CFY–Coming For You! (and a giveaway)


***April 15, 2013:  The winners of this giveaway are:  Vanessa, Jamie and Molly.  Congratulations!

I’m a big fan of musical theater (but, no, I don’t watch Smash). I’m in awe of the performers who seem to sing, dance and act with equal aplomb.  And then they go out and do it in front of a live audience.  Every day.  Twice on Wednesday and Saturday. Where do they find the endurance?

Well, baby, I’ve got news for you.  You’re about to star in your own show.

There is no denying the difficulty of grad school. You’re taking classes in everything, even the stuff that might not be your cup of tea.  Ideally, your clinical fellowship year is in an area you particularly enjoy and the everyday implementation of book learned skills will certainly give you many ah-ha moments. But what can be difficult is the frequent observation, knowing, or maybe not knowing, that someone is on the other side of that two way mirror.  There is a feeling of being constantly “on.”  Even paperwork remains a performance. I would drop into bed at night, completely spent.

I actually had two CFY, experiences.  The first was my dream job. I was a preschool therapist in a local school system and my job included home visits/evaluations, lessons within the preschool handicap classroom, individual pull-out therapy for many of those same kids, other children that came only for speech, and screenings.  Lots and lots of screenings.  I’d been working at my school practicum the previous spring in the same location so I knew the staff, some of the kids and had a relationship with my supervisor.

Then life intervened.  My husband and I married in early August which gave us time to honeymoon before the first day of school.  But as the saying goes, “the best laid plans of mice and men….”  Within the first month my husband was transferred to Atlanta, a five to six hour drive from where we were living, and needed to move immediately.  I gave notice that I would leave at the Christmas holiday, started packing our wedding gifts and began to look for a new placement.  (Yes, my husband left a couple months before I did.  Not an auspicious start to married life, but we made it work.)

My second placement was equally as dreamy–out-patient rehab for a large children’s hospital with lots of experienced therapists–including OT and PT–to learn from and watch. The experience I gained there truly shaped the clinician I am today.  So much so, that if I were to give advice to a new therapist starting out it would be to work where you have lots of interaction with more experienced clinicians. I know you’re sick of being watched, guided, and yearn to start doing your own thing, but…for me, it was the best possible thing that could have happened. (This is where I spent two years exhausted.  I was finally starting to get my feet under me, doing some mentoring myself, and feeling less stressed by the whole process when, guess what, transferred again.)

I share this because I think we get so close to a situation we aren’t seeing it anymore. My situation was unique, but these things come up for lots of reasons.  Sometimes CFYs take place in more than one location or setting.  There might be a short “pause” right in the middle. It’s OK.  You always have options, no matter what you think.

Now for some fun stuff.  You’re finishing up, securing placements, but you’ll need some materials to take with you.  Your props if you will.  So, leave me a comment.  Let us know where you’ll be, or where you are, or what you’re hoping to land.  I’ll choose three entries at random, who may select any four digital downloads from my TpT store.  You must be in the midst of your CFY or planning to start within the next six months to qualify. Winners will have until September 1, 2013 to make their prize selection (just in case you aren’t sure what you need yet).  Good luck! (You must enter by midnight, EST on April 14, 2013.  Winners will be announced on April 15, 2013.)

Meanwhile, make sure to start following both my TpT store and Pinterest boards for lots of free materials and ideas! 






This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Rachel

    I am in the middle of my school externship placement, I walk in commencement in May, and then May-August I will be in my hospital placement. The resume’s, reading everyone and their brothers’ advice on how to write a cover letter, and fine-tooth combing for positions has begun! In August I would LOVE to be in a ped’s outpatient setting working with severe developmental disabilities, however, I’ll go just about anywhere.

    Thanks for such an inspiring (and reassuring!) post!

  2. Lynae

    Hello there,
    I am currently participating in my public school internship and am hoping to secure an SLP position in the district! I have an upcoming interview for a year round position with an amazing SLP who would be my supervising CFY supervisor. Thanks for your post!


  3. Heather

    I’m currently completing my CFY. Less than 3 months left! I work in a school district in North Carolina with children preschool-aged to 5th grade and 9th-12th grade. My mentor is wonderful and gives me great help, advice, and reassurance. There are about 30 SLPs in the county’s schools and we meet monthly to discuss ideas and tips. I really enjoy working with kids at the school. During the summer, I’m hoping to find a job working with adults. I really want to keep active in both age groups. At least until I figure out for sure which area I enjoy the most. Great post!!

  4. Charlene

    Hi Kim,
    I am 8/9 finished with my CFY and after about month 6, finally started to feel like I was getting the hang of things! I work in two different elementary schools, and it’s good that I feel more comfortable now because there’s tons of work to do (lots of evals!) the remainder of the year.

  5. Vanessa

    I will be graduating next month!! (Yay!!) I’m currently finishing up my medical externship. I’m excited about beginning my CF in the school setting this upcoming school year!! Great post!

  6. Jenny

    Thank you for sharing your inspiring and motivating CFY experience! I am graduating in May and am currently beginning my full time school placement. I am graduating from a very medically-based graduate program and while I did enjoy the geriatric setting more than anticipated, my heart is and always has been with the children. I hope to become employed within the local school district and cannot wait to begin this career and journey!

  7. Lindsay

    I’m currently in my CF year working in a low income school district just outside of Chicago. Got married over Christmas break and now my husband has found a job in Charlotte so it’s time to start the job junt again. Excited to see what setting I’ll land in next!

  8. Katie (SLP_Echo

    I’m planning my big move to start my CF in Alaska this fall. I will be Ina school district. I’m quite excited and will be taking you and your blog along with me for continued advice and a fun-read as always. 🙂

  9. jamie

    I am currently in my last semester of graduate school (hoping to be done within a month and a half, fingers crossed!) I did my school placement last semester and loved working with elementary and middle school kids, just being in a school environment, collaborating with teachers, etc. I think that was my thing. Right now I am doing my externship at a very prestigious outpatient clinic that is just a world of difference from the school setting. I am definitely learning a lot- early intervention is a lot harder than I thought, and documentation is still super hard to adjust to, not to mention the almost 2 hour commute… But I’ve been trying to stay as positive as I can and remember why I signed up for this in the first place- to help others. I will get through it, I just have to keep telling myself that! I hope to look for a job in a preschool or maybe an elementary/middle school combination and a place with a casual, positive atmosphere. Thank you for this fabulous offer!!

  10. Molly

    My name is Molly and I’ll be graduating from the University of Oklahoma on May 11th and hopefully starting a job ASAP! I have two interviews for outpatient peds clinics this week!!! Your post is so encouraging to me, especially the part about doing your CFY in two parts. My fiancée and I are getting married in September and it is 90% likely that he will be transferred to either Phoenix or Buffalo (opposite ends of the country, I know) in the next two months. We’ve pretty much come to terms with the fact that we’ll have to spend a couple months apart, because planning an Oklahoma wedding from a different state would be a nightmare! Anyway, thanks for the encouragement!

  11. Laura

    I am in my final placement and will be graduating next month. I expect to move and start my CFY. I am hoping not to move during my CF, as when the year is done I will be moving back to my home, Trinidad and Tobago. I came to the US for my education 🙂 There are very few SLPs in Trinidad and I expect to work with both children and adults at home.

  12. Tiffany

    I’m in the third month of my CF in 3 public schools, 2 elementary and 1 middle.

  13. Victoria

    I am in my third week of my CFY. I see my clients in their homes, both children and adults. Most of my clients have ASD. They are all absolutely wonderful, and I wouldn’t trade my job for any other in the world. My supervisor is phenomenal, my pay is awesome, and my clients are also awesome.

  14. Samantha Weatherford

    Hi Kim! I love hearing about everyone’s CFs and clinicals. It’s so great to see the breadth of our scope!

    I’m in the midst of my CF. I’m in the state of Delaware. I’m working part time with peds 0-3, part time with adults (one agency). My adults have both acquired and developmental disabilities – I do dysphagia and tx with them.

    I’m partly center based and partly home health. So I’m really getting a little bit of everything! And my supervisor is awesome, I got really lucky with my support system. It’s been an awesome experience so far and I can’t wait to see where it goes!

Comments are closed.


The views expressed in this blog are my own and are intended to inspire other speech-language pathologists in their own practice. If you are a parent, teacher or other educator, these ideas are not intended to take the place of treatment by a certified clinician. Read full disclaimer here.