“This is where I wanted to be, and this is where I am.”
Brian Schaab feels lucky to be a part of Pine Tree Society’s Communication Pathways team.
“Two years ago, I met Linda Bonnar-Ivery and knew Pine Tree Society was where I wanted to work once I became a speech-language pathologist.”
Linda is the director of Pine Tree Society’s Communication Pathways program and knows first-hand how committed you have to be to earn a speech-language pathologist certification.
“Becoming a speech-language pathologist is a pretty big goal. It takes six years of school and a minimum of nine months of full-time supervision before you can be affiliated with the American Speech and Hearing Association and earn your certification to become a full-fledged speech-language pathologist.”
Brian is Pine Tree Society’s newest speech-language pathologist, but he’s no stranger to the team. After completing his master’s degree, he completed two years of clinical fellowship training at Pine Tree Society.
Before discovering speech-language pathology was his life’s passion, he set out to be a high school English teacher.
“I studied linguistics and language and became fascinated with how complex language is and how humans are wired to use it.”
That naturally developed into a fascination with communication in general and, in graduate school, he focused on language and literacy disorders.
“Brian has a love for literacy which gives him a unique perspective on communication. The field of speech-language pathology covers a lot of areas and reading comprehension is an important piece.”
The desire to share what he knows and help people communicate is what drew him to this line of work.
To be successful as a speech language pathologist you need to have a true passion to make difference and the innate desire to help someone build their communication skills.
You also need patience.
“When someone can’t talk or communicate, it’s frustrating for everyone and you need to be able to discover what the barrier is and figure out how to help the person get over that barrier,” explains Linda.
The goal is to help each person learn to communicate in as efficient and effective a way as they possibly can. That can include non-verbal communication.
“For example, if a child is not going to talk, they might need an augmentive device or another way to communicate. Our job is to help each individual child communicate in as efficient and effective a way as they can.”
The non-verbal population is not who Brian initially set out to work with. But he soon found it to be his calling.
“Once I started it, I loved it.”
Being open to new experiences is one of Brian’s many strengths and he loves working with people with all different communication styles.
“I feel lucky to be a part of Pine Tree Society’s Communication Pathways team. I think they are the very best team in the world.”