Why I Became An SLP

I came to the States to pursue my Master's Degree in Special Education. At that time, I did not know what speech-language pathology was because there was no such a program in China. During my first semester, I took a course on child language development. It was in this class where I analyzed my first language sample. I can still remember my excitement when I figured out the mean length of utterance (MLU) of a language sample. At that moment, I told myself this was what I wanted to do.

As part of the program, I went into an inclusive preschool classroom and worked as a teacher aide. In the classroom, there were typically developing kids as well as kids with autism, ADHD, or other developmental differences. Every week, a speech-language pathologist came in and worked with these kids. I got the opportunity to watch her provide therapy for these kids as well as use conversation or narrative samples to find out what speech or language difficulties these kids had.

I became so interested in analyzing narratives and conversations and wanted to find better ways to use this tool to help kids with language impairments. After graduation, I went to pursue my doctorate in the field of speech-language pathology. This decision opened a whole new world for me.