SLP helps DPS students find their voice

SLP helps DPS students find their voice

by Nole B.

While most people are familiar with the typical hierarchy of school teachers and principals, there’s one hero that’s never given their due; the speech-language pathologist. Mrs. Barrett has worked for both Duxbury Middle and High School for 15 years, and has helped children with speech problems. She switches between the two schools everyday, helping children whenever they need it. 

Despite it’s difficulty, Mrs. Barret presents a very laid-back environment when hanging out with her students. 

“In general I help with problem solving, communicating” she said “… sometimes kids will come in with their own problems.” 

Although she always had an interest in psychology, Mrs. Barret didn’t consider it as a possible job until college. She took a course on child psychology, and worked the rest of her school years to become a child pshycologist. She applies her college education to create many strategies to teach kids whenever they’re in a difficult situation. For example, one of her strategies involves using a keyword, which usually helps overwhelmed students feel more relaxed. Often, her strategies are used to help de-escalate a situation.  

“[It] helps a student to stop-and-think, [to] take a moment and recognize that they’re struggling and can take a lap in the hallway or take some deep breaths. Sometimes during an emotionally-rich situation, we don’t always recognize when we’re about to say something we might regret later or demonstrate behavior that isn’t acceptable,”

A teacher’s job isn’t always easy, however. Occasionally, Mrs. Barret may have to think outside the box when teaching her children. The biggest challenge she’s ever faced was actually working during the COVID-19 quarintine. 

“It’s hard because scheduling is all over the place, kids can’t be in school regularly. There’s less time to connect with children.” 

Overall the life of a speech-language pathologist is a thankless job, yet Mrs. Barret works tirelessly to make sure her students are improving their speech before they graduate high school. 

When asked for some parting advice for anyone currently struggling, she said, “Always reach out to people, we need people so always reach out. Also buy more cats.”

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