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An elementary school boy sits in front of a computer in his special education school while holding up a page of autographs.



Meet Kelly: Speech Language Pathologist

Meet Kelly: Speech Language Pathologist

March 1 was Employee Appreciation Day! We’re celebrating our team members all month long by sharing their stories. Read more about Kelly Martin, Speech Language Pathologist, and how she helps students find their voice at our Selinsgrove campus!

What is your favorite thing about working here? 

Making connections with the students. I love helping students with limited communication abilities connect with me and with others.

What keeps you coming to work each day?

What keeps me coming back to work is seeing the students make progress.

How do you make an impact on students' lives? 

As a Speech Therapist, it is important for me to help them make their ideas known. A big part of that is helping the teachers and behavioral support staff understand what their communication strengths and challenges are, and how that might affect them in the classroom, both academically and behaviorally. 

Last year, we rolled out our BetterTogether guiding principles. Which one of our values resonates with you most personally and why? (Integrity, Accountable, Collaborative, Inclusive, Supportive) 

For me, it is definitely Integrity. I recognize the importance of my position as the Speech Therapist. It is my job to give these students a voice, which I think is the most important thing anyone can have in life. Whether using natural speech or an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device, I have to support giving them a voice every day. For me, that is integrity; knowing what my role is and working toward it every day.

What does a “day in the life” look like for your role? 

I have an awesome office to myself. I see up to 12 students in a day, usually for half hour sessions. I usually have one-on-one services working with them all day long during school hours. Before school, after school, and anytime I have a break, I write my daily notes, Individualized Education Plans (IEP), and Reevaluation Reports (RR). Throughout the day, I check in with teachers, updating their communication devices with vocabulary content and sometimes I even jump in during crisis intervention.

Can you talk a little bit about your career trajectory and what led you to where you are now? 

I pursued my undergraduate degree in Psychology. After I graduated, I was a program coordinator for a group home for adults with severe psychiatric illnesses. To make a little extra money, I answered an ad for a home Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapist for a preschool child. I got to know the child’s speech therapist who worked in a private practice. After working with her for several years, she convinced me to go to grad school. I went to New York Medical College and became a Speech Language Pathologist. Once I got my graduate degree, I worked in the same private practice for about 10 years in Connecticut before moving back to Pennsylvania to be closer to my family. Once I arrived, I worked in a nursing home for a couple of years and then found my way into New Story Schools.

What has been your proudest moment or accomplishment in your role?

I worked very hard to make sure that any new student who is non-speaking has an AAC device on their desk on day one. This is for the teachers to model with until I can start working with the student and find out what their specific needs are. I am very thankful that I have supportive leadership, teachers, and clinical and behavioral staff here at the Selinsgrove location that helped make this happen.

What is something about you that not many people know? 

In my spare time, I love to photograph wildlife and I volunteer for Wildlife In Need PA, which rescues injured and orphaned wildlife. We help anything from bald eagles to porcupines, foxes, and even mice. I am certified through the Pennsylvania Game Commission to capture and transport wildlife to rehab facilities.

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