Interview with Erin Nordman
|Some of CTC’s speech-language pathologists based in Kent and Burien.|
“Getting the whole family involved is really important. I want to get them to the point where they feel like they can work with their child when I’m not there.”
How did you decide on a career in pediatric speech-language therapy?
My mom was a special education teacher, and in college I did some job shadowing with her. I was really interested in the brain and language side, so I started taking related classes. I got hooked up with CTC as part of the clinical requirements for school and did an internship here.
What do you love most about being a speech-language pathologist and working with children?
I love seeing the changes kids can make! I went into graduate school not knowing if I wanted to work with kids or adults, but my clinical experience led to children.
Give us an example of how you’ve collaborated with therapists from another discipline to treat a child.
I work with occupational therapists a lot to get a child’s body in a place where they are ready to learn. Working in partnership can really help us sort out their sensory needs effectively.
What do you love most about CTC?
I love the community and the ability to work with others and learn. We pick each other’s brains and problem-solve different cases all the time. I love that CTC supports and encourages us as employees. For example, I had an idea to host a “Parent’s Night Out.” The idea was to allow CTC parents to drop their kids off for a couple hours of free childcare. Many of [the families we serve] can’t leave their child with a standard babysitter. That makes it tough to get out of the house; it impacts their parenting and their relationships. Parents need breaks. I was well-supported by CTC in starting up Parent’s Night Out. I’ve been doing it for a year and a half. It lasts about three hours from 5-8pm, and it’s hosted about every 3-4 months. I think it’s a great thing.
What’s the single most important thing you’ve learned from families you’ve served?
I find out what’s important to them and how I can help them empower their child. Every family is different. What I can accomplish in half an hour a week is very little compared to what a parent or caregiver can do every day. That’s where we can really make a difference [as a team].
If you were going to a deserted island (with kids who needed therapy) and you could only bring one thing to use for therapy, what would you bring?
Balloons and a balloon pump! Balloons are a great incentive and an object to communicate around. We have balloons in every treatment room in our centers. They are part of our “top shelf basics.” As speech-language pathologists, we are always thinking of creative ways to help children work on their communication skills.
How do you like to spend time outside work?
I’m married to Glenn, and we have a dog named Maggie. I really love spending time with them. I also really enjoy baking and cooking, and backpacking in the summer. One of my favorite spots to backpack in is the Teanaway river valley near Cle Elum.