Interview with the Singing SLP: Kevin Simmons

  • By Kevin Simmons
  • Published on September 15

Hi! My name is Kevin Simmons aka The Singing SLP! I am a pediatric speech therapist in Atlanta, Ga with a passion for sensory haircuts, music integration, and making people laugh. Very excited to be a part of this segment by jobsfortherapists!

What did you go to school for?

I originally went to school with aspirations of being a Pediatrician. Ever since I was young, I always thought that would be my role. Went to Kennesaw State (KSU) with a focus in Exercise Science and Psychology (the year before I made that decision, I was majoring in Biology); thought the track would lead me straight to a PA school/medical route, but God had separate plans for me and I was for it (at the time I had hesitations). Following my graduation from KSU, I took a year off to figure out what I really wanted out of my career, and lo and behold, I got to talking to several friends that were speech therapists and the rest was history. Started applying to grad programs offering a leveling program (3-year track) for speech therapy.

What is your current job title and how has that changed since you first started working?

I am Kevin Simmons M.S., CCC-SLP. That’s been cool to speak aloud because prior to a speech therapist receiving their CCCs - Certificate of Clinical Competence, we go through clinical fellowship lasting close to a year or longer depending on circumstances. You have the degree, but still have supervisory work just to make sure you have everything ready to go once you receive your CCCs. Receiving that title has opened up many doors - entertaining increased salary, mentorship, and a sense of “independence.”

What made you decide to become a therapist?

I always wanted to help people, I just didn’t know what that would look like. When I was young, I wanted to hold the door open, surprise a friend that may be sick with some chicken noodle soup, or simply make someone laugh if they were having a bad day. With speech therapy we have such a large scope of practice - from diagnostics of swallowing disorders to counseling patients of their diagnosis. I think I look at our scope of practice and it kind of embodied what I was already looking to do in my life, especially in my career - help people in different roles. That’s why I’m so passionate about sensory haircuts, music therapy, learning about new research - anything within my scope to help the next person. 

What are some different roles you’ve held since becoming a therapist?

This is the cool part, I’ve alluded to: I’ve played a number of roles because early on (even before speech therapy), I wanted to hustle and get after mine because I knew that I wasn’t going to be handed things in this world. My grandparents and parents taught me that if I want something, I have to earn that - earn someone’s respect. The many roles of who I am today goes back to cutting grass, cutting baseball teammates’ hair, picking up groceries for a neighbor just to earn a little ‘rainy day’ money. That flexibility has allowed me to play a role as sensory barber to the child that hasn’t had a haircut in years, music therapist for the child that only wants to listen to music while doing articulation therapy, videographer and editor to provide entertainment and education for the grad school student having a hard time like myself coping with the strenuous task of grad school, and so much more. I think we all have these different roles in our respective fields/careers. People ask me ‘what can’t I do,’ but I think the question can be turned back right around: “what can’t you do.” We all have so many special talents and I’ve seen it firsthand with some of the clients I’ve worked with. Are mine highlighted on social media? Yes - hence, why I want to highlight people and their awesome stories that may not be heard yet. 

What would you share with someone who wanted to find a position like yours or build a company/brand such as yours?

Do it. I would have left my answer at those two words, but I’ll provide some meaning behind it. For so long, when I was taking that year off, I thought, “Will I be accepted in this program?” “What if it’s too much and I have to drop out?” So many questions ran through my head and still to this day with this brand. I challenged myself when I actually applied for my LLC to just “do it.” I think if we live thinking about the outcome out of fear and deciding to keep back, we live with thoughts that likely turn into regret…the “what ifs.” So my best advice is to “do it.”   

What would you share with someone who is starting their journey to be a therapist?

I think this applies directly to the undergrad, slp grad student, and of course the levelers (individuals who are thinking about speech therapy, but have a focus in another field) because this is important: the comparison trap will always be in your head. It takes over even to this day for myself. What I would say when you start this journey is to look inward each day. Anytime you have that comparison trap play a part, just look at where you’re at right now in this moment…what someone else is doing is fantastic, but look at what you’re doing. You’ve made it this far. Don’t give up and be the person YOU want to be. I don’t want to see another person who looks up to Kevin Simmons. I’ll give myself my roses, but you’re special too and the comparison to what I’m doing is going to be totally different to what you’re doing. Be YOU and never change. You got this.

What are you most passionate about with your role as a therapist?

I’m passionate about development and progress. I get pumped hearing from parents or clients that they are making progress weeks after I’ve discharged them or they are seeing another therapist. That’s the goal. It sounds cruel, but I don’t want to see you for long. I’m here for support, but the people I see are the one’s putting in the work. I know you don’t want to see me for long, so let’s get you out of speech therapy as fast as possible :) 

Anything else you’d like to share about yourself and your journey to where you are right now?

I’m excited to see where the Singing SLP brand takes me. I tell people there isn’t a particular niche that I fall under. I want to provide haircuts for caregivers that need a tutorial or language tips or grad school advice. I just want to be a hub of help so just excited for the new people that are following along this journey and for the old friends that have helped support this journey. This is for you!

What are ways our readers can connect with you and follow what you are up to?

You can connect on Instagram and TikTok under the handle: @singingslp - I’ve been driving more usage with YouTube and plan to come out with weekly vlogs I’m very excited about - documenting haircuts, speech therapy, life lessons, anything and everything. The handle is: TheSingingSLP. I’m excited to have you along for the journey :) 

Thanks for join us, Kevin, on Jobs For Therapists!