It’s National Speech Month!

May is National Better Hearing and Speech Month, so we want to share the passions, words of hope, and educational backgrounds of our SLPs with all of our readers.

Jennifer Austin, M.S.-C.C.C.-S.L.P.

Jennifer is a Speech-Language Pathologist at MCRC and Director of Speech Therapy. Jennifer received her Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology from Texas Women’s University in 1998 and has been a pediatric speech therapist for 19 years.

Jennifer has a long history of working at MCRC—she volunteered at MCRC when she was in high school and was drawn to children with challenges early on. She loves being able to help children change their outcomes for the better, and then as a result impacting the whole family by the child’s positive change.

She genuinely loves each of the children she works with at MCRC. “It takes a village to raise children, and I’m so honored to be a part of their village,” Jennifer says. She wants the families that she works with to know that she values partnering with families to increase their child’s progress. She wants each of her kids to know they are valuable and are worthy, and that by increasing their skills, we build confidence. Jennifer is a mom too, and she understands the daily challenges of kids, especially high need children. She is happy she can ease some of the parent’s load by helping their child meet milestones and make progress.

Jennifer’s client Cameron and mom Shelby think the world of Jennifer: “Cam has been so blessed to have you as his therapist. I say it all the time, but you two just connect! You have worked wonders with Cameron and our family appreciates you so much. You have a heart of gold!”

McKayla Morton, M.S.-C.C.C.-S.L.P.

McKayla is a Speech-Language Pathologist at MCRC and has been a therapist at MCRC for 2 years. McKayla earned her undergrad and graduate degrees at West Texas A&M University and received her Master’s in speech language pathology in May of 2015.

McKayla has always had a strong desire and passion for helping others in need. Whether it’s an elderly person at the grocery store or teaching an autistic child to communicate, it brings so much joy and happiness to McKayla to be able to impact others in a positive way. McKayla always knew she wanted to be in the medical field because she wanted to help others. However, she thrives on creating bonds and relationships with others. Some medical occupations don’t allow you to establish that close bond relationship over a longer duration of time like a therapist does with their clients. McKayla chose speech therapy because communication is such a huge role in life itself. She can’t imagine how frustrating it is to not be able to communicate your needs and wants on a daily basis. McKayla’s passion is finding the best form of communication for each child to communicate their needs and wants. “The fun in that is figuring out the best way to communicate because each child is different,” McKayla says.

McKayla says to her patient’s parents and family, “Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to work with your child. Your child is loved! I am so blessed and thankful you trust me to work with your child every week. One of the most rewarding things about my job is getting to see your child progress to his or her goals. While I am a therapist, I am also a shoulder to lean on when things get tough and I am always here for support. I think one of the most unique things about MCRC is our whole staff is family oriented and very close knit. In the medical world, you often get blunt and cold answers at times. The atmosphere at MCRC is so different from your typical medical facility. I know for me personally, I strive to go above and beyond inside and outside of the therapy room to help my patients achieve their goals.”

A client of McKayla has two daughters attending speech therapy simultaneously and says, “Thank you so much for working with my daughters at the same time. You are one of very few who can do it. Their speech has been growing so much, it’s something I felt I would never see so soon.”

Terrye Childers, M.S.-C.C.C.-S.L.P.

Terrye is a Speech-Language Pathologist at MCRC. She received her Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology from Texas Women’s University and has been a speech pathologist for 30+ years.

Terrye realized during her senior year of high school that she wanted to be a speech pathologist. Her sister-in-law was a speech pathologist, and Terrye remembers she would always talk to her about her job and how rewarding it was. She decided it was the career for her, and she has never regretted that decision for one minute.

She wants parents to know how privileged she feels to have the opportunity to work with their precious children. She feels so honored and so very happy to see them when they come to therapy—she loves them dearly! Terrye receives blessings from the children she works with every time she sees them. She is so proud of the hard work they demonstrate to learn and acquire new skills, and looks forward to the afternoons and evenings because of her wonderful students’ work and their families.

A parent of one of Terrye’s students says, “Thank you so much for everything you do for my son. I knew from our first meeting that you and Jack were going to be wonderful together. The love and dedication you show to him and me is appreciated beyond words. You are AWESOME and our cup runneth over!”

Juliana Wright, M.S.-C.C.C.-S.L.P.

Juliana is a Speech-Language Pathologist at MCRC. She received her Bachelors of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Texas Christian University and a Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology from Abilene Christian University in 2011. Juliana has been a speech pathologist for 6 years.

Juliana always knew she wanted to work with children, and she was drawn to speech pathology because it has the science component to it. Juliana loves being able to assess and diagnose communication disorders—it’s rewarding to be able to “solve the mystery.”

Each child holds a special place in Juliana’s heart. She loves her students as if they were her very own children, and even though at times helping students is a challenge, she wants parents to know that she would never give up. Every single step, no matter how big or small, is a victory to Juliana—from something as simple as making eye contact, Juliana counts that as a reward and a step toward success. “Thank you for trusting me with you child and believing in me,” Juliana says.

Sharla Gray, M.S.-C.C.C.-S.L.P.

Sharla is a Speech-Language Pathologist at MCRC. Sharla received her Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology from Texas Women’s University in 2004 and has been a pediatric speech therapist for 13 years.

Sharla has an older sister (our very own Kristal Kidd!) who is a physical therapist, and that is how she was introduced to the therapy world. Sharla liked the idea of helping people communicate, and she chose to work with kids because they are resilient and they choose joy at all times.

She wants the parents of the children she works with to know that when they use their first sign or say their first word or take their first bite, she gets emotional. “It is a huge blessing and reward to be able to work with these children,” Sharla says. The clinicians at MCRC want the children to meet goals and make progress just like their families at home.