8 Things I Learned as an SLP

Hey everyone! My name is Angela Vatrano and I graduated with a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Tennessee in May 2021. I started with Sidekick during my CFY in July of 2021 and have been with the company since! Although I learned a lot in graduate school, I found that nothing truly prepares you for jumping into the field and experiencing everything first-hand. Here are 8 things (in no particular order) that I’ve learned since graduating and becoming an SLP! I hope this list helps someone who may have just entered their career and are experiencing “imposter syndrome” like I did.

  1. You know more than you think you do!! Imposter syndrome is real, but remember that you are qualified and capable!
  2. Collaboration is everything. Since working in the schools, I have collaborated with OTs, PTs, other Sidekick SLPs, school SLPs, general education teachers, sped teachers, parents, and everything in between. We see these students for maybe one hour a week…to get the full picture of who your student is and how to best serve them, collaboration is the key! Working with others who also know and work with your student makes the biggest difference and will ultimately help your student to better succeed in the long-run.
  3. Meet your student where they’re at. You can't expect your student to jump from the bottom of the staircase to the top at one time. Set realistic goals and work with them to take one step at at time.
  4. You’ve heard it a million times, but every child truly is a unique case. I’ve worked with identical twins/triplets before who are all working on similar goals, and they are still each a unique case. Each child learns in different ways, needs different things to best succeed, and will respond differently to approaches. Enter into each case as a unique opportunity to figure out what best works for them.
  5. No one treatment approach is best. Everyone uses different treatment approaches and that’s okay!! Use what works best for your students, and as long as it’s an evidence-based approach, that’s all that matters!
  6. You’re making a difference even if you don’t see/feel it every day. With some students, you don’t necessarily see progress every day, but you’ll randomly be in that one session where you see something click in their eyes or notice them do something you modeled days ago. Progress is happening!
  7. You are never done learning. One of the best parts of being an SLP to me is how you can always continue to learn and grow. There is always new research coming out, or an approach another therapist uses that can help you grow and improve your therapy approaches. Keep learning!
  8. Tomorrow is a new day. Everyone has bad days and not so great sessions, try to remember that tomorrow is a new day!!

Angela Vatrano, M.S., CCC-SLP


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