Richard Holmes

Richard Holmes

Richard Holmes

Alumnus, Master of Health Science, Speech-Language Pathology

“I am very impressed by how U of T is connected to all of the leaders in the field.”

I have stuttered all my life. As a result, I struggled with the way I spoke and dreaded any speaking situation throughout my childhood and adolescence. Before starting my undergraduate degree I attended an intensive speech therapy program that helped me make dramatic changes in the way I communicate.

I felt so empowered by these transformations that I began competing in public speaking contests through Toastmasters International and taking acting courses. The voice I once hid from the world was now used on stage in front of hundreds of people.

After working with the speech-language pathologists leading the program I attended, the doors were suddenly open to possibilities I had never imagined. I then entered my undergraduate degree in Psychology, motivated to become a speech-language pathologist so that I could use my experience to help others make the same kind of life-changing transformations in the way they approach communication.

The clinical Speech-Language Pathology program at U of T offers a unique curriculum in which you take a group of courses on related patient populations and then participate in a full-time clinical placement working with those populations immediately after completing the coursework. This design is possible only at U of T given the large concentration of hospitals, clinics, and school boards in the area that offer these clinical sites. 

I am very impressed by how U of T is connected to all of the leaders in the field. Our professors often introduce the guest lecturers saying things like, “I could teach you about this theory/therapy/technique, but I thought it’d be better to have the person who invented/founded it do that for me.” This speaks to the reputation and resources U of T has to offer. It is pretty cool to know that as U of T students, we will be the first people to hear about advances in our field since so many are coming from only a few floors below our classroom.

To prospective students, I would suggest living as close to campus as you can. The resources on the U of T campus are amazing and this part of the city caters to students in every way. It may be a bit more expensive but the experience is worth it. I would also recommend getting involved with student leadership committees as much as possible. I have been able to build great relationships with the faculty and staff by getting involved in this way.

I grew up never having met another person who stutters and was unable to access a therapy setting that felt empowering to me. For that reason, my vision is to make sure that for the next generation, every young person who stutters, and their family, feel connected and empowered with resources and access to top-notch treatment.

By using the power of the web, Telehealth services, and user-friendly iPad/android applications, my vision is to create a standardized hub of resources that gives a kid growing up in Nunavut the same quality of services as a kid in downtown Toronto. With the connections and resources available as a future alumnus of U of T, I am confident that this vision is achievable.