Please tell us about your family and your favorite activity to do together.
I have been married to Steve for 16 years and we have two sons, Layne (14) and Evan (10). We have recently added a puppy, named Wick, to the family (also a boy!) Our favorite family activities are watching movies, playing ping-pong or tennis, playing board games, and traveling to the mountains to hike, bike, or snow ski.
How did you hear about KG and why were you drawn to this school?
I heard about KG when I was a graduate student at the University of OK Health Sciences Center. During one of my clinical rotations, I was assigned to the HELP Preschool, which was at that time housed in the KG Hefner Pointe location. I was given a tour of the school, and I remember thinking that KG would be a lovely place for little ones to attend preschool. I wasn’t even married then, but that impression stuck with me. When Layne was old enough for preschool, I came to tour the school again. I was struck by the large, light-filled classrooms and the fact that real science was being taught to preschoolers. I’m a science nerd so I was hooked!
What is speech-language pathology?
A common misconception is that speech language pathology is restricted to correcting “pronunciation difficulties”. There is soooo much more to the field than that!
Speech Language Pathology is a field of study specializing in understanding all aspects of human communication, as well as treatment of disorders of all aspects of communication. SLPs work to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social-communication, cognitive communication, voice, resonance, fluency, and swallowing disorders in both children and adults.
Have you always wanted to be a speech language pathologist?
I didn’t even know what speech language pathology was until I was a sophomore in college. I started out as a Pre-Med major, but didn’t love all the math classes required. One day while studying in the Student Union, I overheard a group talking about one of their Speech Pathology classes. Their conversation was really interesting, so I went to the career center on campus and looked up the field. When I read the overview of Speech Language Pathology, it sounded like a good match for my interests and talents.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Over the years I have worked with people who have very significant difficulties. Sometimes progress is hard to see on a large scale, but I have learned to celebrate every small change, every little step of progress taken. I have a box of letters from parents of little ones I’ve worked with, and whenever I need inspiration, I pull those out and read them. They remind me that what I do matters, and that’s very rewarding!
Is speech pathology an art or science?
I’m going with science, or my professor friends will take me to task! Assessment and treatment practices used by Speech Pathologists are rooted in solid science, as most medical fields must be. Diagnostic and treatment decisions and practices must be evidence-based, meaning that they are current, high-quality practices that have undergone study, and have proven successful over time, by researchers and clinicians alike.
That being said, there is a bit of “art” involved as well. Speech Pathologists must take into account client’s preferences, values, and interests when making assessment and therapy decisions, and must figure out how to use them to best advantage to affect positive change for the client. That can be a bit on an art!
What is the most common reason parents come see you at KG? If a parent has a concern about their child’s speech, can they set up a meeting with you?
Most often, I’m approached by parents because their child doesn’t say certain sounds correctly, or perhaps their child hasn’t started talking when expected. For older kids, most parents approach me because their child is struggling to understand concepts in class or is having difficulty with reading.
Any time a parent has a concern about ANY area of their child’s development, I’m happy to talk with them! As KG’s Student Support Coordinator, it’s my job to help parents find the most appropriate resources for their concerns. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning the school office. I’ll happily return all messages!