This month we’re highlighting our Clinical Supervisor, Chris Rowlee. Chris has extensive experience as a speech-language pathologist and mentor, and is highly regarded by coworkers, families, and other professionals in the community.
Our founder, Mandy Alvarez, says: “Chris was my mentor when I started out as a speech-language pathologist, so I understand the value of learning from her. She inspires our therapists to step back and look at each child from all angles, not solely through the lens of a speech therapy session. She challenges therapists to think outside the box, ask questions, follow-up on intuitive observations and problem-solve, tirelessly, in order to do the greatest good possible for each child who walks through our door.”
Chris, why did you pursue a career in speech-language therapy?
I was inspired to get into the field when my father received long-term speech-language therapy after a brain tumor removal that affected his ability to read, write, and speak.
What do you appreciate most about your role as a speech-language pathologist?
I love children. When I’m working with a child or supervising a case, I am completely present. I enjoy helping families get from a starting point to an end goal, which goes beyond the therapy room and includes developing the right team, answering questions, visiting the child’s school, and collaborating with teachers and other people who support the child.
What stands out to you about working at Integrated Children’s Therapy?
I love my coworkers! The front office staff, my fellow therapists, and the owner, Mandy, who strives to create a practice that supports the whole child and his or her family.
I’m also excited to be part of incorporating a “teaching model” into the practice, which means we spend a lot of time learning in order to continually improve the quality of our services. Truly, learning never ends.
What is an intervention or strategy you find especially useful?
Rather than a specific intervention, I find that an approach including these key things is most useful:
- Looking beyond a child’s presenting problem or diagnoses and viewing him or her as a complete picture.
- Being knowledgeable about normal development so you can accurately assess things like posture, alertness, attention, and motivation.
- Finding something that sparks the child’s interest and motivates him or her to learn.
- Staying connected. Any valuable learning happens within the context of an authentic connection with a child.
What is your top tip for parents?
Find time every day to enjoy with your children. Even if it’s 15 minutes, set aside any stress or distractions and focus on connecting with them. Read with them, listen to them, talk to them, play with them. And most importantly, learn from them! They have so much to teach us.