The Month of May is “Better Speech and Hearing” Month

What does a Speech and Language Pathologist do?

Abington+High+School+Speech+and+Language+Pathologist+Ms.+Sandra+Solano+came+to+the+High+School+in+2019+and+serves+students+in+all+grades+with+speech%2C+language%2C+and+communication+challenges.

Sandra Solano, personal photo

Abington High School Speech and Language Pathologist Ms. Sandra Solano came to the High School in 2019 and serves students in all grades with speech, language, and communication challenges.

Jordan Little, Contributor

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” This is a question we are asked many times throughout our lives. And like many of us, Ricky Little was unsure of the answer to that question, until he found Speech-Language Pathology.

A Speech-language pathologist (SLPs) works to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders. A speech pathologist works with clients all ages: from babies who struggle with feeding in a NICU, to elderly stroke patients in nursing homes, to students in school.

It was very cool to create therapy plans for my individual client as well as being able to build rapport.”

— Ricky Little

Little, an Abington High School alumnus, is currently attending Bridgewater State University as part of their Speech-Language Pathology program. Through the undergraduate program there, he received his bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders, and he is currently working through their graduate program to attain his master’s degree in Speech Pathology.

When he started college, Little was unsure of what he wanted to do. All he knew was that he wanted to do something where he would be helping people. He eventually stumbled upon an introduction to speech pathology class and ended up really enjoying it.

“For me, it is the perfect combination of science and social. There is so much science that is involved and it’s really cool. But I also love that we get to work with real people and connect with them,” Little said.

He also got the chance to work with a client this past semester, which he called “my favorite part of the program.”

Little said, “It was my first client, and it was an amazing experience. It was very cool to create therapy plans for my individual client as well as being able to build rapport.”

Schools often have Speech and Language Pathologists. At Abington Pubic Schools, this role is filled by Mrs. Sandra Solano.  She joined the Abington High School faculty in the fall of 2019 and has worked as a speech and language pathologist for over 20 years.

Solano received her undergraduate degree from the University of Central Florida and her graduate degree from Northern Arizona University. She holds a Bachelor’s in Communication Sciences and Disorders and a Master’s in Clinical Speech Pathology.

Solano has worked in many different settings throughout her career as a Speech and Language Pathologist. She has worked in schools, private practice, and in a nursing home. And each setting has entailed something different for Solano.

When she worked at a private practice, Solano worked mainly in early intervention. At the nursing home, Solano did stroke rehab working with the aphasia and the swallowing issues that can occur after a stroke.

Solano now works with a wide array of students in Abington’s school setting. She works with “students who struggle with a stutter, students with language disorders that can affect them with articulation (sound production) and language disorders that affect them when they are reading, answering questions, and/or writing a paper.”

Besides these areas, Solano said she focuses on “social pragmatic skills” that students with “Autism Spectrum disorders have difficulties with.”

It is not only the students who Solano works with. She said she collaborates with teachers “regarding strategies that help students with hearing impairments in the classroom.”

When asked how she feels about working with the students and faculty at Abington High School, Solano replied “I love my job.

NOTE: Ricky Little is the brother of the author of this story

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