Letting our students advocate for themselves
I am wrapping up my sixth year here as a speech/language pathologist. I’ve been to many different schools throughout my time here. It’s a broad range of kiddos but I tend to gravitate toward our more severe and profound population, and they tend to gravitate toward me so it’s a mutual friendship that we develop with one another. I think our connection is the playfulness. You know, kids really like to play. And nowadays we are so heavily reliant on technology that we forget the basic skills of just play. That’s a lot of what I do. It’s a lot of hands-on, sensory stimulation – a lot of play-based therapy. We’re in the moment together, so we’re actually playing together; we’re communicating with one another in the best ways we can communicate for our friends. It’s a lot of being silly and I think kids appreciate the silliness.
What do you like best about your job?
I like giving our students the opportunity to communicate. I think it’s something we take for granted where we are able to express our basic wants and needs. If someone were to give you something and you really, truly don’t want that, we’re able to express, “Oh, no thank you. I do not want this. I would rather have something else.” And for a lot of our kiddos that’s where we get those behaviors, so to reduce those behaviors we have to start with those basic forms of communication – of just saying, “Yes, I do like this;” or, “No, I do not like this. I want something different.” It’s advocating for yourself. Letting our students advocate for themselves. I like that for them.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?
I like to spend time with my family. My kids and my husband, we like to explore Hampton Roads. We’re ones to go to different restaurants; we try not to do something twice unless we absolutely love it. Or we find different trails to hike or nature places just to explore – different parks we can go to, go kayaking or whatever it may be. We don’t mind driving for an hour to go explore something different and experience where we live. That’s what I like to do.