As I hacked through the dense forest of life, I found myself supporting friends, family, and clients in a variety of unexpected ways.
Through my personal journey with childhood trauma and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) resulting in extreme levels of depression and anxiety mirroring bipolar disorder, I quickly learned how difficult life can be on a daily basis.
I soon realized that my graduate education in psychology woven together with my career in speech-language pathology gave me a unique perspective of cognitive-linguistic (thinking-talking) difficulties associated with stress and mental illness.
A master's degree in speech-language pathology gave me the expertise to diagnose and treat both cognitive-linguistic and communication disorders.
Cognitive-linguistic disorders include difficulties with memory, attention, planning (executive functions), impulse control, judgement, and problem solving.
Communication disorders include difficulties: understanding and following directions (receptive language), effectively communicating wants and needs (expressive language) and appropriately navigating verbal and non-verbal language in social situations (pragmatic language).
Advanced education in psychology provided me with the knowledge and skills to differentiate normal and disordered cognition, human behavior and emotion.
Personal and professional experience granted me the ability to mesh the two together in a unique way.
Looking at the impact of daily life on cognition and communication through a
cognitive-linguistic lens offers a dimension many professionals cannot navigate.
Mental health professionals diagnose and treat mental illness through social-emotional paths often missing the cognitive-linguistic aspects. Cognitive-linguistic professionals often miss the social-emotional aspects of cognitive-linguistic disorders.
Is this unusual in a society of clinical specificity?
Individuals are highly trained for specific areas of expertise and sometimes miss the swan in a lake full of geese.
Providing an accurate diagnosis can be difficult for professionals in all areas of medicine. Practitioners rely heavily on differential diagnosis to rule out similar symptoms to make a diagnosis.
In a perfect world all diagnoses would be made by a team of specialists.
Misdiagnoses are common - check out the blog post Avoid Misdiagnosis - 7 Effective Strategies to Take Control [Decrease Your Odds].
Robyn Maciejewski, MHS, CCC-SLP/L
National Certification: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP)
State License: State of Illinois Department of Professional Regulation (IDPR) License in Speech-Language Pathology
Professional Educators License: Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Professional Educators License with an endorsement in Speech-Language Pathology
What is national certification?
Both educational and practicum requirements must be fulfilled in order to obtain certification from the national certifying board (ASHA).
1) Masters Degree in Communication Pathology. This includes advanced coursework in normal and disordered speech, language, learning, cognition, swallowing and a supervised clinical experience.
2) A 9-month supervised Clinical Fellowship Year (CFY).
3) Passing the national board examination.
Once all three of these requirements have been met, the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) is awarded and the intern becomes a fully certified speech-language pathologist. In order to maintain the state license and the national certification, continuing education hours must be earned on a yearly basis.