Private Speech Therapy in Alaska

I’ve been working in a Developmental and Behavioral Clinic since August 2017 here in Wasilla. It’s been a whirlwind start full of 50 “new” things to learn. The thing about being a Speech-Language Pathologist is that you never know all you’re going to know. It’s a never ending cycle of  self-talk like this: “Oh, I didn’t know that. Now I know….but wait…how do I do this thing?…did I do that “thing” right? Probably not. Shh. Don’t tell.”

This year marks 5 years since graduating from SLP grad school and working my way into finally identifying as a ‘kind of experienced’ SLP. The CCC part of the credentials after my name really stands for “Complete Constant Chaos” or “Certified Chaos Controller” or “Chronic Clutter Creator”. Just brainstorming there, but you get my drift. I’m rarely as internally confident as I hope to appear. Given all of that, stepping out of the school district pool of SLPs was intimidating. I am a lone therapist in a small clinic full of people with more degrees than me – Pediatricians, Neuropsychologists, Counselors, Nurse Practitioners. Here it is now, 7 months later, and I have never in my career felt more confident than now, with a hint of undulating uncertainty when something new comes my way. Honestly, I hope that never changes. Because if you never feel uncertain or cautious, how the hell will you know when to grow? That feeling is what keeps me seeking out training, continuing education, and taking risks in therapy. Be cautious, but be bold as hell about it.

This new roll as a private practice SLP comes with a respect that you don’t automatically get as a school-based SLP, from both parents and professionals alike. It’s not a bad thing. I think I have some bias of my own about school nurses vs. nurses in hospitals or clinics. Why do I have that? It’s nonsense. Now being in a new roll and seeing how much parents and professionals truly value my ideas and contributions, it’s empowering. Yet I still miss being part of a school environment, greeting 500 kids, cleaning up messes from lunch, and playing on playgrounds and calling it therapy. My schedule is still busy and I’m always behind on paperwork. Changing settings didn’t really change my pro-level procrastination abilities. (ha!)

I love my new job. I love my patients. I like the daily challenges I face.

And here’s a quick peek at my weekly schedule. I get every Friday off, so yay for 3 day weekends!

An SLP in Alaska: Making Waves & Taking Names

Since my last update, I’ve been having fun exploring new SLP assignments for work within the Mat-Su Borough School District.

My week often looks like this:

  • Mondays, Tuesday, Fridays: Providing speech therapy services for homeschool students enrolled in our school district. Families bring their kids in to work with me for 30 minutes to an hour. It’s always a fun adventure navigating schedules, parents, and materials.
  • Wednesday & Thursdays: I travel to student’s homes and provide speech therapy services to medically fragile students who cannot attend a brick-and-mortar school.

This has been a huge change from my first 2 years as an SLP where I worked full-time in 1 school (K-2)…And I ABSOLUTELY love it. It’s dynamic and I get to see a variety of ages, diagnoses, and locations in the beautiful Mat-Su Valley.

Since starting to work with the population with multiple disabilities, I’ve had to step up my parent communication, collaboration, and technology skills.

My plan is to post a few reads about how I’m learning on-the-fly and taking basic skills to the next level as I continue to grow and develop as a Speech-Language Pathologist. I’ll start my 4th year with Mat-Su in the fall – we shall see what’s in store! Stay tuned!

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The Last Frontier and Me, an SLP

I moved to Alaska on July 7, 2013. I’ve been here almost a year. I haven’t spoke of it much on my blog, mostly because I didn’t think people would care. But its become such a huge piece of why I love being an SLP and why I don’t want to leave, that I need to share – I need to you all to hear what is happening in Alaska….allow me to share with you, my readers, a piece of me.  A piece of self that I found here.


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