Richard Slipped Through My Fingers

Richard Slipped Through My Fingers

By Holly A. Shapiro, Ph.D., CCC-SLP


I became a high school speech pathologist after earning a Master’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology. I noticed students on my caseload who couldn’t read very well. One student in particular named Richard, a freshman was unable to read anything at all. I so wish I could share with him what I know now. I did the best my twenty-something-year-old self could, but it’s safe to say I couldn’t and didn’t help him learn the one thing he really needed to be able to do: read.


When I was in school, SLP’s didn’t learn a whole lot about orthography. We learned many things, but not much about how words are written. I taught Richard using an inherited IEP as my only guide. I remember thinking I was teaching him things he already knew. Never one to overlook my own shortcomings, it felt really uncomfortable. I realized pretty quickly that I needed to go back to school, so I did just that. I earned a Doctorate, became a learning disability specialist, rented an office, bought a suit, and set up a private practice.


Today, I am able to see how much of what I use now is what I actually did learn during my speech and language pathology preservice training, even though I initially didn’t make that connection. So I earned some new letters. And Richard turned into Brad, David, Kim, and Kevin, new kids who couldn’t read and who had fallen into my hands.


Richard Slipped Through My Fingers Blog

Read Part 3 Here