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A 21-year-old Latina, I was born in Chicago, Illinois but raised in Puerto Rico. I will graduate this coming May of 2011 from XXXX University in San Juan with an undergraduate degree in Speech Therapy. My mom is Colombian and my dad is from Puerto Rico and I am the eldest of two siblings—the first in my family to attend college. I found my career path three years ago at the age of 18, when I began to tutor special needs children (Down syndrome, learning disabilities, mental retardation etc.) in our community. Within a short time, I knew that I wanted to devote myself to a career as a Speech and Language Pathologist.
I look forward to specializing in bilingual and Spanish speaking students with communication disabilities. I am especially fascinated by the fact that various studies have shown a prevalence of speech and language disorders among Hispanic adolescent delinquents. This suggests a critical socialization component to speech disorders among Latino children that needs to be further explored. I look forward to working with Latino children and adolescents, especially those who are defined as ‘at risk’.
I very much want to attend your program in order to learn what I will need to know to someday open my own school for students with special communication needs in Puerto Rico employing multidisciplinary groups composed of occupational therapists, psychologists, and special education teachers as well as speech pathologists. I have found it very difficult to find speech therapy material in Spanish; thus, much of the material that I am currently using I have made myself and plan to continue to do so.
I started my clinical practicum this semester in a private school that specializes in students with special needs. I have 5 students with articulation, voice, or language disorders and most of them have learning disabilities combined with mental retardation. I especially enjoyed doing extensive research on Turner syndrome as well as a pre-practice with an autistic student and I profoundly appreciated my clinical practice with a 22 year old girl with moderate mental retardation for an entire semester. I anticipate having the privilege of doing research in your program on the special speech therapy needs of Spanish language children living in the US.
I am a hard working person, very perseverant and passionate about my work. I am also a fast learner, humble and determined. My goal is to help children learn to communicate in the most effective way possible so that they will have social and professional opportunities in life. My first choice for graduate school is Northwestern University because of their outstanding program in Speech and Language Pathology and the opportunity they give to their students to do their clinical practicum in various sites and environments throughout the Chicago area. I appreciate the focus of your program on the importance of early intervention up to age three, as well as on neurogenic disorders. Because I was born in Chicago, I have had this dream of coming back to help other Hispanic kids like myself to communicate more effectively in a foreign language.