Through our Monthly Spotlight Series, we are taking the time to highlight the staff at KidsCare Home Health. Whether you’re an aspiring therapist or current therapist looking for your next big move, we hope you gain inspiration and valuable advice from these successful individuals and their stories.
This month we were excited to interview, Allison, a Clinical Manager/Speech-Language Pathologist at KidsCare Home Health.
Where did you grow-up and what is special about your hometown?
I grew up in Ellicott City, MD. It is really close to Baltimore so it was always fun to have a crab feast!
Where did you go to school for college?
I went to Ohio University for undergrad and received my B.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a Minor in Psychology. I received my master’s degree from Columbia University in New York City.
Why did you decide to become a speech therapist?
Initially, I thought I would go into special education but after observing an SLP in college I became fascinated with therapy. I always loved science and being an SLP was the perfect combination of science and being able to help others!
What is your favorite thing about working in pediatric speech therapy?
I love seeing kiddos personalities flourish once they begin talking. It is so special to be a part of the team that helps these children communicate with their families for the first time. It is so amazing to see the look on the child and caregivers face when they learn a new skill.
You recently became a clinical manager at KidsCare. How has the transition been from being a speech therapist with KidsCare to now managing therapists?
I really love getting to work with clinicians and be a line of support for them. It is exciting to have this new experience and opportunity so that I can make a difference beyond my own clinical practice.
When you’re not at work, how do you like to spend your time?
I spend a lot of time outdoors with my husband and dog. We love to hike, backpack, camp, and ski. We are currently trying to get into white water kayaking!
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
I would say my greatest professional achievement would be helping several kiddos with childhood apraxia of speech achieve their goals so that they could be discharged from therapy. I saw these kiddos for several years and they were non-verbal at the start of therapy. Seeing them learn and grow to be functional communicators was an amazing experience I will always cherish.
What is the best advice you’ve received for your career?
Never stop learning and collaborating with others! There is always something new to know and you can learn and grow your own practice so much by talking with and observing others in your field and other fields. I have learned so many valuable skills from my fellow STs, OTs, PTs, and special education teachers.
How do you make pediatric speech therapy fun?
Play, play, and more play! In grad school one of my supervisors told me “play is a child’s form of work.” I really took that to heart! I try to use the child’s interests to engage them during therapy. Also, the more fun you are having, the more fun the kiddo will have too!
What advice would you share with someone looking to become a speech therapist?
Cherish all the small wins and progress you see! Some days will be hard but know that you are making a difference and changing these kiddos lives for the better. Celebrate the accomplishments your clients make!
What is your favorite memory in working at KidsCare Home Health?
There are so many great moments! I worked with the best families. One that comes to mind is when one of my kiddos who used an AAC device made his first phrase independently. We had just begun using the device and I used a lot of modeling for him and Mom to teach him core vocabulary words. One day when I was withholding some pieces of a toy to work on requesting, this kiddo grabs his AAC device and says “you stop” and looks directly at me! He did not want me to give him one piece of the game at a time. Mom and I starting laughing because he was so serious but it was also so amazing to see him motivated to independently use his device!
What is the best part of working at KidsCare?
The support and collaboration! Everyone I have worked with has been so kind, generous, and helpful. I always feel like I can reach out and ask for help. I think that is so important so that we can all continue to learn and grow our skill sets.