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Bert's Story

Bert speaks about her life journey and how not everything went as she planned. She talks about her adventures with her husband and kids and how she found her way to her career as a Speech Language Pathologist and how that career changed her view on life.

Bert's Story
00:00 / 03:33

It seems to me that lots of people have kind of a plan in their life of what they would like to do, and they set about doing it. I never had such a plan. I was kind of a vague wanderer among libraries and was really interested in English literature and English history and studied for a bit in England for a little while and I didn’t have a glamour of what I wanted to do with my life. It seemed like it would be good to be useful, but I didn’t have much other plan than that. I got married shortly after college and we had a child and then because I had been an only child pretty much in my life, I thought we don’t want this child to be all alone we should have another one pretty soon. And it turned out that that one turned out to be twins. And suddenly wooo, I had three babies, they were less than two years of age, and I was supposed to figure out what to do with them and I had to stop wandering around wondering what book I was gonna read next. So, it was a pretty hectic and transformative time for me. I had to think of myself as a very different person, responsible for these three little babies and then three wild little boys and I started to sort of become somewhat more assertive I think. I had never been before. After being at home for quite some time with them I thought I really gotta get out of here a little bit and I saw a notice that Children’s Hospital School for Kids with Hearing Loss was looking for some volunteers and I thought well I could probably do that. And I arranged for a baysitter and went down and helped out mainly in an art class with kids with severe hearing losses and they were very interesting. But the director of the program kept saying you gotta go to graduate school. And so after a year of so of prompting I did start a graduate program in speech language at Catholic University. A friend from graduate school who was a little bit ahead of me called and said Bert I’m working at this great school you’ve gotta come and work here with me. It’s a school for preschool children, very young children, with a variety of pretty serious physical and neurological problems and they need another therapist. Okay, here I am. It turned out to be wonderful. The schools had a wonderful transdisciplinary approach so that instead of passing kids around from therapist to therapist or teacher to teacher or whatever, we were in teams. The parents, teachers, physical therapists, the occupational therapist, speech language therapist, we were in a team and we all had to understand what everybody else’s goals were for this child so that anytime you interacted with them whether you were changing a diaper or you were helping somebody have lunch, or you were playing together all of those goals had to be integrated. It was an incredible learning experience and it taught me way more than any course ever could ever have taught me. I never imagined so many interesting, challenging situations just kept unfolding one after another and with the enormous good fortune of always having very good people to work with, not a lot of money but a lot of really good, strong coworkers. I feel very fortunate in my unplanned, kind of wandering way.

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