Erin Gaul, MS CCC-SLP

Bio

Erin is the owner and primary speech-language pathologist of your Speech Path, LLC. Erin earned her Masters in Speech-Language Pathology from Gallaudet University where she concentrated in aural (re)habilitation for deaf/hard-of-hearing populations.
Erin specializes in treatment for Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) and other Speech Sound Disorders (SSD). Erin has sought out extensive, professional, ongoing trainings in Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) and utilizes Dynamic Temporal and Tactile Cueing (DTTC) in motor speech sessions. PROMPT is also utilized for tactile cueing within the DTTC hierarchy. Erin is also listed in the Apraxia-Kids SLP directory for experienced, expert treatment of CAS: Apraxia-Kids SLP directory .

She is PROMPT© Technique, Bridging, & Practicum trained and is proficient in American Sign Language (ASL). She also specializes in orofacial myofunctional disorders. She is a candidate through the International Association of Orofacial Myology to become a Certified Orofacial Myologist (COM®).

What caused you to make this alternative career shift?

I was curious if I could do it. My previous private clinic was a hot mess of a business, and I wanted to toy with the idea of controlling my own career versus depending on others. The previous clinic was clearly sinking financially and the boss didn’t follow through with salary and benefits as promised when hired. Learned a quick lesson that you can only trust people to a certain extent.

What is your desired transformation(s) from this alternative journey?

Control of my time, my therapy, my pay, and an improved work/life balance.

What has been your biggest struggle with this alternative career and life path? How did you overcome this?

I found that I have a hard time saying no for my own benefit. I specialize in Apraxia of Speech, and when I have incoming clients needing this very specific service, my designated schedule goes out the window. I’ve had to set a window of time that I can dedicate to these clients and all others are referred. I’ve found a great circle of clinicians I can refer to rather than weighing myself down with too many clients. It’s still a struggle!

What was at stake if you didn’t take the risk of pursuing your alternative career?

My mental health. I was stressed about going to work and starting to dread going. I loved my clients and my coworkers, and I knew I was good at what I did. It’s cliche, but to feel valued is invaluable at your job. I didn’t have that.

What were some of the pain points that made you want to explore the possibility of creating your own private practice?

What started to happen was my schedule was exploding but pay was not where I was promised. As my hours increased, I was not getting breaks. I mean, I would go in the afternoon with five clients, 45 minutes each, back to back to back. If I had to go to the bathroom, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t have a snack. On one hand, great, I was doing my job. But on the other hand, I was stuck very mentally by the time my day was over. I could not get to my car fast enough. In the mornings, I would have to give myself deep breaths to prepare for the day, because I knew it was just going to be go, go, go. I really enjoyed my clients. I really enjoyed my coworkers, but the logistics of the job, the schedule, was starting to become a bigger and bigger problem and I was starting to think: “Is this what speech therapy is? Graduate school did not prepare me for this.

How did your private practice come to be?

that was very accidental. It was not my plan at all. I had started interviewing at other places because I was exhausted. But families were asking me “Where are you going? And you continue seeing so and so”. So I went home and talked to my husband, and he did have some hesitation about a private practice. From then until the two weeks after I left the current practice I was at, I was just doing a ton of research. So, we talked a little more and I said “I’m gonna do this private practice thing”. And I began driving to kids’ homes (I will never, ever, ever do it again, not my thing), and then changed to a brick-and-mortar location.

Who would be a good private practice owner?

You have to be able to say no. You have to know what you’re good at. You have to know what you’re bad at or inexperienced with. You have to know how to talk to parents. You have to know how to talk to kids. You have to be proactive. There’s no one over your shoulder telling you how to do this. Someone who’s able to take the reins and bolt to get everything done, that’s the personality. Those who tend to sit back, watch everything happen, be told I need this task done by the end of the day. That is not for private practice owners. And one thing I do want to emphasize is that private practice is not for everyone.

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