Early Beginnings and Foundations

kids banner2My introduction to speech pathology began with a visit from a family friend when I was a junior in college. I heard about a new academic field where educators were addressing individuals who learned differently from the traditional academic model and usually had difficulty with focus and attention. Physicians and educators could not determine a physical cause. This group of people are now referred to as having “Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder” with another group labeled as having “Sensory Integration Dysfunction” (now termed “Sensory Processing Disorder”). I was fascinated by the exercises that were being implemented to get the brain “talking to itself” using stimulation of movement, touch, vision, and hearing. 

At the time I was in Speech, Drama, and Debate with a minor in biology, and was trying to figure out how those very disparate areas could merge into a vocation. When I spoke with my current Dean about my interest in this new teaching avenue, he directed me to enter the field of speech pathology within the same Department of Communication.

Making learning fun at preschool Camp Connections
Making learning fun at preschool Camp Connections

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I found Speech Pathology perfectly combined my divergent interests in science (biology) and performing arts/ humanities (speech and drama). From my first class in Speech Therapy  I would get chill bumps from the information I was learning about the brain and communication processes. However, when it came to clinical practicum which involved mostly children, I was out of my element. I had not baby- sat for other families nor been around young children. I felt inadequate, so I developed a practice of praying to center myself and connect to God to teach me the people skills I felt lacking. That spiritual practice, begun in graduate school, connected me to focus on other people’s needs and what I had to offer them. This change in perspective gave me confidence to show up as a teacher and therapist. I also found I could use my performing skills to role play and have fun, which made learning happen more organically. I adopted the motto at that time that “A wise teacher makes learning fun!”  I have maintained both of those perspectives throughout my whole career.

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