This month we’re highlighting our Speech-Language Pathologist, Nicole Vazquez, who’s been with us for 6 years.

Our co-founder and Speech Therapy Director, Mandy Alvarez, says: “Nicky is so dedicated to the children and families she works with. She goes the extra mile to understand the child, and really makes the effort to investigate and problem-solve in order to provide the best treatment possible. She also understands the value of a team approach—she involves parents and other professionals working with the child in order to offer the most comprehensive support. Families often compliment me about Nicky’s impeccable communication. She truly understands the importance of having the parents’ involvement, and she respects them as the head of the team. Nicky is kind and compassionate, and always motivated to continue learning. She is a true asset to our team.”

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

I always had a passion for working with children. Originally I was interested in becoming a teacher, but wasn’t feeling completely satisfied when I began my studies. A mentor of mine suggested I explore speech therapy and I never looked back.

What do you appreciate most about your role as SLP?

It is so rewarding to help parents better understand and support their children so their kids can meet their full potential. It makes a huge difference when families are part of the therapy process. Seeing my clients make progress and change before my eyes is what its all about. It is a big responsibility when parents entrust you with the development of their child, and I take my role very seriously.

What stands out to you about working at ICT?

At ICT we work as a team with parents, occupational therapists, teachers, psychologists, and physical therapists. This allows us to look at a child as a whole and address needs through a multidisciplinary approach. I also really love leading our Social Groups and helping kids learn invaluable social skills.

What is an intervention or strategy you find useful?

For my younger clients, getting on the floor with them and playing! Reaching a child and helping them learn through play has been the most successful intervention Ive learned by far. I also integrate reading in my therapy sessions, especially with my older clients, and I incorporate the Story Grammar Marker tool with books that we read. Language and literacy go hand and hand and the SGM tool really helps to target narrative development in preschool and school aged children.

What is your top tip for parents?

Play with your child, if even for 5 minutes a day. Also, make reading together a part of your nightly routine. I believe it’s so important to instill a love of books in children at a young age, especially for those with language delays who may be at risk for reading difficulties later on.