HCDM 47 | Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist

 

Seeing children who are only a few months old having difficulty when eating and swallowing is truly heartbreaking. For Michelle Dawson, treating these children as a pediatric speech-language pathologist is more of a meaningful service than a mere job. Joining Dr. Richard Marn, Michelle explains how she helps babies heal from oropharyngeal dysphagia both in her professional and personal practices. She also breaks down the most common misconceptions about her profession and the feeling of fulfillment of seeing young ones experience many firsts. Moreover, Michelle shares about her life of overcoming domestic abuse, her advocacy for further diversity in the medical field, and her advice on what it takes to become a pathologist of her expertise.

Listen to the podcast here:

Healing Young Voices: The Fulfilling Work Of A Pediatric Speech Pathologist With Michelle Dawson

I have a fantastic guest. I’m not kidding you. This guest is unique. She is passionate, super knowledgeable about her career and her particular profession. She is also open about her own past and her history and how it led to her career. It’s a lot of gems, emotional experiences, and insight in this episode. Who I’m going to talk to is Michelle Dawson in South Carolina. She is a Speech-Language Pathologist, an SLP. This is a second speech-language pathologist I’m having on this show and the first one being Leigh Ann Porter and like Leigh Ann, I found Michelle through her podcasts.

Michelle’s podcast is called the First Bite. I’m fortunate to have both of them. They have great experiences in both their respective fields. Leigh Ann, as I’ve learned by talking to her, has more of a focus on her career as an SLP in Academics in a hospital and with adults. You’ll see that Michelle has a unique focus as well, which is more home-based and with kids. We’ll see how that’s different and like Leigh Ann, they have this podcast, a website and they have a great presence on Instagram. Both of them also do their podcasts to help educate other SLPs, which is getting great feedback and great responses. In other words, they get continuing education credits by listening to their podcasts. You know that there’s got to be value in what they’re bringing to their community. I’m lucky to have both of them on this show. You’re going to get a lot from this as I did and I enjoyed it. Without further ado, let’s jump into this.

I have another great guest with me. I have a speech pathologist and her name is Michelle Dawson.

Thanks for having me. I’m so excited.

A brief bio about yourself, if you don’t mind.

I did my undergraduate degree from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. I did my Master’s degree at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. I was going to do a PhD, but instead, I decided to get divorced so that happened, a life alteration plan. What I did was for the best. I did my clinical fellowship year at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital in Gloucester County, Virginia, which is about yay big. I worked there for a few years and I’m happily remarried. My husband and I moved to Columbia, South Carolina. I got into the world of early intervention, which truth be told, going from a hospital to early intervention pediatrics I didn’t want to do because kids are gross. However, it turns out I love them and I found my niche in the world. I work in private practice. I owned my own private practice, Heartwood Speech Therapy, for years. I accepted a position as Coordinator for Clinical Services as well as Clinical Assistant Professor, which is the technical title. I specialize in pediatric feeding and swallowing disorders.

As a speech-language pathologist, are you only taking care of kids?

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For me, personally, yes. I only treat incredibly medically complex births to about 10 or 12.

What are the usual steps to achieve your professional degree?

Most individuals have a Bachelor’s degree in something related to biology or health science, Exercise Physiology, and Early Childhood Education. Those are good Bachelor’s level choices. You have to attend either an accredited or a candidate for accredidacy graduate program. For example, the university that it worked with is a candidate for accredidacy. It’s a five-year process. You have to have your Master’s. Embedded within that Master’s program, you have 375 clinical clock hours of external clinical practicum sites. You get a lot of hands-on training across the life continuum. You have to pass the Praxis, our board exam, which is a beast. However, in the world nowadays, you find out immediately after taking the test if you pass the test versus with the old, I had to wait six weeks. These kids walk out the door and they know if they passed. I’m like, “You don’t have the agony of those six weeks waiting on the mail.”

You pass the Praxis, you get your Master’s degree conferred, and you go into your clinical fellowship year. Your clinical fellowship year is on average, nine months of full-time work. Don’t quote me, but it’s 1,200 hours or it might be 1,500. That’s supervised and you’re supervised by an individual who already has their Certificate of Clinical Competency from our national association. After you have successfully completed your Master’s, your Praxis, your clinical fellowship, then you get your coveted Cs, your Certificate of Clinical Competency and the world is your oyster and you start working.

What’s the best part of your career?

Getting to be part of little ones’ learning to eat their first foods or drink their first drink.

Your least favorite part of your career?

Vomit. Getting puked on by the little ones that are learning how to eat and drink those first foods. That’s an unfortunate side effect.

HCDM 47 | Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist

Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist: The medical and SPED communities must come together and provide help starting at birth.

 

It’s good to know. That’s a little brief bio. Let’s dive in a little bit more about what you do day in, day out, and what’s it like to be an SLP in your world. You mostly take care of kids, almost 100%. Tell us what kids you’re taking care of.

When I get called in, I am getting the most complex patients. I am getting the least of these. I’m getting patients that have graduated from the NICU and they’re on homebound services. They’re too fragile to even make it to an outpatient clinic. I go to patient’s homes where they have trachs and vents set up. Most of my patients have NGG, various types of feeding tubes. A lot of my patients are non-verbal and I’m working on getting them a communication device which is cool.

I love working with little ones when we’re working on eye gaze and they’re using their eyes to request the food that they want to eat. It’s amazing. I’m like, “Yes, you can have all the cookies.” Only if it’s safe but it’s phenomenal. I get so many first moments, first words, and first foods. With the nature of the patients that I treat, some of them are palliative or hospice care patients. Occasionally I have a little one that crosses over, but this is what I’ve been called to do.

What exactly do you help them out with? These are the patients you take care of, but without getting too technical, what are 1 or 2 examples of how you help these young ones out? We’re talking about a few months old or weeks old.

They could be a couple of weeks or a couple of months or a couple of years old. Most of my patients come to me and they have a diagnosis of oropharyngeal dysphagia. Something is wrong with either their mouth or various stages of their throat. They structurally can’t swallow. It’s my job to teach them how to latch on to a bottle. I have my CLC, my Certified Lactation Counseling Certificate, so I can also help them latch on to a breast. It’s my job to know what strategies, how to pace them on a bottle when they need it, and to teach the families how to do this. If they’re a little bit older and they’re cognitively and developmentally from a physical perspective, like gross motor and fine motor, are able to sit upright and they’re ready for first foods, it’s my job to teach them how to feed themselves, how to choose safely so they don’t accidentally inadvertently aspirate. Embedded within all of those moments, I add in language acquisition. I’m doing two jobs and two roles.

Are you teaching them how to speak?

Whether it be ASL or on a communication device. I laugh and joke. I never teach kids how to talk. When it comes to syntax and grammar, I’m out. If you’re combining more than 3 or 4 words, then you don’t need me, you need the next speech therapist. I’m the first step. If they’ve been in NICU, I’m the second step, but I’m that in-between stage where we’re starting to learn to eat and drink. I stay with my families until they are on what I call a functional diet for them. Not all of my patients will be able to completely come off of a feeding tube. They may have a cardiac condition, a metabolic condition, various disorders, and diseases. They may always need a feeding tube for sustenance. We call it quantity. However, once they’ve hit a healthy, happy, functional quality by mouth, then I’ve done my job.

You’re definitely improving the quality and a little bit of quantity of the swallowing and the speech.

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What I focus on it’s called pediatric feeding disorders. There’s a great website called Feeding Matters and they’re an international nonprofit that focuses on interprofessional practice. They tie in GI, registered dieticians, nurses, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, such as myself, ENTs, otolaryngologists, and families with a huge emphasis on families. They pull all of us together to be able to serve these patients. It’s because of their work. We have an R code, which is super detailed. It’s coming out this October because of their interdisciplinary work, which is fantastic. We’ll be able to code for the thing that we do.

You’ve got to work with these young kids, maybe even a few years old and not much beyond that, but also with the families intimately.

What I focus on the most is parent family coaching because statistically, there are 168 hours in a week. I am there one hour once a week. It is the training of the skills that I have with the caregivers, whether it be parents or foster parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, brothers, or sisters. It is me pouring into that individual or group of individuals that make the difference in the 167 hours. That one hour is but a drop in a bucket and it’s watching them progress. That makes the difference.

You have to be impactful in that small amount of time to have a long-term benefit. What is your typical day like?

It’s fast-paced, which suits me perfectly. I’m sure by now everybody has seen me talking with my hands and gesturing. I laugh because I do have a touch of ADD and a touch of ADHD so I don’t like to sit still. This profession was perfect for me because I crawl on the floor. I chase after tiny humans. We have so much fun. My patients might be in a wheelchair and they’re utilizing a communication device to say, “Go, go, go. Stop.” We’re racing after each other. Mom might be pushing somebody in a wheelchair and I’m chasing after them with their device. It’s so much fun. Personally, in the world of home health, I normally see about 4 to 5 patients a day.

On my personal day, I wake up early. My hubby makes me coffee, drops the kids off at school, and I start seeing different patients across the area. Where I live in Columbia, it’s city to rural. It is not a city like your city. Columbia, compared to New York, we’re like a suburb. It’s our version of a city, but then we go rural or you’re talking tobacco fields and cotton fields. I have to have a steady and sturdy GPS because I’ve gotten lost. I’ve been attacked by a pack of Chihuahuas and sheep, not on the same day. Thank the Lord.

I’m going into their homes and I am bringing the skillset that I have and I’m meeting them in their natural environment. It gets me an opportunity to work with individuals from all cultural backgrounds. One thing when you’re pregnant and you’re doing home health, everybody in the world will feed you. I’m there teaching their tiny humans how to eat and drink, and then they would perpetually feed me in the process, which was great. I love to eat. That’s probably why I like feeding disorders.

“It’s a little bit for you and a little bit for me.”

HCDM 47 | Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist

Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist: Individuals from all walks of life can benefit from the work of a speech language pathologist.

 

“Ms. Michelle gets 3 bites and 2 bites for you.”

A lot of SLPs work in academics and hospitals, but you work a lot in people’s homes.

I do home-based services and I did that through my private practice. When I took the position of the university, I transferred my patients over because I love what I do. I am proud to say that we are the first University in South Carolina that’s treating pediatric feeding and swallowing disorders on campus and in homes. For Francis Marion, check us out. It is absolutely wonderful because I’ve worked in outpatient clinics, hospitals, and in all the settings you could possibly work in our profession with the exception of the NICU, but that’s because my own child was in the NICU.

I couldn’t do that. My mommy heart trumps my clinical heart. Going into the homes, I get to be a detective. I rarely get complete medical records. I have to learn how to advocate. I have to learn how to navigate the medical world, the transition to public schools under Special Education Law. I have to learn how to advocate societal needs, such as food banks and food groups. I get to make the most impact for good.

Despite all this, there are some misconceptions people have about SLPs. What are they? Top two.

Most people, when you say that you’re a speech therapist or speech-language pathologist, they immediately say, “You help somebody make their R sounds or make a sound.”

There are speech therapists that do that.

My dear friend, Dr. Angela McLeod, helped my own young. Behr was a preemie when he had hearing loss so she was his speech pathologist. He had years of speech therapy to learn how to do his sounds but that’s not all that we do. The biggest misconception that I see is because of the world that I work in, when I say, “I’m in early intervention,” everybody thinks all I do is unskilled play with the child. I spin it. What I do is I treat the one aspect of our job that if I do it wrong, I could kill a patient because in dysphasia and a feeding disorder, they could aspirate and die. I do it with the least amount of resources because medical records within a hospital system stay within a hospital system. It rarely transfers and trickles down to private practices. There’s a huge disconnect between IDEA Part C, Special Education Law Part C, and how it’s interpreted in the early intervention level.

The medical community can uphold cultural respect and growth by further diversifying its people. Click To Tweet

Early intervention is designed to be academic, but we are rescuing and having patients survive that five years ago, they would have died in the NICU. Until IDEA Part C starts mandating that they include a list of current medical conditions, medications, therapeutic restrictions, diagnoses, and disorders, the entire system is broken. I’m hoping that one day we can fix that. I put the problem out there and give strategies and solutions for fixing that because we need our medical community and our SPED community to come together starting at birth.

You’re working out in a rural area. You’re working with limited resources. I totally get it. You’re much more hands-on than people realize. That’s great that you helped to bring that out in this venue to your career. You mentioned the best part of your career is you get to be there for a lot of firsts. Are there other rewarding parts of your job?

When you have a patient that reach the point that they can have their G-tube removed, that’s amazing. Do you know what a cankle is?

Yeah. It’s when the knee joins with the foot but there’s no ankle. Visually not anatomically. It’s big and round.

I get to make baby cankles and they’re the cutest thing in the world. This little chubby baby cankles. That’s my non-official job description, it’s baby cankles. Think back on every one of your favorite memories growing up when you were a kid. They probably all involve food. At least for me, but I was also a well-rounded child, circumference-wise. Food is life there. You have your family traditions. Your heritage is surrounded around these giant gatherings. I get to make those events accessible to my patients. That is amazing.

That’s some deep stuff, Michelle. Thank you for sharing that. How would you describe your work-life balance?

Personally, it sucks, but that’s because I don’t know how to say no. If I did my job, it would be great. I’d take my kids to school, I see my five patients, I type my notes up at the end of the therapy session, and I come home. However, my daddy raised me such that if you see a problem in the world, “With one breath, you can gripe about it with the next, you work to resolve it.” That is the G-rated version of what my dad says. Farm life.

I have spent the last several years heavily volunteering. I’m the past President of our state speech pathology association. I volunteer with a couple of national associations for the advancement of pediatric feeding disorders. I’m the past Treasurer for the Council of State Association, President. I’ve done all of that, which that’s where I struggle with the balance. That’s because there’s so much needed to be repaired, recovered, implemented, policy changes that we’ve had to advocate for, which are all incredibly super technical and detailed. We’ve been able to do that because I’ve been surrounded by amazing colleagues that have as much passion as I do. That is truthfully and in retrospect, I probably volunteered as equally as I’ve worked.

HCDM 47 | Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist

Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist: Hyper-focused people and multi-taskers make killer acute in-patient adult rehab clinicians.

 

In other words, you can make this a 9:00 to 5:00 but you do work after hours. You’re doing all these other advocacies, community, and society activities that are related to your specialty and you enjoy it. You’re passionate about it. You love it. That’s awesome. Let’s talk about your professional outlook. What do you think the future outlook is like for your profession?

There was one poll that speech-language pathologists rate number seven job satisfaction within allied health medical communities, which is amazing. Here’s an issue that I have. As of 2019, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 91.7% of my colleagues are Caucasian and that is, in my humble opinion, a significant problem.

How many are women?

Probably about 97%. I don’t have that number. Honestly, it is predominant. We’re a field, and I can say this because I fall in that category of 30-year-old middle-income white ladies. However, that is not respective of our nation as a whole. That has to change. We have to diversify. We have to engage in community outreach, education, cultural respect, and growth. I am in hopes of the outreach initiatives and the outreach projects that I’ve been and part of that we can change the makeup of my profession. It’s something like medical convergence or professional convergence.

With that convergence, it says that you are more likely to take the feedback of the medical professional and speech pathologist or allied health of the individual if they look like you. That’s true and accurate but also I know the culture that I grew up in. I don’t know the others. I’m learning. However, I can’t say that I’m culturally competent because I didn’t grow up in that culture and I don’t think we’re ever truly culturally competent in another culture unless we’ve lived that culture. For example, ASHA has the Minority Student Leadership project initiative. It offers an opportunity for graduate speech-language pathology students to have minority cultural backgrounds to engage in meeting leaders and becoming and learning all these leader skillsets from across the nation.

Here in South Carolina, we had a horrible atrocity happen at the Mother Emanuel Church. There was a massacre several years ago. We lost one of our own, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton. She died at the scene and she was a speech pathologist. SCSHA, the South Carolina Speech Hearing Association, made a thousand-dollar scholarship for a minority speech-language pathologist that carries her values. This is something that I feel incredibly passionate about. We have to get the word out about our profession to individuals from all walks of life across this country because we need that. I feel strongly about that.

You guys are doing it and starting with little things like this scholarship. What type of students do you believe best flourish in this career?

It depends on the setting. If you are reading this now and you can’t sit still, you’re walking or running, you’re grocery shopping or multitasking, you are destined to be a pediatric speech pathologist. If you are reading this and are hyper-focused on notes or one other activity and you’re intense, you’re probably going to make a killer acute inpatient adult rehab clinician. I can peg who’s the acute medical SLP versus the peds SLP. Look at me, I’m the ped SLP.

Put your faith first, never go to bed angry, and learn to love deep. Click To Tweet

I’ve got brightly colored scrubs and a bead of jewelry. Even within our scope, there are so many different microcosms to what we can do, which I love about us. We’re like chameleons. We adapt but for me, particularly, don’t be grossed out by vomit. Be able to handle mucus plugs and boogers. You may get bit so remember to feed the bite. That doesn’t make sense. I work with a lot of individuals that have autism spectrum disorders. If somebody clamps down on you, and I had one little guy bite me through a cable knit sweater over scrubs one time. I got infected. I had to get a shot. It was horrible.

This show is meant to entice people into your occupation, not pull them back away from it.

To be fair, he also had one word and used it functionally. It was a four-letter word and he was a love biter. If he loved you, he bit you. If they clamped down, feed the bite. It engages the gag reflex and they let go. He was happy. These are occupational hazards.

Minor occupational hazards that need antibiotics. Are there other careers that you were considering growing up?

I wanted to be a lawyer. I seriously considered being a lawyer because I love the opportunity for a righteous fight. Don’t misconstrue that. I don’t go out looking for a fight. I’m a domestic abuse survivor from my ex-husband. I am alive because I took the bullets out of the gun one night or I wouldn’t be here. Nobody can see the scars that I have on the inside and they’re immense. It’s because of that, I have the opportunity to be a voice for survivors and I have an opportunity to help those that don’t know how to have a voice. It made me want to go to law school. I had a full-blown panic attack when I was in the process of applying for grad school and didn’t realize it was a panic attack.

I drove myself to the hospital, thinking I was having a heart attack. They brought in a man with the paramedic on his chest doing CPR and he flat-lined in the room next to me. The doctor came in to tell me, “You’re having a panic attack,” little bitty 21-year-old Michelle totally melts down. He goes, “What’s going on?” I was like, “How do I tell this man?” At the time, I was in an abusive relationship with my ex. I was scared. He was a white male physician in a position of power. I saw another man die in the room next to me and I’m having a life crisis about, “Do I be a lawyer or a speech pathologist?”

Another divine intervention, a God moment. He was like, “You’re going to do something good, kid. You’re overthinking the whole thing.” It wasn’t passive. It wasn’t flip it. It was the wording. It was the affirmation that I needed to hear at that moment. I don’t know what they gave me. They gave me something that totally made the world feel better. I got home and finished the applications for grad school. I always wondered, but should I have been a lawyer and then a mentor. Dr. Jackie Jones-Brown from South Carolina State University reached out and asked me to volunteer for our state speech pathology board. She goes, “You’d be great as the VP of Governmental Affairs. They work on advocacy initiatives,” and it’s a volunteer gig, but it was like an SLP who’s a lawyer. Not really a lawyer but advocating like a lawyer. I was hooked.

It’s a great combination for you, what your interests were, and the background. Is there any advice that you would give a student that may be considering this career?

HCDM 47 | Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist

Chasing the Swallow: Truth, Science, and Hope for Pediatric Feeding Disorders

Self-care and start it now. In this profession, in any allied health profession or medical profession, you are called to it because you’re called to help be a healer. You’re called to be a healer. That’s one of our gifts. However, with that, it can take a toll, especially if you’re an empath. I know I am. I can pour out to the point that I am wrung out. Have you ever heard that phrase?

Like a towel, yes, but I haven’t heard that term or the phase before.

Can you tell my family is from the mountains in Virginia? That is dangerous. That’s good advice for any medical profession. Learning to find your balance in your self-care. I’m spoiled. My husband makes me coffee every morning. I pack his lunch, so this is fair. He makes me coffee every morning, fresh ground coffee beans, and drip coffee. It’s foo-foo. I need our time together in the morning to set and prep for our day.

When I don’t get those moments with him and the kids wake up earlier or if I overslept because I hit snooze too many times on the alarm, then my day is off. For me, that’s self-care. You can take all the bubble baths, eat all the chocolate and drink all the wine. However, that won’t recharge your batteries. Taking a walk in nature, doing yoga, learning tapping, learning belly breathing, the power of prayer, pick your faith, but having those quiet moments are self-care strategies that I use and they do make a difference.

Let’s change gears a little bit here. We’re going to do what I call my little rapid-fire questions. What is your favorite type of movie to watch by yourself?

The Piano. That is my all-time favorite movie. It’s so sad. I also like The Witches, the original Witches with Anjelica Huston, and Practical Magic. I like Elf. I will watch those on repeat.

That is a diverse set of movies. What’s your favorite type of music?

K-Love, My Christian Radio Station and immediately followed by Dropkick Murphys. They’re my favorite punk rock band.

What school activities and sports did you participate in?

I was a ballerina until I shattered my toe and I couldn’t dance anymore. I decided to play softball, but I was built like a ballerina and I got bowled over a lot.

That’s an interesting transition.

I sucked at both, but it was so much fun.

What comes easily for you that is more difficult for other people?

I can talk to anybody about anything and put them at ease, and I know that this is a gift.

What has been your favorite vacation?

I’m super nerdy. My husband and I went to Washington DC for our honeymoon and we hit all of our favorite museums. It was the greatest thing ever.

That’s great but not the one I was expecting.

It was perfect. The National Spy Museum in DC, you can pay them and they dress you up like a spy. It’s so cool. It’s like, “Is that you because it doesn’t look like you?” I love all art and natural history museums.

Would you rather be able to speak every language in the world or be able to talk to animals?

Talk to animals. We would learn more. We’d learn more about the universe and how the world works.

What advice would you give your child or grandchild on their wedding day?

I am a Christian and my advice would be to put your faith first. Never go to bed angry and learn to love deep. I would highly recommend that they read The 5 Love Languages. Pick your mate any which way, but love that mate.

Michelle, where can people learn more about what you’re doing and what you’re up to?

I have a podcast. It’s called the First Bite: Fed, Fun, Functional. First Bite is a speech therapy podcast. It’s sponsored by Speech Therapy PD. It is the first podcast in the world, as far as we know, that also counted as continuing education for speech pathologists. We focus on all things interprofessional practice for pediatrics. I interview different physicians, nurses, teachers, and fellow speech pathologists. We cover all the things. They’re paced like this. They’re this busy and this fun. You can follow me on Instagram, @FirstBitePodcast. One of my girlfriends does that. I also have a book that should be out now.

What’s your book about and what’s it called?

It’s called Chasing the Swallow: Truth, Science, and Hope for Pediatric Feeding and Swallowing Disorders.

Who is it written for?

It’s written for SLPs, but I can see other members of the medical community that treats PFD using it. I can see parents using it.

What is PFD?

It’s Pediatric Feeding Disorders. It is funny. I opened with a fabulous true story about the time I ate a flaming wiener at a Portuguese restaurant. It was a sausage.

You hooked them in.

Compare that to what it’s like to have a pediatric feeding and swallowing disorder. I promise as squirrelly as my ADD is, it makes sense. Honestly, if you type in Michelle Dawson, Speech Pathologist, I normally pop up with my gray hair.

Michelle, thanks for coming on board. We appreciate it.

Thank you for having me. I’m so excited. You’re amazing and I have to sweet talk you into coming on First Bite and talking about pediatric anesthesiology. We’ll do a crossover.

We’ll talk about that later.

Important Links:

About Michelle Dawson, MS CCC-SLP, CLC

HCDM 47 | Pediatric Speech Language PathologistMichelle L. W. Dawson, MS CCC-SLP, CLC has had the pleasure of residing in Columbia, SC since 2012.  She completed her BS in Speech Language Pathology from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA in 2005, and her MS in Communicative Sciences and Disorders from James Madison University in 2009. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from both universities.

She started her career in 2006 as an SLPA in a rural public school with an average caseload of 56 students. Upon completion of her MS, she went to work for Riverside Walter Reed Hospital where she was the first full-time SLP in the hospital’s history.  At this location, she advocated for the implementation of an oral care protocol, establishment of ST involvement/treatment of oncology patients with the “Tumor Board”, as well as advocacy for the establishment of MBSS capabilities at the facility.

Michelle is an accomplished lecturer and has written and given numerous ASHA and AOTA approved CEU lectures on such topics as Infantile Spasm and Oropharyngeal Dysphagia, Best Practices for Early Intervention, Chasing the Pediatric Swallow, Down Syndrome and Pediatric Dysphagia, and Best Practices for the Medically Complex Infant, Toddler, and Child, across the nation.

Michelle has several webinars with SpeechTherapyPD.com, all of which are available for CEUs. Michelle also hosts an acclaimed weekly PodCourse First Bite: Fed, Fun, Functional”, (eligible for ASHA and AOTA CEUs), that addresses best practices for the Pediatric Clinician in Early Intervention and Home Health and can be found on all major Podcasting hosts.