Here's just a small sampling of some of my favorite stories and acolades over my many years of practice.
I LOVE phone calls. My first one was a message on my answering machine saying "our son [2 1/2 years old] just said his first word!" The father who called was in tears. Another was a mom who called to tell me her son had just made his Bar Mitzvah. He sounded perfect! This boy was in and out speech-therapy most of his young life. After seeing a video of himself at sleep away camp, he came home telling his mom he needed to start again. And so he did, twice a week for almost 2 years. He worked SO hard and it totally paid off! By the time he made his Bar Mitzvah speeches, no one ever knew he'd been therapy. My last favorite phone call, is a mom who called telling me her daughter just gave a presentation and said the word "rural" perfectly. This client too, was a pre-teen client who spent over a year working on her difficult to remediate speech issues. "Rural" is often a really challenging word for children who have difficult with R and L.
"Turn the Page Girl"
I began working with a very impaired 3 year old. He had had multiple cleft repairs and was non-verbal. Additionally, he had significant motor issues. His prior therapists had not been able to successfully implement used any augmentative/alternative communication (AAC). Perhaps they tried and he wasn't ready. Regardless, I decided to start with AAC. I knew there was so much to unlock and his mom knew it too. With his mom as an artist we were able to draw pictures on the "spot" to create a low tech picture communication system. (I used images from Boardmaker too). Every week, this little boy was a new child. I almost couldn't keep up with how fast he was progressing! I was always re-thinking my therapy plan on the spot to accommodate his progress. He even began to generalize the use of his pictures. I had a student working with me, and we did a great reading activity one day. My young friend was using his pictures to repeat sentences in the text, request "turn the page please," comment on colors and size and more. However there wasn't an actual picture of my student in his low tech system so one afternoon, about a week after that session, my young friend used his pictures to ask his mom, "Where is turn the page girl?" What great use of the pictures he had to get across his question.
Yes, it's old fashion, but sometimes I receive them. Here are some of the words of thanks I've received.
COMING SOON (I have to dig them out first!)
Gypsy Intolerance (heavy I know!)
So one of my older clients is 13. He has autism and severe apraxia. While we usually work on speech development, of late we have been working on an essay together to "hit" a range of reading and writing related therapy targets. His chosen topic...Intolerance of the Roma People. It's an honor to work with him during the research, composition, editing, and publication of this essay.