As a kid, my mom used to take me to work with her whenever I had a short break or vacation. Throughout my childhood, she was an adaptive physical education teacher who worked in numerous schools in New York City. At that time I couldn't possibly have predicted that I would follow a similar career path and go into the field of special education as a speech-language pathologist (I was in it mostly for the chance to hang out with the cute little kids and the promise of a sushi lunch with my mom).
My mother has since retired, but I vividly remember those days, meeting her colleagues, and learning about special education. She worked with a team of passionate and hardworking individuals, most of whom were jammed into small classrooms and converted janitorial closets. Everyone made due and everyone wore a smile.
I originally entitled this article "The Modern Speech Language Pathologist." But the more I began to think about our profession and special education on the whole, the more I came to realize the importance of what has held steadfast and true over the years, rather than what is shiny and new. iPads, SMART Boards, touch screen computers -- I am a huge fan! I believe these tools are revolutionizing special education.
Yet in the face of ever-advancing technology and seemingly endless budget constraints, all special needs professionals must adhere to our core tenets.
With changes in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders coming in 2013, continued educational reforms and a struggling economy, it is imperative that we hold on tight -- to our values and to each other -- because it will no doubt continue to be a bumpy ride.
Follow Jaime Openden, M.S., CCC-SLP on Twitter: www.twitter.com/bignityventures