Joyful Noise: A Reflection on Being a Speech and Hearing Provider

32 blog avatar 1 Joyful Noise: A Reflection on Being a Speech and Hearing Provider
Expert Name: Lynn M. Dudek M.S., CCC-SLP/MBA
Expert Title: M.S., CCC-SLP/MBA
Company Name:  ASDSLP, LLC
Company URL: ASDSLP@gmail
Short Bio: Lynn M. Dudek M.S., CCC-SLP/MBA is owner of ASDSLP, LLC. She is a speech-language 

pathologist who has specialized in the treatment of autism spectrum disorder for close to 20 years. Lynn has presented at the local, state, and national level on topics regarding autism, communication and assessment. Her passion for advocacy, education, and effective treatment directs her professional and personal activities. Lynn recently completed coursework for completion of her BCBA. She currently serves on the Ohio Autism Coalition, the Autism Alliance and Advisory Board for speechpathology.com, and the National Autism Spokesperson Network.

Joyful Noise: A Reflection on Being a Speech and Hearing Provider

What better way to recognize those serving the speech and hearing impaired community than Better Hearing and Speech Month! This month-long recognition celebrates all the wonderful work that we as speech-language pathologists (SLP) and audiologists are honored to provide with those we serve. So after 21 years in this field (next month), I decided to reflect on my past and all the wonderful, lovely, amazing children and families I have known – and most of them with autism. In my reflection I kept asking the same question…

If I had one wish, would I wish autism away?

The longer and longer I thought about it I came to the same answer – NO!

I would wish many things away-cancer, war, poverty – and several of the “things” that families living with autism must deal with – bureaucracy, lack of funds, looks at the grocery store, and the worry – yes I would wish away the worry – but not autism. See, if I never knew autism, then I would never have known the strongest group of mothers I met 17 years ago – all of whom I am still friends with to this day.

I would never have met Sheldon (names have been changed to protect the innocent), been given the flock of Origami geese he made me as a gift at age 11, or watched as he graduated high school and completed his first year of college. I would have missed out on Dwight and how funny the retelling of an episode of the Office can be when the cable goes out. I would have also missed out on Ryan who bit me, my office chair, the walls, his dad, and anything else he could sink his teeth in to. But I would also have missed the day he took a picture card to his dad that said hug. That was the first day he requested a hug from his dad.

I have a lot of wishes about autism…I wish life was a little easier for the families living with this diagnosis. I wish that all these beautiful children had a little more certainty and a little less chaos. I wish we had the money and research and treatment to give these kids the life they deserve. But most of all I wish to thank all of my families – past, present, and future for allowing this speech pathologist to be in your child’s life and hopefully make things a little easier. And yes Sheldon – I am tearing up a little. Tears can be happy things too!

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Being an RBT for me was extremely fun because where were you going to find a place where you can be completely silly without having to worry what people thought about you? This was the only job that made me feel like I could make a dramatic difference while being myself.

I also liked to be surrounded by people that had the same goals of wanting to help kids and the teamwork made the job much easier and more enjoyable.

Change and progress was the ultimate goal for our kiddos. The early intervention program was seriously only a miracle because I saw changes in the kiddos that from day one, you wouldn’t even recognize who they were.

Changes from being able to utter 3-4 words where they can only make a syllable from when they started, the behavior decreases in which kiddo that used to engage in 30-40 0 self-harm to only half, learning how to wait during games, table work where they use to swipe and drop to the floor if they had to.

My favorite was when the parents would tell us what amazing progress they were making at home. I used to tear up and felt for these parents so much because it was already difficult for them and now, they can trust and rely on ABA and the therapists knowing their goal was ours.

By Emma Rogers, BA, RBT

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