I’m finishing my clinical fellowship in two weeks! I am placed at two elementary schools in Southern California. Graduate school definitely prepared me for my clinical fellowship, but I was not expecting to learn these lessons:
It is very valuable to do a Clinical Fellowship with an organization you believe in, with a strong team, and with one that will complement your work/life balance. As CF’s we’ve worked so hard through graduate school, we wouldn’t want to spoil it with a CF that doesn’t feel right!
There is such a thing as too many materials. Yes, look and gather all of the free materials available (subscribing to TPT or Instagram SLPs will usually get you a freebie), but keep a folder specifically for things you can use every day, for any student. I originally downloaded tons of materials “just in case,” but eventually weeded out the ones I wasn’t truly in love with.
It’s really important that your clients (especially little ones!) know exactly what you’re asking them to do! Also remember to teach the skill, don’t just test them. Give clear directions that they will understand.
Collaborate with as many teachers, caregivers, counselors, literacy specialists, behaviorists, etc. as you can. Introduce yourself and what services you can provide at the start of the school year and check periodically throughout the year. It can be surprising how many educators and administrators don’t know what we do!
There are a million ways to do something and every SLP is different! You will likely come from different education and clinical experience from your supervisor and the previous SLP in your position. Truthfully, the families you work with won’t care which technique you use and if another SLP might do it a different way. What’s most important is that they trust you and that you care about their child. Focus on building a genuine, trusting relationship with your clients and their families and they will trust your clinical judgment. If caregivers or clients disagree, having data, such as progress reports and research articles are helpful too.
Lastly, things can wait. My to-do list is never-ending, but it is the job that I want to do! I map out my monthly tasks and then pick daily or weekly goals. Give yourself some grace if you can’t get to something that day (and pick a few fewer things to do for the next day).