SLP Spotlight: Jayah Washington

picture of Jayah Washington for interview series

This week on the blog is Jayah Washington. Jayah is a self-published children’s book author of the Jayda and Jayden series. She is a Speech Pathologist Assistant and is beginning SLP graduate school in the fall. Jayah has special interests in autism and developmental delays.

Jayah Washington

What made you interested in the field of speech-language pathology? 
I am a contracted speech language pathologist assistant. I have worked all across the country with hundreds of students in the public school setting. I fell in love with the field during my senior year of high school after shadowing a speech language pathologist.

What inspired you to write a children’s book? 
I was inspired to write a children’s book when I saw the lack of diversity in children’s books in public schools. I wanted to create characters that looked like me as a child and could represent all of my students. I also wanted my stories to teach valuable lessons and knew that my stories would make great therapy materials.

What advice would you give to others aspiring to self publish?  Did anything surprise you with this process?
I would tell all aspiring self publishing authors to go for it! I love being an author and would love to go full time one day. One thing I learned from being self published is that you are an entrepreneur. It can be challenging when you don’t have a big name company like Amazon or Barnes and Nobles selling your book. I realized I had to start thinking like a business owner and not just an author. 

What was your biggest challenge self-publishing?

My biggest challenge was managing my orders and working full time when my business started to grow. I never saw myself being an entrepreneur but I was surprised at how much I actually enjoy it. It can be hard work and a little frustrating at times but seeing the smiles on my customers’ faces makes it all worth it.

What advice do you have for SLPAs and current undergraduate students applying for graduate school?

As someone that got rejected by over ten schools and took four years to get in, DON’T GIVE UP! I love this field and know that it is not an easy major and getting into a graduate program is very challenging. My advice is to really break down your application and see what your strengths and weaknesses are. I knew I didn’t have the highest GPA but I met the minimum for most schools. I focused on highlighting my work experience because I knew it would help me stand out. Do not be afraid to share your story and to let schools know why you are unique and what you can bring to the program.

If you were put on an island and could only have three things with you for speech therapy what would you bring and why?

I would bring Play Doh, markers, and paper. I always
need my sensory toys to keep my students entertained and I probably have about a million activities I can do with just markers and construction paper.

What is your favorite quote?

“Do something you love and you will never work a day in your life.”

Tell me what you’re working on right now.

I am releasing a third book in my Jayda & Jayden children’s book series. I am currently in the process of writing a how-to guide for self publishing and selling your book.

Who is your biggest professional role model?

My biggest professional role model is Michelle Obama. After reading her book Becoming, I was truly inspired. Her initiatives of promoting higher education are something I am truly passionate about and I knew I couldn’t give up on my goal of getting my masters. I hope to one day go on a huge national book tour like her to bring the joy of reading to millions of kids across the country.

Check out Jayah’s website & social media: 

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