Why am I a traveling speech therapist? Why do I choose to leave the comfort of my home office to see kids in their home or daycare? Why don’t I just work for the schools? I often ask myself this very question…especially during the winter…or heavy rainstorms. When the weather stinks, the day tends to drag. I think of all my school based and clinic based SLP friends all warm and cozy in their therapy rooms…not driving.
Here’s a few reasons I do all of the traveling.
Convenience for the Family
It’s much easier for me to bring the materials and drive myself than it is for mom to get out with little ones. Whether she has one kid or 9, it’s more convenient that I do the traveling. Many of my current clients homeschool. The children’s school time is cut down when mom has to load everyone up to sit in a waiting room while little Johnny gets speech therapy. Sure they could do some school work in the waiting room, but let’s be honest…not going to happen! Since I travel to them, school time can go on as regularly scheduled.
Another convenience to traveling is I can reach the kiddos who do not have transportation. Many times when I worked in the clinic setting, I would have parents call to cancel simply because they did not have a car or it was broken. I even have moms that have never gotten a driver’s license! If they don’t have a license, they are not about to drive their kid to therapy! Sure Medicaid can provide transportation but would you want to be stuck on a bus ALL DAY with strangers and your exhausted toddler? Didn’t think so.
I cannot tell you how many cancellations I would have when it was storming outside. Streets flooding, electricity going out equals a ton of cancellations! The same for extremely cold temperatures. We live in Texas. When it gets cold (like 30 degree temps), we don’t know how to act…SERIOUSLY. So I took that factor completely out when I became the one traveling. Because I will do therapy by candle light when the electricity goes out. I will be the one soaked from traveling house to house. But it’s ok! I am doing what I love to do! Less cancellations means less make up sessions…which means more time to take care of “office stuff” on Fridays.
Speech Therapist Becomes Family
It’s different when you go into the home. You become one of the family eventually. I am in people’s houses twice a week every week. The siblings look forward to my visit as much as my client does. Families are more relaxed at home so you see their true self. It’s amazing! I love the moms that apologize for a messy kitchen or an unswept floor. Guess what? It’s ok. I am walking into your life for 30 minutes today. Life happens. You can also see how the client interacts with the family at home. It is a much more real picture of the child than sitting in a therapy room at a sterile clinic. This is the best perk of traveling… seeing the family life!
Since you are working with he child in the home, carryover is a little easier to work on. When you work in a clinic or school, once that child walks out of your room, he won’t think about speech again until the next session!
So, in short, do I enjoy the driving and hauling bags of toys and playdough around? No. But what I do enjoy is the REASON I drive around hauling toys and playdough!