10 Biggest (Yet Common!) Challenges of Being a Speech Therapist in Chicago

Speech Therapist

Chicago is a land of opportunities. Chicago speech therapy centers are specifically known worldwide for their impeccable service and availability of top-notch pathologists who know their work.

If you’re also planning to start your speech therapy center in Chicago, you should know that there is a massive competition in this space.

This guide will help you uncover the top 10 biggest challenges of being a speech therapist in Chicago.

  1.       Caseload

Speech therapists working in public domains are often confronted with the problem of the high caseload. 

A higher caseload is not only challenging but could be seriously stressful for the therapist. They often find it hard to understand the specific needs of each child and communicate and collaborate with their families to devise a well-thought-out plan to help the child.

Furthermore, since speech therapists are required to do a lot of paperwork, they end up doing it at their homes, which also affects their personal lives. Hence, the job of a speech therapist is seriously challenging because of the high caseload.

  1.   Evidence-based research

A major challenge confronting the profession of speech therapy is evidence-based research. The trend has shifted from textbooks to scanning peer-reviewed journal articles. Articles provide more evidence of clinical practice involving a longitudinal study approach. Hence, students are no longer bound to exploring theoretical knowledge from textbooks.

But, now they are supposed to conduct extensive research and collect evidence-based literature. Scanning papers from the database to understand the current trends in speech therapy research is a rigorous task.

  1.   The need to critically appraise research work

Speech therapy students must be willing to critically appraise research work. Scanning literature is not enough. Most researchers come across the challenge of examining research design, methodologies, and statistical tools and techniques. The researcher often reads the abstract and discussion from the papers and does not explore the paper in more detail.

  1.   Expected to deliver outside of the scope

Another major challenge with people studying and working in the domain of speech-language therapy is that they are often asked to work out of scope. Instead of working in their specialized area, they are expected to perform a range of duties that are completely irrelevant to their profession.

Moreover, the lack of efforts on the part of public authorities to educate the public and develop institutes makes it all the more exasperating for your practitioners. Along with these challenges, speech therapists find it difficult to follow their code of practice.

  1.   Scheduling

Scheduling meetings with a client or a student at school is really painful. Each student or client may have their specific needs and working in groups with a proper schedule could be seriously challenging. What may work for one person, may not work for the other.

Plus, it’s really hard to find commonality in the needs of two or more clients. In addition to this, scheduling is extremely difficult due to planning and implementation. Working for diverse groups with distinct needs is not easy. There may be a group requiring help for stuttering, another one with poor social skills, and another with slow learning. Speech therapists have to be creative to deal with such groups.

They have to develop evidence-based learning programs that not only work well for a specific group but are also flexible to resolve issues of multiple groups simultaneously. Client engagement is a key for speech therapy success. Therefore, scheduling, planning, and implementing therapy is a significant challenge for speech therapists.

  1.   Lack of resources

Speech therapists are often unable to work to their full potential. In most instances, they are deprived of material resources, essential to engage their client. Developing speech therapy programs with inadequate resources is impossible. Plus, the efficacy of the program may be questioned too. Any blame for ineffectiveness is put on the practitioner.

Unfortunately, due to a lack of resources, most speech therapists consider the profession unattractive. However, many devote their resources to serve their clients.

  1.   Non-professionals working in the same domain

Another major issue confronting aspiring speech therapists in Chicago is the increasing number of non-professionals working in the same domain. Due to a lack of resources at the federal and state level, most of the agencies and public schools offering speech therapy courses employ non-specialized people on jobs.

Most people, who do not have a Master’s Degree to qualify for a speech pathologist, are allowed to enter the field with a Bachelor’s degree. The services they provide are not close to being effective. Plus, their expertise is not even close to qualified professionals.

Non-professionals are allowed to enter the domain of early intervention and developmental delays. This also affects the reputation of the profession as new aspirants are often ambiguous regarding career progression in speech therapy.

  1.   Mechanistic organizational structure

Another challenge for aspirants in the field is the bureaucratic organizational structure. Most of the people working at the top and devising policy are not related to the domain. They lack knowledge of the field. Plus, providing autonomy to speech therapists is critical to make sure that client-centric therapy is provided. Controlling them excessively would not discourage them. Hence, it is essential to acknowledge that mechanistic organizational structure remains an issue in the field.

  1.   Incorporating learning into practice

Whatever they learn must be incorporated. However, this is easier said than done. Discovering new modes of practice using evidence-based research is critical.

Learning new techniques and updating one’s knowledge could be painstaking especially while one has already entered the sphere of practice. Also, adapting new techniques and minimizing the use of old ones in everyday practice is challenging.

  1.   Gap between public and private speech therapy

Another major challenge is the common perception among aspiring speech therapists that public therapy is inferior to private therapy. However, it is essential to know that this is not true. Public therapists are equally qualified, if not more so, like speech therapists working in the private sector. The only difference is the level of resources private individuals have.

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