Friday, June 21, 2024

86: Language Impairment and the Path to Victory

Language Impairment and Speech Delays in Children
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Language Impairment and Speech Delays in Children

Show Notes:

🎙️ Dive into a captivating interview with Katie Selby, known as the “Girl Who Was Not College Material,” as she shares her triumphant journey through language impairment. This episode explores the challenges and victories associated with language development in children, offering valuable insights into speech delay in toddlers. Join us in navigating the world of parenting a non-verbal child and discovering the importance of early intervention for speech issues.

Katie’s story unveils the realities of parenting a child with language difficulties, providing a roadmap for supporting non-verbal preschoolers. Learn effective strategies for communicating with non-verbal children and witness the transformative power of speech therapy success. The conversation delves into the nuances of raising a child with language impairment, celebrating the unique communication paths these children embark on.

Explore the interview to gain a profound understanding of speech disorders in children and the impact of early language intervention. Discover the keys to building confidence in non-verbal kids and unlocking their untapped potential. This discussion is a beacon of hope for parents navigating the complexities of speech-delayed children, emphasizing the importance of celebrating each child’s unique communication journey.

📣 Connect with Katie:

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Music Used:

“LazyDay” by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Artist: http://audionautix.com/

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Katie Selby is a remarkable individual who has triumphed over adversity. Diagnosed with a language impairment at age three and a learning disability at five, Katie faced discouragement from educators who doubted her college potential. Undeterred, she pursued higher education and became a fierce advocate for her own educational needs.

With a college degree in hand, Katie embarked on a career as a para-educator, working tirelessly to support students with disabilities in school and home settings. Her dedication to helping these students achieve independence is truly inspiring.

Katie’s unique social circle consists of friends who, like her, have experienced life with disabilities. She’s actively shared her story through blog articles and social media, and is in the process of writing a book about her life. Katie’s journey is a testament to determination and serves as a beacon of hope for others facing similar challenges. She aspires to continue motivational speaking and making a difference in the lives of those with disabilities.


Episode #86: Language Impairment and the Path to Victory

Language Impairment and Speech Delays in Children

(Recorded October 18, 2023)

Full Transcript of Interview:

Ep 86 audio draft

Tonya: Well, Katie, welcome to Water Prairie.

Katie: Thank you for having me.

Today we’re going to be talking about a topic that we haven’t brought to the podcast before, and that is about some language issues. And we have talked about language before, and you may recall some of those, but today’s a little bit different.

So, so stay with us and, um, you’ll be interested to hear Katie’s full story as we, uh, uh, Um, unravel that a little bit, but if you are new to the podcast, you don’t know this yet, but if you have been listening, you’ll know that we’ve been playing a game with each of our guests this season, and it’s the game of two truths and a lie.

And I’ve asked Katie if she’d be willing to play, and she has agreed to bring some facts or pseudo facts, as you might want to say, to share with us. And your job as a listener is to decide which of the three that she’s going to tell you about. are actually a lie. And, um, and you can post, if you’re watching this on YouTube, you can post in the comments what your answer would be.

If you are listening to it on the audio or reading on the website, even you can go to Instagram or to Twitter and find the posts that match this release and leave your, your comments there. And a week after we release this, we’ll come back and give you the correct answer. So you can check and see if you’re right or not.

So Katie, what are your facts that you want to share with us?

I would like to share that I had a meet and greet with Taylor Swift. My family had a garden shop named after me called Katie’s Garden Shop, and my husband and I went on a honeymoon to Canada.

All right. So we have some interesting facts here.

They don’t even have anything to do with each other, which makes it even more interesting, I think. So, um, so I’m going to be curious to see what the, which one is the lie. Um, listeners don’t leave the platform, listen to the full interview and then go and leave yours. But if you’re watching on YouTube, you can, you can type this in while you’re listening.

Well, today, like I said, we’re going to be talking about a topic that deals with language and Katie reached out and had an interesting story and I thought that you as listeners might. Enjoy hearing her story because it’s a little bit different, but it may be something that you know about or you may know someone else who is, is working with a child who is in the same situation.

So that would be a value for all of us to hear this. So, um, language impairment is how you described it to me, Katie. Can you tell us what a language impairment is?

A language impairment is where a Like when I was growing up, I had, um, a difficult time coming up and finding the right words to communicate with, with people.

So were you able to, um, like, did you go through the babbling stage as an infant and start saying like mama and dada and during those typical times or was that later for you?

That was much, much later for me. I was diagnosed with a language impairment at the age of three. And Okay. When I was three years old, I was nonverbal and I only showed communication with My body language, I would jump up and down when I was excited and when I was frustrated, I would lunge to the ground, almost hitting my head on on concrete and that would happen at a lot of places in the community.

Wow. So, I, I’ve been looking a little bit into this since you and I first communicated with each other. And, um, I noticed when I was looking through that there is today, and I know a lot of parents are listening. A lot of you are going through diagnosis times right now and you may see terminology that is changing.

And so in some of our diagnoses, terminology does change over the years. Um, but Katie, one thing that I came across, I thought I wanted to ask you about, um, developmental language disorder. Today, that is. a diagnosis. Do you think that would have been the category for you if you were being diagnosed today?

Probably, yes. Okay, so parents if you’re listening and you’re not hearing the same words here, if you’re hearing developmental language disorder, and Katie you can correct me if I’m wrong, I think that might also be specific language impairment, a language delay, or developmental dysphagia. Is that the right word?

I think so. Would all those be in that same category do you think? I think so. I think they would. Yeah, so it’s, um, so like, um, our autistic diagnoses that are coming in, sometimes you’ll hear, um, depending on when you’re diagnosed, different words are being used, um, to describe the same thing. So, so parents, if you’ve heard any of these or you’re looking into this, um, tune in because, because you’re going to be hearing some more that, that, that should, should help you a little bit to understand more of, of Some ideas of how, how to communicate with your child or to help your child be able to communicate with you too.

Another question I had for you too, Katie, was back at the beginning of this season, this is our second season on the podcast. So back in January, February of, of this year, we spoke with Lenora Edwards about the differences between analytic and gestalt language processors. And when I was looking into what you were talking about, you weren’t speaking at all until three, is that correct?

Or, or you still weren’t speaking at three?

I still wasn’t speaking at three. And when I was four years old, I would speak in six to seven word. Utterances, and then I fully communicated at five years of age and said my first full sentence. And to this day, I wish I knew what that first full sentence was.

I’m sure.

Me too.

Are you familiar with the difference between analytic and gestalt language processors?

No, I’m, I am not.

Okay, so an analytic, and this is what I’ve taken from Lenore and some of the reading that I’ve done, an analytic processor, um, I, I was one of those. As a, as a young infant, I would babble.

I made different sounds, just kind of playing with sounds. And then I started making some, some little short sounds that related to an object or an action and started learning those. Then those became words, and so for a while you say one word that means something like go or, or hungry even, things like that.

Um, and then you may have a two word and then a three word sentence that are slowly building up. So you’re building from those sounds into words, into phrases, into sentences. A Gestalt language processor is listening and they’re seeing. The, the full package. So they’re hearing phrases, they’re hearing sentences, and they’re taking it all in, and they’re seeing the behavior that goes with it, and they’re understanding that this phrase goes with this.

This phrase goes with this. And it’s not the same, but I kind of equate it to when I’ve tried to earn, to learn a foreign language. And I’ve been in other countries. I kind of see what they’re doing and what they’re saying. I may not know what the words mean, but I know that every time they do this, they say this, so this must mean something with the situation.

And then I just kind of echo what I heard because it fit the situation. And our children sometimes that are Gestalt language processors, they’ll go into that. And I know I always say it wrong, echolalia.

Echolalia.

And so that’s, that’s part of that process where they go from hearing it and repeating it to, to into that echo time.

And then they slowly take that big package and they break it down and they eventually get to the point where they also understand all the words and the sentences and the grammar and all. But they, they come from like the big piece down to the small pieces where the analytics starts with a small piece and builds it up to the bigger one.

And so I wondered, especially when you said that, that you were saying like six, six, six word phrases, um, were you, were you echoing those or were you repeating them? Do you, do you know?

I don’t even, I don’t even, don’t even know.

I mean, you, you, you weren’t old enough to remember it yourself. I don’t know if anyone had ever mentioned it to you, but it did maybe made me wonder, you know, maybe you were a gestalt language processor and you were just absorbing all that stuff during those years.

And then it, then it, because, because obviously today. It has not made a difference in who you are as an adult. I mean, it has because it’s affected who you are, but you’re able to communicate with me here. This, this isn’t a problem with, with this. Um, so, so parents are listening. I may have just totally confused everyone, but, but I was curious how all this, because I find it just fascinating how it all kind of ties together.

And each of these little beings that are coming into the world, they come with their own little wiring of how they’re going to, to navigate the world. And, um, and it’s interesting to me that You know, with, with help and support, they, they can get there and they can, they can be independent adults who are out there in the world making a difference.

But as, as parents, sometimes it gets a little frustrating because you don’t know how to help them get there. And um, and that’s part of this interview too, listeners, because Katie’s work, you’re going to hear a little bit more about what she’s doing now. She’s actually making a difference in those kids now.

Um, but let’s, let’s go back. So, you found out first, or your parents found out, that you had a language impairment by the time you were three. Is that right? Am I following that right? Yes. So were they buying you toys with sounds when you were two? Like, like, so, so, so many parents seem to do if they aren’t talking by the time they’re two.

No.

I always, I always laugh because I, I hear of well meaning grandparents giving at Christmas. If they’re not talking by the time 18 to 24 months that they, they need all of these noisy toys so that they, they can hear language all the time. So as you were getting older, were you diagnosed with any other disabilities or impairments?

Yes. At the age of five years old, I was diagnosed with learning disabilities in written expression, math, and reading comprehension.

So was that dysgraphia or dyscalculia or was it a different type of?

Um, they, they just called it, um, what, like written expression, um, math and reading comprehension. They didn’t call it label anything.

Yeah. I don’t think it always needs a name that’s in there. You kind of, so some, I think with those, like it does help. For students who have those specific diagnosis, I think it helps because the way that the brain is twisting things around sometimes it may help knowing how to attack it. But, um, but you’re right.

It really doesn’t, doesn’t make a big difference there. How did you learn? Writing, reading, I mean, your basic skills in school were all being affected by this.

Mm hmm. It was, it was challenging. I, um, had lots of support with the special education system growing up.

Did you, um. Now, you’re, you’re younger than I am, so I don’t know what, what your schooling was like.

So I’m going to just ask, were you in a mainstream class or were you, were you pulled out for services or were you in a, uh, a special ed class only?

Well, when I was three years old, I was in a language. preschool classroom setting. And then when I got to kindergarten, I was in a self contained class with nine to 10 students and pulled out for, um, other services.

Such as OT and resource and speech. And then when I was in first grade, they realized that I had some potential. So they went ahead and had me mainstreamed for a little bit of. My time in first grade, and then I was fully mainstreamed when I was in second grade and was pulled out for related services.

Okay. Yeah. So my, my children and those are listening, you’ve, you’ve, you’ve heard me talk about the kids through, through different interviews. Um, they always had, um, Push in services for theirs. Um, little, little different. My daughter is visually impaired, so her teachers would come in to her. She would be pulled out at times for different instruction, but she had the support in the classroom and then my son as well.

He was pulled out at times in those in those elementary years and then as he got older, um, it would just be as he needed. He might have a couple of days a week where he was pulled out, but he was mainly in the classroom and able to keep going. Um, so parents, every school system is going to be different.

Every school is going to be different in how they address that for your child. And, um, and we’ve talked about IEPs before and 504 plans and all. You just want to be listening to, um, to what the school has and how they’re, how they’re there to support. And so it may not always look the same, even from year to year.

But, um, but the main thing is that your child is getting that, that, that support that they need so they can continue moving forward. Um, So Katie, one of the things that, that stood out for me, and we’re going to talk about this whenever we, we talk about your contact information later, but one of your, um, social media accounts is called Girl Not College Material.

Can you tell me a specific experience or memory, um, about when you were told that you weren’t college material because of the language?

Sure. Um, I was told. In high school when I was transitioning and figuring out what I wanted to do after I graduated. Um, I had a. Guidance counselor tell me that maybe I should just get a job as a childcare worker and not try going to college.

And then I’ve also had many people in my, in my life going through college tell me the same thing.

We had another guest on who had the same situation and she actually is working in the same field as you now. Um, and I, I, I love hearing the stories because I want our parents to hear that you, you don’t have to accept no.

You know, it’s, and in your case. How, how, how early did you know that, that you wanted to be a teacher?

Oh, I’ve known I was, I knew I wanted to be a teacher or something like a teacher, like a para educator. Um, when I, when I was growing up.

So you, you had the passion to, to, to not necessarily let them squash that for you.

Um, but you had some challenges cause you were, I’m assuming that you were working with some form of special education all the way through school. Yes. All the way through school. Did you have any teachers who were really supportive and encouraging of you?

Yes. I did have some teachers in high school who were really supportive and encouraging of me.

My, Um, special education teacher and when I was in high school, um, I took a class within the class, meaning I had a special education teacher and a general education teacher in the class at the same time and the special education teacher would support the people with disabilities in that class. I would always go to her to ask for support and questions. Well, one day she told me to ask my teacher the questions and she pulled me out of my shell and, um, got me to self advocate and I wouldn’t be where I’m at today without her and without my other high school.

I, I love hearing that because so many times we, we hear the stories of the negative and, and my, my own children have had enough, enough negative there.

And we remember those negative things you, you’ve named your account because of that negative statement, but, but you’ve also named it because you proved them wrong, which was even better.

Yes.

I love it whenever we could remember the positives that were there to, to, to help us get, get through it as well.

Um, so you had the teachers that were there. What were some of the other, um, strategies and resources that helped you overcome your language impairment? Well, especially when you got out of high school and into higher education, what were some of those strategies and resources that were there for you?

I, um, utilized the Access Office Counselor at the, at the community college I went to, and then.

and, Um, I as well utilized my teachers and professor or professors at Maryville University. When I started at Maryville University, I went ahead and, um, used their disability services office and then realized after that year, like I can probably get more support from my teachers instead.

Did you, did you stay connected with the disability resource office?

Yes. Um, I stay connected with the disability office at the community college, yes, but not as much in, um, at Maryville.

The reason I ask that is because both of my kids are in college right now and they both work with their disability services office, but they, they have to work with all their teachers specifically because that’s who’s implementing any of the accommodations that they have.

But they do have accommodations for extended time for separate setting and all. And if they didn’t have the accommodation form at each of their colleges, their teachers couldn’t give them those accommodations. So did you not have to, like, were your teachers able to give you what you needed without you having to have the official document from disability services?

Well, at the beginning, when I was at Merrimack Community College in St. Louis, I utilized the ACCESS office and took tests and stuff out of class, especially math and, um, other classes that were more challenging than the classes I took at Maryville University because the classes I took at Maryville University were in my field and I, and I just felt more comfortable with, with those classes and just stayed and did the tests and, and everything in class if there were tests.

Okay. So, yeah, because, because if you didn’t need to use extended time or separate setting, then, then you’re right. They’re really, you, you, you probably could just work things out with your instructors and you could always have gone back if you had an instructor who would, would not work with you with that.

Um, yeah, I hadn’t, I hadn’t thought about that cause, cause both of mine, they, they do have some specific. Um, situations where they need that and it makes it easier for them being able to talk to their teachers if they’ve already had the document come through ahead of time. Now how it’s implemented is different from teacher to teacher because, but they, but they, they know at least that they have permission to, to make those adjustments if they need to.

So I, I, and I’m just curious on this one because just because my kids are in college right now, did you get an associate’s degree first when you were at the community college before you went to, to your four year college?

Yes, I went ahead and got an associate’s degree in early childhood education. And then after that, I knew I wasn’t done.

So then I took the more class, harder classes that I needed to transfer to Maryville University.

Would you recommend students who are facing learning challenges to take the community college route before a four-year college?

Yes. Yes, I would do that, um, just a smaller setting and, and, um, and I was able to take like nine credit hours instead of the full 12.

Oh, nice.

Mm. Yes.

When, when you got to the four-year college, did you, did you keep taking nine credits or did you move up to 12 at that point?

I moved up to 12 at that point because there were more classes in, in my field. The first year I went to Maryville, I took a. anatomy and physiology class and a psychology class and just focused on that because science has always been difficult for me. And then after that semester, I then took the full. for credit, the full load with my other classes.

The gen ed are the hardest, I think, because they’re not always in your interest area. So there, you know, and whether it’s math or science or language or the language and reading, everyone has one subject that’s just hard for them.

And so, so I, I do agree the smaller class size community colleges, your professors are more likely to be there to want to see you succeed. And so they’re, they’re, they’re usually willing to invest time. Um, and so I, and I’ve, I’ve seen that benefit as well, um, with my own kids and they even started in high school cause they were able to do the dual enrollment and start taking a class at a time with it to kind of ease into that, that package before they went on.

Another thing I wanted to ask you about, because, because my audience is primarily parents, we do have, um, educators and. professionals who listen. Um, and we have grandparents and siblings and neighbors who listen as well, but the parents are who, who we’re usually talking to. Thinking of a young parent who has a child, maybe, maybe they’re a three-year-old or maybe they’re in elementary school now and they’re facing a language impairment.

What advice would you give that parent who has children in that stage right now?

I would use visuals and, um, try and help. them communicate with visuals. I did not have that growing up. My parents and teachers purposely ignored my pointing and gestures to try to get me to communicate and that didn’t go smoothly.

Are you thinking like an AAC device or or what type?

Probably an AAC device or just even Text pictures that show symbols and visuals for the students.

And I know they have, um, even for like an iPad, um, like a, um, digital AAC device where your iPad can become that. So we’re not talking about having to buy another piece of equipment.

Right.

We have that equipment already. What about sign language? Did they ever try that with you?

No, no, they never, they did not try that with me. They tried that with my husband, not with me.

So my, um, my daughter did better with sign language as, as a baby than my son did, but it helped. Now, of course she was my first, so I could focus just on her, but at the time, my son got here, there were two of them.

Now I was a little bit busier, but, um, but with her in those early years when no child has language yet, but they have. Um, it did help her communicate with us, and it was just simple little signs that she knew, but it cut down a lot of the frustration that she might’ve had. And I’m thinking, three years old, you knew what you wanted to say.

You, you had things you were trying to communicate and you were trying to find a way to do it. It sounds like.

Yes.

So, um, so yeah, so I, I would think whether it’s an AAC device or I I’ve seen, you know, just flashcards where, but to me that would get hard to keep up with if you just had a box of pictures, they’d be in there forever trying to find, find what they’re trying to say.

Yes.

I think that’s an excellent idea using the communication devices. Are there other ways that parents can help their children build self-confidence when they’re facing adversity? So maybe, maybe not just language impairment, but, but any child who’s, who’s in the special needs or disability community, ways that parents might be able to help build their self, self-confidence.

Possibly by teaching them self-advocacy skills at a young age, because I did not learn self-advocacy skills until I was a junior in high school.

Wow. Yeah.

I didn’t have the, none of the teachers really were that supportive on teaching me those skills because I was a shy and quiet kid in class and, um, I don’t think they knew exactly how to teach me those skills.

Um, and just going that route and showing the students that, Hey, you’re your own person. You can, um, speak up and, and tell your teachers and peers what, what you need, what will help you.

Um, I, I agree with that. We, with our, with our children, we even helped them, um, starting around middle school and composing emails to their teachers so that it would come from them and then we would We would help them fix it so that it said what they wanted, but they learned that you could communicate in different ways.

So if they didn’t want to say something in front of the class or if they didn’t want to say something because they were gonna Be late to get to the next class and if they stayed after class to do that It gave them a way to open the door and they always had teachers who would who would correspond with them that way So it made it easier.

We always tagged because they were so young, we would have them tag our account. So the teacher knew that we were part of that conversation. Um, but it taught them what they’re using now in college because now they can text or, or email their professors, um, and either set up an appointment, you know, if they can stay after class or if they can come in a few minutes early, if there’s something that they need to, to go over with them, or if they, if they’re missing something like where they, they didn’t quite catch it in class and they, they just need that support.

Um, and parents, I think that’s, that’s great advice because starting as young as you can. Helping them learn to address what their needs are and to explain why, why it’s a need. Where they’re not coming in and saying, you know, I demand this that isn’t what we’re saying. No, we’re saying You you you you want to have a team effort?

Where where the teacher that they’re talking to is or it may not be a teacher It could be a coach. It could be someone in their church Sunday school or something anywhere that they’re working with other adults where they can Can just simply matter of factly state what it is That, that they need, and then it’s not a big deal.

It’s easy for someone else to help them if they know what it is. Um, and even being able to explain to their friends. Uh, my daughter was telling me she’s, you know, she’s um, almost out of school now. But she was saying that she still has to go through that, um, when she meets new friends. because they don’t understand that she doesn’t drive.

And so, you know, so she can’t just go meet them for a cup of coffee somewhere. It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s a little bit more than that. And, um, and so, you know, so she still kind of goes through that texting them and having to just kind of find the easiest way to explain it without having to go into great detail of what’s going on.

So we talked a little bit about the parents, um, for the kids, especially kids who are already in maybe those upper elementary years and, and beyond. Um, what advice would you give to the kids themselves who have any type of special needs but want to pursue their dreams, even if they might face some setbacks?

So in, in, in your case, you, you knew what that dream was. You weren’t encouraged by everyone, but you did have some encouragement coming through there as well. What advice would you give them as far as do they continue pursuing? I know the answer isn’t to give up, but, but do they give up?

I would, um, continue pursuing and if you feel that college isn’t right for you, or if you don’t want to take that path, you could always try it and just, and then get a job.

Um, working in somewhat of a similar field.

We were just talking about that with my daughter, um, with a friend of hers that she was trying to think of a way to encourage them to, to maybe to get a part time job in that area and start learning as they’re taking some classes at community college. So that was, that was her advice to them to, to just kind of be able to observe it a little bit.

Um, you know, and maybe even if you could get in and interview someone in that area. and find out what there, there may be a job out there you don’t even know about that’s still related to that first one. Um, so yeah, it’s a great, great, great advice there. Our listeners may want to, to follow up with you or to follow what you’re doing.

What’s the best way for them to get in touch with you if they want to, if they have any questions for you, if they just want to check in on what you’re doing.

I am on Facebook and my Um, Facebook page is called “Girl Who Was Not College Material.” And then I’m also on Instagram as “College Material Girl.”

I like, I like the Instagram one better.

And then you have some projects coming up that, that you’re working on right now. You want to tell us about those?

Yes. I am working on building a website and I am also working on writing a book about my life story. Um, I looked into writing a book about my life story. During the pandemic, um, I read a book called Stutter Interrupted by Nina G and I read her story and hers kind of was a little similar with mine.

And I was like, if she could write a book about her life story, I could. And I’m also writing it because there’s not too many memoirs about people who live with a language impairment and learning disabilities. They’re more like research based books.

Yep. No, I agree. Yeah. So, um, any idea when you think the book might be coming out?

I am pretty hopeful it’ll come out in the next couple of years. Um, at this point I have two dachshunds and they’re a little distracting, so I have to leave my house to go do some writing.

Well and you have a husband and you have a job and you’re doing public speaking. You have a few things on your plate.

Right.

Well, we’ll have to, we’ll have to stay, stay in touch and find out when that, when that comes out.

Listeners keep in touch with her with Instagram and Facebook cause I’m sure she’ll be posting there as the website comes out and as the book comes out. And um, you also had some handouts that, that you had mentioned too.

Yes. Yes. Um, I. As I was setting up my presentations that I’ve spoken at, um, I have like, um, handouts that help children with disabilities learn to be their own self advocate.

I’ve broken it down from preschool all the way through college and through Employment. And I also have self management sheets as well to where the students in elementary school, middle school and high school can look at those sheets to see where they feel they’re at as being their own self advocate.

Excellent. Excellent. Those are great resources. So if our listeners want to get a copy of that, should they DM you on Instagram? How should they reach out to you?

They can, um, send me a direct message on Instagram. And I also have a, an email address that is going to be connected with my, um, website, which is katie.selby11[@]gmail.com.

I’ll put that in the show notes as well so that listeners can connect with that. Well, Katie, thank you for sharing this with us today. I’ve, I’ve learned some from this and, um, and I’m encouraged by it too, because I love hearing how someone comes out of adversity, but in your case, that was a pretty strong discouragement that you had, but I love what you did with that and, um, and not only going on and pursuing your dreams, getting that full four year education and working as a para educator.

Just as you had always dreamed of doing, but, um, but keeping that reminder there through the names on your accounts, which I think is great.

Yes.

So thank you. Thank you very much for, for joining me today.

Thank you for having me.

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Tonya Wollum

Tonya

Tonya Wollum is a disability advocate and host of the Water Prairie Chronicles podcast which connects special needs parents with resources to help them navigate parenting a child with a disability. She is the mother of 2 college-age children who have each grown up with a disability. That experience, along with a background in education, led her to create the Water Prairie Chronicles to help share what she has learned with parents of younger children to help them know how to advocate for their children.

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