SMHS, SLP, and Special Needs Life Coach
|Why did you choose your profession?
|Communication, both verbal and nonverbal, is how we interact with the world around us and navigate through life.
Before earning my master’s degree, I worked as an assistant preschool teacher. I had a 3-year-old boy in my classroom who had nearly unintelligible speech; his peers could not understand what he was saying and, as a result, they had no interest in playing with him. I watched him grow frustrated, tearful, impatient, and lonely as he tried, over and over, to connect with the other children. He began working with a speech-language pathologist and, almost like magic, he learned to express himself calmly and clearly and became a happier, more social boy. I chose to be a speech-language pathologist to help people of all ages more effectively use and understand language so they can live full lives.
I earned a Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Teachers College, Columbia University. I hold a Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), as well as a New York State license to practice Speech Pathology (SLP). Additionally, I am certified as a Teacher of Students with Speech and Language Disabilities (TSSLD) in New York State, and I am now an IBCCES-Certified Student Mental Health Specialist (SMHS).
While I continue to work with school-aged children, I saw a need to support the adult population as they age out of the school system. Many adults with invisible disabilities such as autism are expected to speak, behave, and live just like any neurotypical adult, with little-to-no support or understanding. This is why I became an Autism and Special Needs Life Coach. I work with adults with disabilities on life skills such as social skills (e.g., friendships, dating, social safety, nonverbal language, and self-advocacy), independent living skills (e.g., budgeting, cooking, cleaning), executive functioning (time management, planning and prioritizing, making and keeping appointments), and college/career planning and development.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, I saw an imminent need for supportive, individualized education to supplement the inconsistent curriculum many students were receiving in the classroom, out of the classroom, and online. I founded a small tutoring company called Virtuo Tutors, which was designed to support students by connecting them to highly qualified educators all over the US.
|What’s your favorite part about what you do?
|Most people are motivated to be happy and successful, regardless of their definition of success; however, many people simply do not know where to begin, what steps to take, and how to achieve their goals. My favorite part about what I do is helping people achieve their version of success. As a speech-language pathologist and Autism and Special Needs Life Coach, I help my clients more effectively understand and use language, implement strategies, and formulate concrete, tangible steps to take towards their objectives. A highlight of working one-on-one is that, beyond a positive rapport, I am able to develop meaningful, deep relationships with my clients.
|How has your IBCCES training/credential helped you in your career?
|Life can be challenging especially during the pandemic, many of my clients struggle with mental health. I chose to become a Student Mental Health Specialist so that I can better support my clients, now and in the future, as they learn to regulate and make sense of their emotions and disabilities.
Learn More About IBCCES Certification Options