Wow ~ 2001 IS a long time ago. 16 years to be exact. I graduated from Eastern Illinois University and began my Clinical Fellowship Year (CFY) in a suburb of Chicago called Carpentersville. I remember how proud and nervous I was to begin my journey as an SLP. Truth is we are always “in training”, but I really was such a newbie to this vast field. The vastness of the knowledge you need to possess to be an SLP was terrifying to me. I remember trying to understand and gain knowledge in all the diagnoses just within the school setting mind you, getting a grasp on the beauracratic realm (i.e. IEP meetings, forms, paperwork), and also just managing behaviors of groups of kids was enough to make even a “seasoned” SLP feel overwhelmed. It is good to reflect on the beginnings to see how far one has come on their journey. I can say I have traveled far, but not “far” at all if you really look at what matters the most when making a big difference for the patients/students/clients an SLP sees.
In the summer of 2003 I decided I needed a break from my current life. SLP life was great. I had amazing co-workers and students, but personally I needed to…run…away…far…far…away from the Midwest where I had always had my “roots” embedded. It landed me in sunny California. California was truly the beginning of a conscious ongoing transformation. I owe this “seeker” vibe to my speech kiddos. They will ALWAYS be our greatest teachers if we tune in to both what can be seen vs. unseen. Children are very present and aware, some more than others, just like adults you meet. The kiddos that were put on my path were insanely “tuned in”. The funny thing is many of them would be labeled as anything BUT “tuned in” in the world of medical and educational labels. They were labeled autistic, PDD-NOS, aspergers, childhood apraxia of speech, ADD/ADHD to name a few. It was these kiddos I have to THANK for my very own transformation. Thank you for being tuned into a world I was only about to scratch the surface on.
So I began to change, because the kiddos I was treating were so darn sensitive to the “unseen” or just my feelings in any given moment. Out of the blue a child on the spectrum would give me a hug. She just knew I needed it, even though she was predominantly non-verbal at this current point of her own journey. The kids always knew when I was struggling internally. I could put on a smile and fake my way to being okay, upbeat, and cheerful Jen, but they always knew my authentic feelings. It was then that I started to turn into the conscious “seeker”. I began to meditate and learn about alterantive healing modalities within energy healing. I learned that I was an empath. I could so easily absorb other’s feelings and take them on as my own. I really got lost for awhile with my own sensitivities, hence I continued to trek forward in my own healing.
Fast forward to California about the time of 2011. A lot changed for me that year personally. I met the man of my dreams and lost my wonderful Dad that same year. I also got pregnant that year. Talk about so many life changes both highs and lows all at once! Navigating this next chapter in my life as a mother and wife really changed my outlook as a speech therapist. In 2012 I gave birth to beautiful, vibrant daughter, and then in 2014 I gave birth to two little angels….TWINS! Once you become a Mom, you really DO view things quite differently. At least this rings true for me. Being an SLP Mom is no exception to the “letting go” of the old paradigm I had held onto for so many years prior to being a Mom.
In 2015, my family of 5, decided we wanted a quality of life change for us and that led us to the greater Denver/Boulder area. I remember waking up in our new house on January 1, 2016 feeling ready to embrace this new area and establish our roots. I had found some classes that I was really READY for so ready that I registered for the classes while still living in LA. Several months later I decided to take the intuitive training program that was a year long. About the same time as I started this class, I also established my new SLP private practice called Mindful Little Talkers. Gosh what a year 2016-2017 has been…I feel I have gained so much certainty in my own intuition. Remember how “far” I had traveled on my SLP journey. Turns out the “distance” was always RIGHT THERE…within me. My intuiton…I had it then back in 2001 as the newbie, and I have it now. The only difference is I trust it more fully with each day I use my tools. I can also discern what emotions are mine vs. what I am absorbing from others. I can set a space now as I work with various kiddos to support the highest good for all of us. Labels, while I HAVE to use, don’t really resonate with me. It seems so limiting to a person’s journey and growth to put them into a box/label. I can see the whole child now. I can see and perceive the unseen. I can now hold space for the kiddos to move through their emotions, and meet them exactly where they are at in any given moment. I am a newbie to a different type of speech therapy and it feels GREAT. I feel renewed and ready to transform even more fully. With gratitude, of course, for all the kiddos/individuals that I am honored to help along their/our journey to grow, learn, and transform. I have traveled so far, I have traveled within.