Best Wishes to our Practicum Student, Sarah Utter!
The families at Child’s Voice Chicago have had the good fortune of working with Sarah Utter since the beginning of January 2019. Sarah is a graduate speech-language pathology student from Rush University and has been doing her final practicum rotation with us. This experience is not her first one working with children with hearing loss and their families. While earning her bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin, she interned with an education audiologist and her work there included research on resources for families and treatment options for children with hearing loss. In the summer of 2018, Sarah reached out to Child’s Voice as she wanted her graduate work to include hearing loss. We are so happy she did because she has been a wonderful addition to our team. Sarah’s final day with us was April 12, 2019. Prior to her leaving, we asked her a bit about her experience with us:
How did you initially become interested in working with children with hearing loss?
Sarah: When I was in undergrad I had an amazing audiology professor that made me very passionate about the field of Audiology. I almost decided to pursue a degree in Audiology instead of Speech-Language Pathology! Interning for an Educational Audiologist during undergrad provided me with a lot of insight into the field of pediatric audiology and I really enjoyed working with families to find and provide resources to improve the day to day life of children with hearing loss. In most typical Speech-Language Pathology graduate programs there isn’t a lot of specific information or hands on experience in regards to aural rehabilitation or hearing loss, so I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Child’s Voice to gain hands on experience and expand my knowledge in such a specific field!
What were your favorite experiences?
Sarah: I loved leading the Toddler Aural Rehab group at the Chicago location! It was so fun to see the way the kids interacted with the different themes each week as well as how they interacted with each other! My favorite theme was weather where we simulated a rain storm and made weather crafts! I also enjoyed learning how to advocate for the best interest of kids and their families in IFSP and IEP meetings. I of course loved working with Laura, Tatum, and Rollen! They are all so knowledgable and made my experience with Child’s Voice great!
What have you learned from your work with us that you will take with you into your professional life?
Sarah: I gained a lot of valuable knowledge about how to coach families to implement therapy techniques at homes. I also learned that therapy doesn’t have to be all work and no play! Therapy should be engaging and enjoyable for both families and kids. My supervisors are also amazing advocates for kids and families they work with, I plan to continue to focus on the importance of advocacy for the families I work with in the future. I look forward to implementing all of the tips, tricks, and strategies I learned from Child’s Voice in my professional practice!
What area of speech-language pathology do you hope to specialize in?
Sarah: I hope to work in pediatrics! My practicum experiences have allowed me a wide variety of specialties and I have found that I love all aspects of the field. I would love to find a job that allowed me to do a little bit of everything! Some of my other interests in addition to working with kids with hearing loss include working with children with craniofacial anomalies and feeding/swallowing disorders.
Thank you so much, Sarah, for all of your hard work! We wish you all the best as you start your career!