CSD Student Interns with Lansing School District

Cristina Restaino

Hometown: Itasca, Illinois
Graduation Date: May 2017
Company: Lansing School District
Location: Lansing, MI
Amount of time at internship: January-April 2016

How did you become interested in becoming a speech-language pathologist?

While picking a career path, I knew that I wanted to find a field where I could help individuals across multiple populations with diverse needs. Coming from a home where multiple languages are spoken, I have always been especially amazed by the idea of different languages and how they allow people to communicate. A family friend, who is a speech-language pathologist, introduced me to the field while I was in high school. After completing observations at her job, I was intrigued by the difference that clinicians are able to make by helping individuals to achieve their goals. I decided to pursue the field of speech-language pathology as it combined my passion of helping others with my interest in the areas of communication. The diversity of communication disorders that speech-language pathologists can help treat allows them to have endless opportunities. I wanted to select a career path that would allow me to continue learning throughout my entire career.

Tell us about your graduation school journey:
I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May of 2015 with a Bachelor's degree in Speech & Hearing Science and a minor in Spanish. I was so excited to be accepted into Michigan State's master's program and to attend another Big 10 school. I have learned so much during my first year of graduate school through both my classes and first clinical placement. I am very thankful for the opportunities that Michigan State offers by setting up students with internships out in the community in order to gain real-world experiences. I am looking forward to my first medically-based clinical placement this summer where I will be at a sub-acute rehabilitation center/skilled nursing facility in downtown Chicago.

Describe the clinical setting and population you are working with at your current internship:
This semester, I completed my clinical placement at Willow Elementary School in Lansing. Additionally, one afternoon a week, I provided therapy services at a Head Start program in Lansing. I worked with children ages 3-9 with a variety of communication disorders and a range of severity levels. I gained experience working with children in the areas of articulation, language, fluency, and cognition.

How has your internship helped prepare you for your career?
Over the course of the semester, my placement in the school setting helped me to grow both personally and professionally as a future SLP. I learned so much about the process of providing special education services to children in the school setting and gained valuable experience in evaluating and treating students. My supervisor, Jodi Cohen, has worked in a variety of settings and is very knowledgeable in all aspects of communication disorders. She provided me with great feedback throughout the semester which I then used to improve my skills and become more confident in my abilities to become a speech-language pathologist.