My view is not as amazing as this everyday, however it is one of the perks of being a community speech and language therapist covering most of the Home Counties! Driving through stunning countryside listening to my music makes me feel so happy and uplifted.
Currently I’m out on the road seeing clients 3 full days a week (from 8am to 6pm). The other two days I am at home with my youngest and fit in admin between school drop off/pick ups, gymnastics classes, endless demands for juice/cuddles/food, epic tantrums etc! I used to be rubbish at combining work with life- I need peace and quiet to focus my thoughts. However, I don’t have the luxury of this anymore, and amazingly my skills have improved (why this surprises me when I talk about brain plasticity all the time, but it does!!).
My clients are all acquired Neuro. They range from teenagers to late nineties. They have all sorts of difficulties, strokes, tumours, progressive, TBIs, strange autoimmune disorders…. I work a lot with medico legal cases- not as an expert witness who would testify in court, but as a treating therapist whilst a client is going through the traumatic process of trying to achieve compensation for a life changing event that was due to someone else’s error. I work with some clients for years, others for a short time. I might help ‘top-up’ what they get in the NHS or whilst they wait for NHS therapy. The reason I love my job as it is currently, it that is is purely about therapy in the way that other jobs I have had are not. There is a lot of paperwork to do, but usually all related to the client and therefore relevant. I have a diverse caseload, and although there are always restraints on the amount of the therapy they can have compared to what they actually need, I have the time to think through what I can do in the time I have to make a difference. This contrasts to other jobs where the caseload was ever changing, and much much larger that the therapists in the service could manage between them. Being self employed brings its own challenges and unique differences, but this blog is not about that!
I see between 4-5 clients a day (sometimes six if they are close by) at their home usually, and travel 30,000 miles a year! When I think over my day I’m always amazed at how different my sessions have been- I might be doing tracking with a client emerging from a low awareness state in one session, and wrestling university lecture notes with a high level young TBI client the next. Then I might be doing a very ‘bog standard’ non-fluent aphasic stroke session, and straight into teaching a young adult the rules of Facebook! I’m sure we all have days like that, and one of our talents as an SLT is how adaptable we are – even the narrow specialism of acquired Neuro requires us to cater for an enormous spectrum of difficulties!