Employee Spotlight: Tips From One Therapist to Another
I’m Aga Wojtowicz, MA, CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist for our Mount Prospect, IL, Academy. I work with teens and young adults with various neurobehavioral challenges, including brain and spinal cord injuries, intellectual and developmental disorders, and different mental health conditions. I work with students on improving cognitive-communication skills, expressive and receptive language, articulation/speech sounds, social communication, fluency, and swallowing. I love my job because I feel like I’m part of a team working towards improving the overall health, wellbeing, and quality of life of the individuals we serve! Below are a few therapy tips that have helped me succeed in my career.
One of my favorite ways to facilitate therapeutic activities for our individuals is through functional tasks. For example, I can target sequencing, problem-solving, reasoning, memory, language, and pragmatics by baking banana bread, tending a garden, or putting up holiday decorations with our students. They have fun, learn valuable lessons along the way, and I’m still targeting speech therapy goals!
A couple of months ago, I combined my passions for speech-language pathology and animals by starting a therapy dog program at our Illinois program. I partnered with MAST Dog Programs, and their volunteer dog handlers come to our program every other week so that our students (and staff!) can play with the dogs. This program has been such a rewarding experience, and it’s incredible to see how a couple of dogs can transform our students’ days. Even the students that have some aggressive tendencies show such gentleness when interacting with the dogs. I bring my Siberian Husky, Luna, on these days. She is a favorite among the students!
Trust The Process
A quote I try to live and work by: “You can’t always see growth, but it doesn’t mean it’s not happening.” I quickly learned that even if I have the perfect therapy session planned and my student is feeling dysregulated, sitting with them and listening will have a more profound effect on their wellbeing at that moment, than trying to teach particular skills like fluency techniques or compensatory memory strategies.