Speech-Language Pathology Grad Values Patient Connections

Elaina Arnold speech language pathology graduate at Lebanon Valley College

Elaina Arnold ’21, M’22 had a calling to help others in her future career, but she wasn’t sure exactly how. Then her father suggested speech-language pathology. She reached out to professionals in the area and completed shadowing experiences that sparked her interest and set her on a path to join LVC’s inaugural cohort of speech-language pathology majors.

Arnold completed clinical placements in LVC’s Center for Speech, Language, and Hearing Disorders, as well as Penn State Hershey Rehab Center and Ebenezer Elementary. Arnold said working with her first client confirmed her dad’s career suggestion.

“Seeing my client and his parent be so grateful for the time I spent with them was a turning point for me,” she said. “I realized all my years of schooling and studying were finally paying off as I applied what I learned at LVC. As I completed additional clinical experiences, I was reminded that this is a field where I know I can make a difference.”

She quickly learned the importance of building a rapport with clients to achieve the best therapeutic results and celebrated their successes with them.

“It is so rewarding to witness clients make progress toward their goals in response to your recommendations and treatment plans,” she said. 

Arnold credits those clinical experiences with taking her learning a step further than the classroom environment could offer.

“While LVC did an excellent job of preparing me to be a clinician, the dynamic environment of everyday therapy cannot be taught from a textbook. In novel situations, it is crucial to use your background knowledge to address each problem to meet individual client needs.” 

Arnold is a speech-language pathologist in the Lebanon School District.