12th May 2014 - first day in my new role as a Speech and Language Therapy Assistant (SLTA).
I was starting on 2.5 days and working purely in the school age service. I would be working alongside numerous Speech and Language Therapists (SLT), and in charge of my own working diary. Nervous, excited, ready for a new challenge - a number of emotions were circling in my mind. My background had been in education and now I was changing to work in the health sector – would I be able to cope? Would there be too many changes to get my head around? I pride myself on being an organised individual and so I knew I had to be on my game in order to keep up and understand the importance of my role.
Weeks go by and my feet are barely touching the ground. I’m not one to keep still and not lap up the opportunities that arise – so I’m busy visiting new schools across the area, starting to build relationships with staff in schools and attend as much training as I possibly can. Some of the programmes and interventions I am training staff on are programmes I have run myself so having that experience becomes invaluable. The smile however, never leaves my face.
Months start to go by and I begin to settle (my feet start to brush the ground a little!). The jargon (that is all too familiar now) isstarting to make more sense and colleagues that have started since I joined the team are looking to me for advice and support. This boosts my confidence – it is safe to say as an SLTA I do not know everything at this point and I do not kid myself in thinking that I do. That feeling is something I have become aware will probably never be the case – but is also a very exciting outlook.
Very quickly, months become years. My hours have increased at work, our teams have merged and developed, and I have taken on new responsibilities. I am now part of the early years team and work one day a week with an SLT at a children’s centre, supporting families with their children. Taking this on has definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone – under 5’s are not my area of experience but I soon feel that this could be very useful in my own professional development. School age is still my bread and butter so to speak, but the impact of this new addition proves to be extremely worthwhile.
I am also no longer the newest SLTA in our team, which after nearly 5 years, is a crazy thought.
"for those interested in becoming an SLTA, grab those opportunities when you see them!"
A mentor was required and so I volunteered my time and skills to this new challenge. The latest recruit was from a very similar background to myself so I felt I could offer her some real life experiences and support.
Fast forward to 10th February 2019. I checked my emails on a Sunday night, before the rush of the new week began and I spotted an email from Pearson informing me that my nomination for the Shine a Light Awards had been selected as a finalist. The swell of pride that pulsed through me was exhilarating – I genuinely couldn’t believe it. I wanted my nomination to be recognised for what he had done for himself and for others and I took a punt in nominating him (he also had no idea I had done so, which was where a swell of panic then struck me next!).
To think back to 12th May, 5 years ago, when this world of speech and language therapy was fairly new and fresh in my mind to now, when the relationships that I had built in schools and with individuals had resulted in this exciting opportunity – there was no better feeling. To say I have the best job in the world is no understatement and this was the icing on the cake. But don’t think this is the culmination of my time as an SLTA - I continue to learn, support others and be part of a wonderful team in driving us forward to be better.
I’m hoping this first blog post may be the start of something exciting and that I can share more of my experiences in the Speech and Language Therapy world with you all. I would love your feedback.
Most of all, thanks for reading!
About the author
Megan David is a Speech & Language Therapy Assistant Practitioner ((West – Wyre Forest, Malvern and Worcester)) at the Children’s Speech & Language Therapy Service. Twitter: @MegD121