresh perspective. Show that you have done some research, but also make it personal.
    • For example: “The field of speech-language pathology grew following World War II and continues to inspire many professionals since then, myself included…”

Body: 

  • Discuss your compatibility with the program, including factors leading to your decisions, relevant experience, or how your interest in the field has developed upon further study.
    • For instance, discuss positive stories you read about their academic record, clinical practice, passing rate for Praxis, etc. 
  • Express interest in what clinical areas and/or populations you want to pursue.
  • Explain what you have done to prepare for the challenges graduate school poses, if admitted.
    • For example, “SLP grad school will demand my full-time attention, which I plan to address using my time management skills, organization system, and attention to deadlines.”
  • Consider mentioning an area of growth clinically, then how you will use your strengths to address it.
    • For example, “While I am still developing research skills, I plan to utilize my zeal for knowledge to challenge myself to find the latest evidence.”
  • BONUS Points: In my experience, if you can mention any knowledge or experience you have with multicultural populations, this can help you stand out. It’s a big push in grad school.

Conclusion:

  • How does your interest and long-term plan relate to their program vision and mission? Mention those key terms again. 
  • Describe how excited you are to be a prospective applicant to their program. Here are some keywords to use:
    • Motivated, qualified, experienced, culturally sensitive, empathetic, energized, diversified background, driven.
  • Include that you look forward to the opportunity to discuss your application further, and how you need to be accepted over everyone else…maybe leave that last part out 🙂

All done?? NOOOO. Let your professors read it, ask a professor in the literature department to read it, have your friends read it, have your mom read it, have the Dean read it. Get feedback. Take all of the edits into consideration to create the BEST letter of intent the graduate program has ever seen!

Let me be clear, that these are my suggestions from my own experience, reading other letters/statements, and from the other resources I’ve found (mentioned above). I hope you find this useful, and feel free to share your own resources that help you too! Check out my other post about Applying to SLP Graduate School and Plan B for the #slp2b 

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