Monday, May 21, 2012

Thing Number Five | Conversation

I am a speech-language pathologist. Conversation is what I do.
I spend so very much of my day in conversation. Case managing with colleagues. Going over the day’s lesson plans with my SLP-A. Discussing students’ progress with parents and developing new goals in IEPs. Teaching kids how to say /r/ or when to use the plural –s versus the plural –es marker or how to participate in conversation. Yes, I actually teach kids how to converse.

Conversation seems like such a natural way of interacting. You say something about something, I say something about the same thing, you respond on the same topic; back and forth we go, maintaining the topic, engaging with each other, and offering appropriate eye contact and gestures. Seems so easy, right? Not for all of my students. Some of them have to be taught how to have a conversation. What to say, when to say it, and how to say it. What not to say. How to wait your turn. What to do when you’re tired of the topic and want to change it. How to use your body language and not just your words in conversation. Not every kid picks this up through incidental learning. Some kids, especially those on the autism spectrum, need to be explicitly taught. And it’s not easy!

Talk, talk, talk, sometimes it seems like that’s all I do, all day long. So when the work day is over, I often don’t want to talk. I hate talking on the phone. Most of my conversations with friends and extended family take place via text or e-mail. I love having the technology that can give my voice a rest but keep the conversation going with the people I love.

At the end of a long day at work, I sometimes wish I was a librarian instead of an SLP. Then, instead of participating in all the conversations, I could just say, “Shhhhhh.”

No comments:

Post a Comment