You are a speech-language pathologist for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Tell us more about what you do?
As a speech pathologist in an educational setting, I work with kids to improve their communication so that their speech or language problems do not interfere with their learning. This means something different to each child depending on their needs. I spend a lot of my day consulting with parents, teachers or specialists on how to best meet the needs of students.
You have found a great balance, working 3 days per week stills gives a lot of time with your kids, how did you score this great situation?
I was very fortunate to have supportive bosses. I think it really helped to present a solution and a plan of how part-time was going to work instead of just asking for part time. It also helps for me to show that I’m willing to be flexible in my arrangement to get all of my work done. Speech-language pathology is a great “mom job” because of it’s flexibility.
Most Mom’s find it difficult or cost prohibitive to work part-time and pay for daycare, tell us how your situation has worked out for you?
It is tough, sometimes I feel like I wear too many hats, but I love what I do and I really value my time with my colleagues. To make part-time work financially viable, we’ve been creative with childcare. I live by the “it takes a village” philosophy and through pre-school, an awesome sitter and amazing friends and family, it works! My husband jokes that you need a PhD. in logistics to know where our children are each day!
How should parents who think their children need speech therapy find someone like you?
That’s a tough one to answer in a few words. Start with talking with your pediatrician or your child’s preschool teacher if you think there is a problem. They can get you started in the process. There are some fabulous clinics in the area, and there are also avenues in which speech-language pathologists from local schools may provide speech to children older than age three .
Can you give us the top three things parents should look for when it comes to speech development?
It’s important to remember that speech development takes a long time, like language development. There are certain sounds , like /r/ /th/ and /s/ that may not emerge until early elementary school age. Also, many 3-year olds go through a phase of stuttering. That being said, if unfamiliar listeners cannot understand at least half of what your 3 year-old child says, you may want to think about a speech evaluation. If your child seems frustrated or withdrawn because of speech, that’s another indication to get her checked. Other red flags are 2-year-olds who are not putting two words together, or a one year old child who isn’t making many sounds or babbles.
At what age should speech concerns be addresses?
If you have concerns, address them right away. A speech-language pathologist can tell you if the concern is developmental and likely to correct on its own, or if therapy is warranted. The earlier, the better!
You have two adorable children, tell us the funniest thing either one has ever said?
My son is hysterical. We are constantly telling Liam stories and I can tell Clara is right behind him. Liam is very sensitive to loud or unexpected noises, so any cheering throws him off. Before any celebratory event e.g. birthdays, ball games, his sister learning to walk, successful potty training…he will say “don’t clap don’t wooo”. He’s been doing this for years, it started with no clap no woo! It has become a big part of our family vocabulary. “don’t clap don’t woo!”
What is your favorite activity to do with your kids?
Snuggle on the couch and read stories or play outside.
What is your favorite activity to do – mommy only?
On a healthy day run…that baby jogger is too heavy for me so the kiddos aren’t invited. Plus, it’s a great time to tune out or run with a buddy and catch up!
On a not so healthy day, meet my girlfriends for wine and doughnuts at The Wine Shop at Foxcroft.
Favorite restaurant with kids?
Favorite restaurant without kids?
La Paz, with more margaritas! Trying new, locally owned restaurants is our favorite date night thing to do, so we go to lots of different ones.
A few weeks ago, on one of the first pretty Saturdays, we went up to Ray Len Vineyards, a winery about an hour away just off I 40. The kids napped in the car on our way up and we packed lots of fun snacks and outside toys. We put a big blanket on the grounds of the vineyards, had a glass of wine and played ball, bubbles etc. with our kids for a couple of hours! Several other families were there and we all shared snacks and toys and made some new friends! Liam has begged to go back to “that wine place”.
Tell us what you couldn’t live without?
family, my girlfriends, red wine, and my iphone—not necessarily in that order!
Best things about raising your kids in Charlotte?
Matt and I are in the rare minority of native Charlotteans . We were high school sweethearts and both of our families are here. Not just parents, but uncles, aunts, cousins and grandmothers too! Having so much family around has been a real blessing and added a richness to our children’s lives. We also have a supportive group of friends and a church family that both act as extended families to our kids. They have so many opportunities to interact with a diverse groups and ages of people in all sorts of activities. Like I said, I believe in the Village and Charlotte has provided us with a great community.
Thank you Martha for sharing a bit of your life with us.
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