Cortney Baker, SLP and KidsCare Therapy Owner
I think that people so often get up, get dressed, and go to work five days a week, and live life waiting for the other two days to roll around. We joke around, “Is it Friday yet?” and it seems like everyone absolutely dreads Mondays. Are you one of those? I can completely understand if you are; but I want you to take a minute and really think about what an impact you make in those five days when working at KidsCare Therapy. And hopefully attempt to change your view about your five day work week. Because believe it or not, folks, we are changing lives!
I started doing home-health care in 2002. I had worked in the schools for about a year, and I just didn’t feel like I was making a difference in the lives of the kids on my caseload. I had gone to school to be a speech therapist, but I didn’t really feel much of my time was spent doing therapy! A friend of mine had come across an opportunity to do part-time work for a pediatric home health agency and shared her experience with me. I knew that I hadn’t been happy with what I was doing, but had no idea how much my life was about to change!
My first patient was a four-year-old little girl named Sabrina*. Sabrina had been born perfectly healthy at nine months’ gestation. When she was about one year old, she was riding in her car seat in the front of her mom’s vehicle and was involved in a hit and run. She was obviously shaken up and crying, but overall she looked “fine”. Sabrina and her mom went to the hospital to ensure that nothing was wrong; however, that’s not the news she received after being examined. Sabrina was diagnosed quadriplegic as a result of the airbag exploding and the trauma she endured to her head/neck. I can’t recall the specifics now, but she had a trachea and was on a vent when I met her, as well as being fed through a g-tube. She had no voluntary head or body movements or words, but could communicate with her facial expressions and vowel-like vocalizations.
Sabrina was absolutely beautiful. She had long, thick, curly black hair, and the prettiest full, rosy cheeks of any little girl I’ve ever seen. What made my day is that every time I would walk in the room, her face would light up and she’d give me the biggest smile! All of my problems would just amazingly fall away when I was with her. Sabrina and I worked on so many different things during the time I was her therapist— making choices, taking first bites, oral motor strengthening, imitation of speech sounds— she was such an inspiration, and she definitely taught me to be a better therapist. I can still picture that huge, gorgeous smile and how her whole face would light up when I came to see her. I often wonder how she’s doing now.
I never once felt the “Monday blues,” and I never dreaded going to work. I knew that what I did was making a difference in not only her life, but mine as well. I wanted to spread the word about this amazing secret called home health, but felt that as a single therapist I was limited in what I could accomplish. That’s when the idea of starting KidsCare Therapy hatched: I would start my own company, and instead of helping 15-18 kids, I could help hundreds, maybe even thousands! I was young, naïve, and had no idea what I was doing, but I knew I could do it! I wanted everyone to experience the life change that I did.
In October 2003, KidsCare Therapy opened its doors for business and we haven’t looked back!And since then…well, that’s another story!