This month we’re highlighting one of our speech therapists, Katie Sacasa. Our Co-Founder and Director of Speech Therapy, Mandy Alvarez, says: “Katie came to us with extensive experience in areas that are aligned with our focus on social communication. She has great knowledge about and experience with social thinking-based philosophies and techniques, and that trickles down to the rest of us. She has been instrumental in helping us rethink and restructure our intensive (camp-based) programs. Katie is confident, well-rounded and has a seemingly effortless way of offering consistency and creating boundaries that facilitate children’s learning. She is flexible, helpful, and a great team player. I am so grateful to have her on our team!”

Katie, why did you get into the Speech Therapy field?

I knew I wanted to help make a difference in people’s lives, and I’ve always enjoyed working with children. I was deciding between pursuing a career in education or healthcare when I found speech pathology, which encompasses all of those aspects!

What do you appreciate most about your role as an SLP?

I see communication as the foundation of relationships, and I’m passionate about supporting kids in learning how to communicate, interact, and make friends.

What stands out to you about working at ICT?

It is truly a team. Everyone is willing to collaborate and share knowledge with one another. As a result, all employees benefit from the unique skill set and experience of each speech pathologist and occupational therapist. This benefit is passed on to ICT’s clients and their families.

What is an intervention or strategy that you find especially useful?

Visual supports (drawings, pictures, written words, gestures, etc.) are great for increasing a child’s understanding of and attention to spoken language. Also, Michelle Garcia-Winner’s Social Thinking materials provide wonderful resources and techniques that break down complex social skills into simple terms. I use these strategies daily!

What is your top tip for parents?

Ensure you have your child’s attention before speaking to him (or her). Say his name and wait for him to look up, or provide a cue by gently saying: “I’m waiting for you to show me you’re ready to listen.” Likewise, ensure that you are actively listening to your child when he is sharing information with you. Put down your phone, make eye contact, and show that you’ve understood what he’s said. If it is a busy day, try to set aside at least 5 minutes without distractions to fully attend to your child and what they have to share with you.