As I reflect on this first year of Tandem Speech Therapy, I still remember very clearly one of the first kids I worked with at my first speech therapy job post-grad school. Ana* made significant progress rather quickly, moving from a near-incomprehensible string of speech sounds to clear communication in a matter of months. Her family was awe-stricken; it was like their daughter had developed a unique personality overnight. Finally able to make her voice heard and understood, Ana experienced less frustration and smiled more often, delighting her parents with a constant stream of communication. It impacted their whole family dynamic. The day I discharged Ana from therapy, her mom cried with joy and relief.

 

Witnessing those ‘lightbulb moments’ for families over the years reaffirms for me every time that I’m in the right profession. I genuinely like helping people, and I believe in the Hanen Centre’s methods, having seen firsthand so many times now how the “It Takes Two to Talk” program supports parents and kids in connecting fully for the first time.

When I started Tandem Speech Therapy (one year ago this week!), it was with the hope of reaching as many Austin families as I could. Since then, I’ve been blessed to serve many kids and their families, and what’s more—to call them ‘friends’ as well as clients. Having followed my parents to Austin after my Dad’s job relocated him to San Antonio, I wasn’t sure who or what awaited me here in the Live Music Capital of the World. I’m happy to report that Austin now feels in every way like home. In addition to introducing me to my wonderful husband, Isaac, it’s proved fertile ground for launching Tandem—my first foray into private practice, and my most personally fulfilling venture yet.

As I reflect on the personal and professional changes of the last twelve months, I feel grateful to have a job that I love, and that affords me the freedom to ethically practice on my own schedule. One thing that’s surprised me, someone who dislikes writing, is how much I’ve come to enjoy this blog. I’ve written an entry almost every single week, and while it sometimes feels arduous, I’m proud of this piece of my work, knowing it’s a valuable educational tool for more parents and primary care providers than I could ever help individually. Thanks to my readers for reading along, and thanks to Courtney Lynn Harris for holding me accountable to my writing deadlines and supporting my work.

Next up for Tandem Speech Therapy are more Playing with Purpose blog posts, and (fingers crossed!) a series of e-books that will allow me to reach families outside Austin.

Here’s to helping you and your family communicate better in the second half of 2018 and beyond!