Speech Therapist – /n/ – a “health professional specializing in the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of communication disorders, cognitive communication disorders, voice disorders, and swallowing disorders” (Wikipedia); “defined as the professional who engages in professional practice in the areas of communication and swallowing across the life span. Communication and swallowing are broad terms encompassing many facets of function. Communication includes speech production and fluency, language, cognition, voice, resonance, and hearing. Swallowing includes all aspects of swallowing, including related feeding behaviors.” (ASHA)
As we navigate the waters of these unprecedented times in the world, in healthcare, and in speech therapy, we must remember why we chose this profession in the first place. Hopefully, it was, simply put, “to help people.” To help people speak, communicate, be understood, and understand others. To help people organize, think, plan, remember. To help people eat, drink, swallow. Never before has our passion and our reason been more important to acknowledge, remember, and believe.
Our patients and residents need us more now than ever before. We are essential. Essential to their sense of well-being, their success, their safety. So as you go forth and provide a link, a connection, a life line to our residents, be proud of the job that you do, be proud of the services you provide and of the impact that only you as a speech-language pathologist can have on each and everyone of the residents we are fortunate enough to care for every day.
May we never lose sight of our why, may we never take for granted our who, and may we continue to improve upon our how.
It is Better Speech and Hearing Month 2020, but it is so much more this year. Thank you, SLPs for your time, efforts, and continued care of our most vulnerable in times like these.