A New Graduate Speech Pathologist Client Story
In this client story, new graduate speech pathologist Britt demonstrates the importance of tailoring therapeutic interventions to each client’s needs.
Britt identifies the unique clinical lens offered by a speech pathologist and exemplifies how a strengths-based approach can benefit a client if properly tailored to their needs and goals.
Britt’s adult client reported difficulties around social communication, and after observing the client mask language difficulties extremely well, Britt conducted a comprehensive language assessment to uncover the true underlying causes of his social communication difficulties.
Every person is unique. No two people are the same. And so, no two therapies should be the same.
What works for one individual may not work for another, which is why is it important for a therapist to tailor therapeutic interventions to each client.
Let’s hear more about Britt’s client story and how she tailored the interventions to suit her client’s unique therapeutic needs.
The Client’s Background
Britt was introduced to her client, Jay*, when he was aged 20. Jay had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and a mild intellectual disability. Jay studied Media at TAFE and aspired to gain employment in this field upon graduating.
Jay loves drawing, painting, and creating animation, anything that allows him to express himself creatively.
Jay’s areas of concerns that he brought to Britt were initially self-reported difficulties putting thoughts to words, and concerns around social communication. These concerns included:
- Limited conversation skills
- Difficulty building friendships
- Difficulty maintaining friendships
- Difficulty communicating with people other than parents
- Social isolation
Jay’s Journey with Britt and the Multidisciplinary Team (MDT)
Britt worked as part of Jays MDT, who looked holistically at his current skills across a range of life domains, desired outcomes, and social circumstances to determine support needs.
Firstly, Britt gained rapport with Jay and his family, to understand what goals and achievements were important to them.
Noting Jay’s passion for creative media and his TAFE course, Britt tailored his therapeutic interventions to his interests. Mentioning not only the impact social communication difficulties would have on his ability to build meaningful relationships, but also impact his ability to showcase his skills to potential employers and advocate for himself in the workplace.
Through building a solid rapport with Jay, Britt noted that he was extremely good at masking his language difficulties. Jay often used big words, and frequently used non-verbal cues to simulate engagement and understanding.
Britt was curious to know what was holding Jay back, and conducted a comprehensive language assessment, and upon a deeper look, found severe receptive and expressive language difficulties.
It became clear that Jay had learned to mask these difficulties by drawing on his large vocabulary and using non-verbal cues to feign understanding.
As Britt had taken a deeper dive into Jay’s social communication difficulties, rather than looking at social skills alone, Britt was able to effectively tailor intervention to suit his needs.
After the assessments, Britt and Jay commenced telehealth intervention, due to the client’s love of technology, and to save on travel costs and time.
The Outcomes of Speech Pathology
With this tailored, evidence-based intervention, Jay quickly gained self-confidence, and became empowered to know his strengths and therefore advocate for himself.
In using a strengths-based approach to target the development of Jay’s expressive, receptive, and social pragmatic language, these skills improved, and he was able to communicate his thoughts, ideas, and feelings more clearly, and participate more independently in conversations.
Jay’s family reported significant positive improvements to his self-confidence and independence at home and in the community.
Reflecting on Speech Pathology Week
As a new graduate speech pathologist at Therapy Pro, Britt reflects on her journey so far as a speech pathologist.
Initially, Britt started her Masters of Speech Pathology with the intention of working in youth justice, aiming at working to fight recidivism by empowering young offenders through language and literacy education.
However, during her studies she worked part time as a disability support worker, where she developed a love for empowering people with disability to realise their fullest potential.
“Now I work as a therapist in the disability space, where I can continue to support people to increase their independence on a daily basis.”
Britt is excited for the future as she continues her career as a speech pathologist in the disability sector.
Along with the clinical supervision and support at Therapy Pro, the work shadowing, coaching and wide range of multidisciplinary teams, Britt expresses her gratitude for Speech Pathology Australia, as a way for her to remain engaged with the field and have access to updates about new evidence, learnings and practices.
*All client details have been deidentified*
Looking for Support with Communication or Swallowing Difficulties?
Head to our Speech and Language Pathology services page for more information on the many ways our Therapy Pro speech pathologists support individuals.
View Britt’s profile for a look at her areas of experience and service locations.
If you’re looking for support with a speech-language challenge, whether for yourself, a family member, or client, reach out to our team and we will connect you with a therapist in your area.
Fill in the form below to get started.