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In elementary school Timothy Carroll ’18, MS received speech services. Reflecting on how he had enjoyed speech therapy prompted him to consider a career in speech-language pathology. “I knew I wanted to enter a field where I could make a difference in people’s lives,” said Carroll. “After shadowing a few speech-language pathologists in the school and hospital settings, I knew it was the career for me.”

Carroll knows, from personal experience, an effective way to motivate his clients is by intentionally learning about their interests and hobbies. “I use this information as a foundation for my therapy,” he said. “When you can recall a client’s favorite movie or the name of one of their family members, they start to see that you are invested in them and in turn invest in their therapy.”

He shared a memorable experience as a student clinician at the Scottish Rite Childhood Language Disorders Center in Stockton working with a client who was minimally verbal. “I quickly discovered that my client found calmness through music,” Carroll said. “As a musician myself, I decided to add music into my therapy regimen with this client. At the end of every session, I would take out my ukulele, play a chord and let my client strum. Together we would sing and play our special therapy song. Often this particular client was visibly distressed when arriving for his therapy sessions, but seeing the joy on his face while playing music together meant the world to me.”

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Another client Carroll worked closely with was Cody Pate. “Our therapy targeted language skills such as using irregular past tense verbs and producing grammatically correct simple and compound sentences,” Carroll said. “Cody’s drive, work ethic and family support played a big role in his success. Cody’s communication skills increased drastically over the time I worked with him.”

Pate received the California Speech-Language-Hearing Association 2019 Child Distinguished Consumer Award. The award recognized Pate’s personal investment in improving his communication skills, as well as the encouragement and support he gives his peers. “During our speech and language sessions, Cody would help the client he was paired with,” said Carroll. “His assistance was invaluable and highly effective. It is easier for clients to relate to a peer. In my opinion, having clients helping each other reach their communication goals is one of the most effective therapy techniques.”


By Anne Marie H. Bergthold
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