Association News

Published on May 21st, 2019


Professional Insights: Working as a School-Based S-LP (Daina)

The role of a school-based speech-language pathologist is broad and varies from school to school. However, there is one thing that everyone can agree upon: students benefit from speech-language pathology services!

S-LPs work with students to reach their full communication potential. This, in turn, helps students succeed throughout the day – from making friends, to engaging with their lessons, to growing as an individual.

To explore the work of school-based S-LPs, we asked some of our members to share their experiences working in a school setting.

Today, we hear from Daina Kelly.

To access all articles of this series, please click here.

Describe your work setting.

I work for Keewatin Patricia District School Board in northwestern Ontario. We have four speech-language pathologists covering 16 elementary schools and six high schools. Our school board covers a region the size of France and one S-LP can travel up to 6 hours by car to provide speech and language services.

Approximately how many students do you work with over the course of the school year?

Over the course of the year, I complete around 150 assessments with a caseload of over 180 students. I also supervise 3 speech-language assistants who provide intervention to students from year 1 Full-Day Early Learning to Grade 2.

Can you tell us something unique about your position?

I am part of the rehabilitation team providing speech and language services to students with high needs due, in part, to fetal alcohol exposure. I also work with Indigenous students across northwestern Ontario.

What does an average day look like?

My average day includes traveling up to three hours away to provide assessments to students, consult with school staff and supervise the school’s speech-language assistant and then travel home at the end of the day

How does your role fit in the day of a student?

My role usually has a student being removed from class to complete an assessment.

What is the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is working with great students, teachers and administrators with a board motto of “Kids Come First.”

What is one of the most challenging parts of your job?

One of the most challenging parts of my job is the high caseload and limited family involvement.  Also, due to the geography of our board, the travel can get pretty long, especially over the winter months.

The Takeaway: What do you want people to know about your job as a school-based S-LP?

Due to the high number of students on a caseload and the vast geography of our board, there is limited opportunity to provide direct intervention to students but I feel that I am making a difference and it is rewarding to see the students grow and thrive.

About Daina Kelly

Daina Kelly graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 2004. She has worked in the Ontario Preschool Program and provided services to children with multi-needs in Northwestern Ontario.  In 2011, Daina began work as a school board speech-language pathologist with the Keewatin Patricia District School Board.

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