Mr. D and the SLP

May is “Better Speech and Hearing Month.”

Did you know that?

I did–but only because I’m an SLP.

And I’d be one sorry SLP if I let the whole month pass me by without saying something about it–so I’m going to share one of my favorite SLP stories with you…..

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This adorable little boy is Mr. D.

Mr. D was a preschooler I met the first year I started working as an SLP.

Every Wednesday and Thursday after my lunch hour, I’d leave the teacher’s lounge and see Mr. D waiting for me outside my classroom with his dad and little brother.

I immediately smiled and the moment he caught sight of me, Mr. D and his little brother would shriek, run as fast as their little legs would carry them and hide behind their dad’s legs.

Then they’d slowly peek out, spot me coming and hurriedly hide again–declaring to one another in loud whispers, “She’s coming!!”

“There she is!!”

“Miss Heidi’s coming!!”

I smiled from ear to ear and played along as I walked up and unlocked my door.

Then I welcomed them in and Mr. D would sit at my table as I told him what we were working on that day.

After that, Mr. D ran to sit on the play rug and we’d start therapy.

He practiced saying sounds and words while I rewarded him with pieces to Mr. Potato Head or a train set or whatever we were playing with that session.

And Mr. D was such a hard worker!

He always did whatever I asked and was so eager to learn.

Then one day, after working with Mr. D for over a year, I told him my wonderful secret.

“I’m going to have a baby,” I told him with a smile and then watched to see if he knew what that meant.

He smiled back up at me, but didn’t say anything.

I touched my stomach and said again, “I’m going to have a baby.”

Again, he didn’t say anything but just smiled and then looked down.

The next week, his dad came to pick up Mr. D after our session.

But instead of leaving, his dad stopped and looked sideways at me.

“Mr. D’s said a couple of times that you’re going to have a baby,” his dad said slowly, “Is that true?”

I beamed, “Yes, it is!”

“Congratulations,” he smiled sincerely.

“Thank you!” I replied.

Then he chuckled to himself and continued, “Mr. D said twice yesterday, Miss Heidi’s going to have a baby, but her egg hasn’t hatched, yet.”

My eyes widened with surprise and then I laughed.

“Oh my goodness, that is so cute!” I said warmly as Mr. D shyly looked up at me and then down again.

Then the weeks and months went by, and before long, I had special news for Mr. D.

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“My egg hatched,” I said as I smiled at Mr. D and showed him my baby boy.

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“Would you like to hold him?” I asked as I carefully handed him my little boy.

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We all smiled and I tried not to be sad that Mr. D and his family were moving away, and I might never see him again.

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And then his little brother got a turn and I remembered all those times when they hid behind their dad’s legs when they saw me coming.

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And then I realized how lucky I was that Mr. D and his wonderful family were my friends.

And that for a short time, I was able to serve them.

Because to me–that’s what being an SLP was all about.


Post dedicated to: Mr. D and his family

Thank you for making my years working as an SLP so special.

And thank you for your permission to share your son. :)

I’m a Speech-language Pathologist


That’s what people usually say when I tell them I was a speech-language pathologist (SLP) at an elementary and middle school before Bubbers was born.

“Oh, you know,” I try to clarify, “I did speech and language therapy with kids.”

“Oh!” the light goes on and they suddenly start to nod with understanding, “So, you would help someone who stutters.”

“That’s right!” I smile.

Then they pause for a minute and ask, “How did you get interested in that?”

“Weeeell,” I answer, “There are a lot of reasons, but mainly because I love English, science, helping people and children. So, this is the perfect combination of them all!”

“What ages do you work with?”

“I’m trained to work with people from birth to geriatric,” I explain, “But I prefer to work with children. When I worked for a school district, I had a caseload of preschoolers up to 8th graders–so they were three years to 14 years old.”

“Wow–that’s quite the range!” they respond, “So, how did you get to be an SLP?”

“I got my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in speech-language pathology,” I explain, “And then I got my national certification by passing a big test and working under the supervision of a certified SLP.”

“Ah,” they reply, “So why did you work for a school district? You could have worked in hospitals, clinics or private practice–why schools?”

“I love schools,” I answer fondly, “Especially elementary schools. I can’t walk through an elementary school without beaming!”

Then they hesitate for a moment and finally ask, “So, what are you going to do now that you’re a mom?”

“I’m not going to work,” I answer firmly, “but I’ll maintain my certification so if I ever need or want to work again, I can.”

“You could just work part-time for schools or have a few clients at your house,” they suggest.

“That’s true,” I agree, “And I’ve set it up so I can do that if I need to, but at this point, I’m very happy not working.”

“But don’t you miss it?” they persist.

That’s when I pause and smile to myself.

“I miss the children,” I answer softly.

And then I continue, “But you know what? Speech-language pathology is so much a part of me that it will never be gone. I think of it every day as I teach my son and it influences every interaction I have with children. It’s so ingrained in me that if you asked me about it and I could answer like I was doing therapy just yesterday.”

“But that’s just how I am,” I shrug, “I love the field. And I’ll always love the field.”