Updated: Feb 18, 2019
How did I end up in Speech-Language Pathology?
Have you ever stumbled upon something and thought “where have you been all my life?” Well, that is how I came to know and love this field of speech-language pathology.
It was the July-August vacation of 2007, and I had to submit my 3 subject choices for Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) to study while in sixth form at (THE) Bishop Anstey High School in Port-of-Spain. Because I had studied and performed well in 10 subjects at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate level, I had a few options. However, I knew without a doubt that I wanted to do French and Spanish and there was no changing my mind.
The following were my options:
English Literature. Also, nope.
Chemistry. Double nope.
Physics. N to the OPE!!
So, there it was – my 3 choices: French, Spanish and Biology. Most people chose subjects that “go together” and fall in line with what they would like to study at university. You’ll hear the options like: history, literature and sociology; math, chemistry and physics; economics, accounting and management of business. I think I was the first person at the school to do that combination (there has only been one other since me – that I know of, of course). The Sixth Form Dean at the time asked me “what are you going to do with those subjects, Kiara?” Honestly, I had no clue. I figured that I may not even use them at university.
So, the question may arise “how did you not have even an inkling of what you wanted to do that far along into your education?” That’s the thing: I did…a few times. However, at the first sign of struggle with a subject, I gave up on a subject. I wanted to get into botany, but geography/environmental science wasn’t my thing, so I gave up on that. Next was biochemistry because I wanted to make my own cosmetics, but chemistry and I failed to see eye to eye. Then was ophthalmology but physics and I had a STRONG falling out that all things med school went out the door. By that time, CSEC exams were already upon me and I hadn’t found my new “thing” yet.
One fateful day during that very vacation, I was sitting on my maternal grandparents’ bed watching MTV. “True Life: I’m a Staten Island girl” was showing. Danielle DiPietro had aspirations of becoming an actress but her accent was so “thick” that she was turned down often. So, she decided to go to a speech-language pathologist for accent modification. And that was my moment, my “where have you been all my life?” moment!! My mind immediately began racing. I flew off my grandmother’s bed and on to my aunt’s computer. I googled everything I could find about speech-language pathology. I fell more and more in love with every click and scroll. I printed everything (well as much as my aunt would allow) to show everyone. I had found my calling!!
Unfortunately, not everyone was sold on the idea. “Why are you wasting a brain like yours on something like that?” “Wouldn’t you prefer to do medicine or law?” “I’m sure there’s no place for something like that here!” But nothing could sway me. At that time, I was only aware of 5 SLPs in the country. The one who took me under her wing after my undergrad school and offered me a position before I even graduated with my masters, Dr. Keisha Lindsay, is a MAJOR factor in my continued pursuit of all things SLP.
Biology, French and Spanish were my choices.
What do you choose?
Kiara M. Matthews, MS, CCC-SLP
Founder & Speech-Language Pathologist