We have a new Featured Professional to introduce you to! Kim is a professional who works with kids with special needs and graciously answered a few questions.
Fun and Function: Who are you and what is your profession?
Kim Gallo: Kim Gallo, M.S. CCC-SLP, Speech Language Pathologist.
FF: What company do you work for?
KG: Our Kids To Yours.
FF: Do you have a website?
FF: What is the nature of special needs you work with the most?
FF: What would you say is your biggest challenge in working with children with special needs?
KG: Some parents are trying to help their children by driving them all around town getting them 50+ hours of therapy a week. Sometimes kids are sick, tired, or just not in the mood. Getting a parent to be ok with that can be a challenge. I try to help parents to understand that missing a single therapy session once in a while is OK and it can actually be beneficial for the parent and the child to just relax and rest.
FF: What is your greatest joy in your job?
KG: Seeing a young child really connecting with their parent or a peer. It can sometimes take months or years for a child with autism to show that they are 'connected' to others. When it finally happens it can be breathtaking- It might happen during your 100th game of peek-a-boo, when they just give you a knowing smile, or maybe when they come to you and hand you a picture symbol of something they want, or maybe when they look at you without being asked to because they are looking at something neat and they want to see if you see it too. However it happens, as a parent, they will never forget that first moment of being connected with their child.
FF: What has been the greatest help to you in your profession?
KG: Networking with other professionals. I have learned far more from other therapists about treating children with speech and language delays then I did in the classroom. Occupational therapists, Play therapists, and Physical therapists have all helped me to be better able to treat the 'whole child'. For example, many years ago I had a good friend who is an OT walk into one of my therapy sessions and point out that my clients feet were dangling and not firm on the ground. She told me I needed to either find him a smaller chair or put a block under his feet. How is this relevant to what I was doing as a Speech Language Pathologist? Well it turns out it had A LOT to do with his ability to learn and focus.
FF: Give us one tool you would hate to live without?
KG: My ability to be flexible in my thinking. I know that as many years as I've been working with kids and as many kids as I have met, I have so much to learn from other professionals, parents, and children.
FF: If you could give one piece of advice to a parent who's child has just been diagnosed, what would it be?
KG: Your child is the same child he/she was before someone labeled him/her as 'autistic', 'delayed', or 'special needs'. The label does not make them any different. You can not predict who they will become or what their lives will be like based on that label. Love them and help them become the best that they can be. They will blossom into who they were meant to be.
Kim, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us and all the readers here at Fun and Function.
If you would like to be a featured parent or professional, just let us know!