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  • Writer's pictureKristin Chmela, M.A., CCC-SLP BCS-F

Letter from Michael's Mom, Klaudia

Updated: Feb 4, 2021

It’s difficult to use simple words to explain someone extraordinary. In a disposable, cookie cutter society that moves at the speed of light, a family’s search for the right place for their child can be a long, emotional and frustrating one. Each child is complex and unique, and in some areas of today’s medical community, the care for these unique children has been reduced to a generic system of rules and not an individualized care plan.

Our Michael is now almost 11, and after countless therapies for the first 5 years of his life for developmental delays, he began to stutter. It was one of those moments in time when a parents arms go involuntarily up in the air. For 3 years, we continued with pediatric therapy for speech and occasionally sat in on what seemed to be an ineffective approach, focusing on the simple task of forming words. Although each of the therapists we were fortunate enough to work with were kind and caring, the therapies themselves proved ineffective and focused on only one aspect of the disorder.

And then came Kristin. Hearing her name mentioned several times from the kind therapists working with Michael, about 3 years ago, we made the change. From the very first phone call to present day, we knew we were in the right place. During our first visit with Kristin after she had met Michael, we asked the same question we had been asking all the therapists prior…what do you think you’re going to work on with him? Her answer, and to date my favorite answer by far, was ‘I don’t know’. It may seem an odd favorite, considering her expertise. But we quickly came to realize that she, for the first time in Michael’s care, was going to need the necessary time to consider all the contributing factors to Michael’s stuttering. She wanted to make sure that everything, from his emotional to neurological needs, was factored in to his care. Over the years, his care continues to change, as he does, almost with the seasons. She takes the time to educate and involve the family as a whole, and always compassionately address any changes or regressions that naturally occur.

I know now from spending this time with her, she doesn’t provide speech therapy. She incorporates speech therapy into the time she spends with each of ‘her’ families, while she genuinely, with her whole heart, nurtures and helps to shape these children’s futures. The foundation for her approach is to have each family and child come away knowing they are leaders, with amazing gifts to offer others, and give them the tools they need to grow into adults with a solid foundation of self- esteem and worth. Her tireless efforts to continually educate herself on the changing and current research behind speech and fluency disorders helps her treat each of her families with the individualized approach each of them needs and deserves. Her time to collaborate with those in her field gives her a unique and broad understanding of all the aspects of the children she works with. Our Michael always looks forward to his time with her and actually makes sure he has things to show her each week, as she takes the time to celebrate his successes like a parent would.

Last summer, we attended Camp Shout Out. It was an experience that Michael will not soon forget and we plan on attending every year. He came away from that camp with more independence and understanding of himself, and the knowledge that there are peers and adults who understand him as well. Kristin and her team are truly raising leaders.



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