Medical Speech Pathology

Curiosity, Dialogue, and Knowledge

A Different Point of View

By Amy Shissler, DPT

“Remember that you do not need to know. You do need to be thoughtful and humble.” -John Rosenbek, PhD, CCC-SLP

I’m 31 years old. At the age of 26 I graduated from Arcadia University with a Doctorate of Physical Therapy. At the age of 30, I had a stroke.

My life now is a whole lot different from what I had envisioned. I started a blog at to talk about my experiences and share my knowledge. The owner of this website stumbled across my blog, contacted me and asked if I would write an editorial for his site. I was happy to oblige.

I want all therapists to be aware of something, and this something it seems should be obviously done but it’s not. I have a diagnosis of Dysarthria. For about 5 months, I was treated in an outpatient setting by an SLP who I think didn’t help me very much. I have since found a speech therapist who I think is amazing and is helping a lot. We learned a lot about strokes in PT school, but when I had mine some of that stuff we learned was not true! Do not take a “one size fits all” approach to therapy because no patient is going to be “one size fits all.” There are going to be a lot of individual problems. I had a leg up on other patients because I know more about this stuff, and I was able to recognize that my SLP wasn’t helping me. But most patients will not have the knowledge or intelligence to figure out a certain therapy is wrong and go somewhere else.

I was terrified. People with neurological problems are really frustrated and if it’s due to a traumatic event, they’re extremely scared. They are going to rely completely on you as part of their medical team to help them. So do your research with every single patient and treat them the best way you know how.


One comment on “A Different Point of View

  1. Henry Ng, Jr., OTRP
    June 25, 2012

    ma’am, i have through in a situation almost like yours. i am an OT. around a decade ago, i had multiple traumatic injury after a vehicular mishap. the whiplash fractured my C5 vertebra and spun my cerebellum via the counter coup. i, comminuted my right upper arm, and punctured my lungs.i was in ICU for a month with a GCS score of 10. relatives describe me, “looks dead and smells dead.”
    after a gruelling recovery and rehab, i am alive and kicking! its the power of will! everyone around me, its the pure balance of science and faith!

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