Speech-language pathologist thrives in career with variety and opportunities
Making sure stroke patients can safely swallow, helping those with dementia communicate with their doctors and family members, preparing premature infants to go home by evaluating their suck/swallow/breathe patterns and assisting with the rehabilitation of patients suffering with long-term illness.
All in a day’s work for Matthew Eiban M.S. ’08, a speech-language pathologist for Vidant Edgecombe Hospital in Tarboro, N.C. Because Eiban works for a smaller, rural hospital he’s able to work across the facility, and every day is different.
"A typical day for me is not typical at all," said Eiban, who earned his master’s degree in speech-language pathology from Longwood University. "I really enjoy the ability to work in different hospital units. It keeps my job exciting and lets me work on a wide variety of cases that cross multiple disciplines. That’s what I love – being with people and not sitting behind a desk all day."
Eiban recently worked with a nine-year-old boy who has autism and associated speech and language deficits, which impact his ability to pronounce his own name.
"In one session we focused on correcting his halting of words and correct production of sounds in words – especially those in his name," Eiban said. "By the end of the session, he was able to correctly say his whole name without any speech errors. We went to show his mother in the waiting room, and it made my day to see how proud they both were."
Eiban’s enthusiasm for his job hasn’t gone unnoticed.
During National Rehabilitation Week in September, Eiban’s co-workers selected him as the hospital’s Allied Health Professional of the Year. He was chosen because of his willingness to help others and for his positive approach to his job.
Even though Eiban’s position gives him flexibility and new challenges daily, he looks forward to enhancing his skills by participating in another perk of the profession – service trips to developing countries.
As a graduate student, Eiban traveled to Belize on a medical mission with Lissa Power de-Fur, professor of communication, sciences and disorders (CSDS), coordinator of the graduate CSDS program and director of the Longwood Center for Communications, Literacy and Learning. Eiban was able to help local people by performing hearing screenings, speech and language screenings and educational outreach to teachers and parents.
"I really look forward to traveling in the future and possibly participating with groups such as Operation Smile and Mercy Ships, which work in developing nations to help people with medical issues," Eiban said. "There are also opportunities to work overseas on military bases or in military hospitals, so I really see my career, literally, taking me places."
Eiban credits the training he received through Longwood’s CSDS program for his professional success.
"Longwood’s [CSDS] program is strong and growing," he said. "It served me well and made me the therapist I am today. I had opportunities to work under licensed and board certified speech-language pathologists to learn about the profession hands-on. And when I graduated, it was nice to be sought after in a time when jobs are hard to come by."
For more information on the graduate program in speech-language pathology, visit http://www.longwood.edu/socialworkcsds/9283.htm.