We recently sat down with Sarah Baldwin, M.S., CCC-SLP, to dive into her background and experience, clinical approach, inspiration for becoming a speech therapist, and more. You can read more about Sarah here.
Can you spend a few minutes talking about your experience and background as a speech therapist?
I have been a speech therapist for 19 years. I received my undergraduate degree in Communication Disorders from North Carolina State University (NCSU) and my graduate degree in Speech Language Pathology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). Over my career, I have worked with pediatric clients in private practice, home health, and in the school system setting. I have also worked with adults clients at skilled nursing facilities, home health, and inpatient hospitals. I love working with a variety of clients that have varying speech and language needs.
Why did you decide to become a speech therapist?
When I was in high school my grandfather had a stroke and was hospitalized. He received speech therapy for communication and swallowing concerns during his rehabilitation. This made me realize how the area of speech and language disorders were valuable to our relationships and everyday life. It was then that I found my calling: helping individuals and their families by becoming a speech therapist.
What areas of speech-language pathology interest you most?
I love all areas related to speech and language! If I had to choose, I would say I am particularly interested in articulation therapy, fluency therapy, and functional language acquisition (verbal behavior training).
What part of your job do you find most enjoyable?
The victories of my clients is the most enjoyable part of being a speech-language pathologist (SLP). It is empowering and energizing to watch my clients work towards goals and achieve them. I love the teachable, A-Ha moments - they are very exciting and keep me inspired.
Among all the clients you’ve taught throughout your career, is there a particular success story that stands out in your mind?
I have several success stories that stand out in my mind. My favorite story is that of a young man I first began supporting in pre-Kindergarten. When therapy began he was preverbal, shy, and withdrawn. I had the privilege of being that young man’s speech and language therapist from pre-Kindergarten to 2nd grade. We worked consistently on his goals during therapy and his family was wonderful about practicing his speech homework. During the therapy process, I watched him grow into an outgoing and funny young man. He is a senior in high school this year, has great friends, and is a role model for others in his class. He is such an inspiration to me!
How do you assess and monitor your clients’ progress?
Assessing and monitoring my client’s progress comes down to data, data, and more data. I strongly believe in tracking progress to show improvements, starting with collecting data on the targets identified during our initial evaluation. It is very motivating for my clients to see that they went from 50% accuracy on a target to 90% accuracy because of the hard work they put into the process.
What attracted you to online speech therapy?
Online speech therapy provides access to therapy services in a manner that is accessible and convenient for families and individuals. Increased accessibility and convenience for clients can lead to more consistency within the therapy session, as well as improved therapist-client relationships. This stability provides a foundation from which to build and grow towards the targeted goals.
What are your hobbies or passions outside of speech therapy?
My family and I love tent camping. We go tent camping as often as possible. It is wonderful to have time together and be away from all the distractions of everyday life, focusing on spending quality time by the campfire.