The ASHA Leader asked readers, "What were the most compelling reasons for you to become a speech-language pathologist or audiologist?" Here's what some of them said:
I became an audiologist because of my father. He was one of the first private-practice audiologists in the country, and has such a passion for helping people hear better. It was wonderful to grow up seeing firsthand how he was able to touch lives and how his patients became almost like family. Being able to love what you do after doing it for more than 35 years speaks volumes for a profession. I love being an audiologist and continuing to give the best audiological care to our patients at the office we work in together!
Sarah Schumaier-Campbell, AuD, CCC-A
I Love to Talk
In ninth grade I was required to do a report on a medical profession. I chose physical therapy. As a related topic, speech-language pathology showed up in my research. I had never even heard of the field, but it got me thinking about how awful my life would be if I wasn't able to talk. I LOVE to talk! So that feeling of empathy inspired me to become a speech-language pathologist. Mind you, I had never met one before. I didn't really know what they did—other than helping people who had difficulty talking to be able to communicate. It worked out great, though. Almost 30 years later I still love to talk and I still take great pride and satisfaction in helping children to be able to express themselves effectively.
Robin Stevens, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech Difficulties as a Child
I had speech deficits as a child and loved what we did in therapy. I like helping people and knew speech was a great way to help kids and adults. I started with pediatrics and now I am working with adults. Every day is more rewarding with each new person I help.
Adam R. Nadle, MS, CCC-SLP
My Dad's Communication Deficits
I became a speech-language pathologist because my dad had a major cerebrovascular accident, which severely affected his communication skills. He was 50 years old and I was 15 years old. I had a high school guidance counselor who wisely hooked me up with a week-long program at Purdue University to introduce the field of speech-language pathology. I've never regretted this decision. I've met s-o-o-o-o-o many wonderful folks.
Pamela Seibert, MAT, CCC-SLP
The most compelling reason I became and remain a speech-language pathologist, and why I thoroughly enjoy my work, is that communication is such a basic yet crucial need of every human being, and we are able to affect lives in that essential area of need. I think of the mom who was brought to tears when she first heard her son say his name with perfect articulation. I think of the proud look of satisfaction on the face of a loving husband as his aphasic wife was finally able to communicate a thought and be understood. In small and big ways, we have the power to effect lifelong change in the lives of people, and that is a wonderful thing. The other factor is the vast variety of populations we are able to work with, which makes our profession extremely interesting, multi-faceted, and challenging, all at the same time!
Ana Paula G. Mumy, MS, CCC-SLP
Science, Flexibility, Autonomy
I loved the blend of biology and language, being medically related, having tremendous flexibility and autonomy, and being a service provider to those in need. They are what brought me to the field. They are what have kept me here. I do have concerns about the bureaucratic red tape and inefficiency in early intervention, school systems, insurance, Medicaid, and such. While I remain in the field and passionate about what we do, these factors have driven me to abandon being a provider primarily. While I understand that every discipline and industry has similar challenges, I would love to see us mitigate these issues more aggressively and effectively with ASHA's help.
Teresa Signorelli, PhD, CCC-SLP