When Speech Language Pathologist Crystal Scott was just a child, she had a stutter so severe it prevented her from “fully fitting into society,” as she puts it.
In fact, it wasn’t until she was 17 and a freshman at the University of Central Arkansas, when she was referred to a Speech Therapy Clinic, that she first felt equipped to conquer her speech disorder. It was in that moment she realized her life’s mission was to help others like herself. She changed her major to Speech Therapy and began on her professional journey that would lead her from an Arkansas school district office to Our Children’s House Waxahachie more than a decade later.
Crystal is one of several dedicated speech language pathologists at Children’s Health℠ who work with patients with a variety of speech and swallowing disorders, ranging from autism or hearing impairments to feeding disorders or language delays. She works in cooperation with a team of physical and occupational therapists and says that given the wide range of challenges her patients may be working through, her days are never boring.
“I may have a new patient working towards different goals every 30 to 60 minutes,” she says. “We have to stay on top of our game, which means staying up on the latest research and always learning to provide our patients with the best tools they need to be successful.”
Crystal views language as the “building block” from which we all learn, whether it be speaking, reading or comprehending words. And though research suggests language skills are innate in many individuals, for others, it may require team members like her and her colleagues to help patients develop those skills over time - or identify creative ways for a child to adapt to their unique situation, such as using sign language, picture boards or a voice output device.
“I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure our patients are successful,” she says.
Her own experiences fuel her passion for her patients, and she views her role at Children’s Health as her ministry, not “just a job.” She says the best part of working at Children’s Health is having a front row seat to watching a patient make progress or accomplish something new.
“When I see a patient able to better communicate or eat or meet a goal that they and their family have set for them, it is the best part of my day,” says Crystal. “I love the community I work in, I love my team and I love my patients.”
It’s safe to say that Children’s Health loves her too!