Association News

Published on May 28th, 2019


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

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 Geneviève Lemieux.

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


Describe your work setting.

I work in two elementary schools in a French-language school board in the town of Côte St-Luc, on the island of Montreal, Quebec. Both of these schools have more than 600 students. Most of these students come from immigrant backgrounds (first and second generation) and their first language is not French — they are bilingual or trilingual.

Between my two schools, there are a total of 10 kindergarten reception classrooms, as well as 10 elementary grade reception classrooms, in addition to regular classes. I work two days per week in one school, and one and a half days per week in the other.

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

If we’re only counting direct services, I meet with approximately 50 students per year.

Can you tell us something unique about your position?

We serve a client base that is primarily multilingual and multicultural. We also have to take into account the particular type of bilingualism that exists in the Montreal area, where English is markedly present in all areas of business. I would say that I work in a “linguistic cocktail!”

Diversity and inclusion are very important values in this setting; several staff members come from multicultural backgrounds themselves.

What does an average day look like?

A normal day? There is always something unexpected in a school setting. For example, here is a snapshot of my day yesterday.

Arriving at school, I start preparing materials for my first group of students. I go fetch them in their classroom, but one of them can’t find one of their shoes, so we look for (and find) the shoe in another hallway. I work with those three boys for about 40 minutes, and then go get a new student and start a new assessment. During recess, I have an interview with a teacher. The next period also involves starting an assessment with a new student (who asks me if my office is my house).

At lunch, I meet with the school psychologist for some case discussions. After lunch, I prepare some documents to add to a funding application for a handicapped child. I then have two more students to meet: when I go get the first, there is no substitute teacher in the classroom, so I call the administration office to let them know. For the last period of the day, I have an individual session with a child who just saw the resource teacher. The end of my day is devoted to scoring assessments, writing progress notes and preparing my next therapy sessions.

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

I see the students once a week, usually at a fixed time. For preschool children, I do my intervention in the classroom. They integrate me into the ongoing classroom activity (Madame Geneviève is coming to make playdough with us!).

Most of the older kids who are pulled from their class to work with me appreciate having a change from more “academic” tasks for that period.

What is the best part of your job?

Seeing the world through children’s eyes.

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

You have to be very well organized to be able to work efficiently, prioritize your tasks and justify your choices.

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

As I always say to new speech-language pathologists: this work isn’t always easy, but it’s never boring!

About Geneviève Lemieux

Geneviève has been a school-based speech-language pathologist for more than 30 years. She has always worked in the Montreal area. Over the course of her career, Geneviève has served in many of the schools in her school board, and has provided services in school adaptation classrooms (severe language disorders, autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disabilities and learning disabilities). She currently works in regular classrooms as well as with students undergoing academic and social language integration. She was a board member for her professional college for approximately 10 years. She currently sits on two committees (Studies Committee and Clinical Teaching) for the Université de Montréal’s School of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.


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