Bilingual Therapies’ 20th Anniversary
2017 is an exceptionally special year for Bilingual Therapies! We are celebrating our organization’s 20th anniversary, and are more than proud of all of our growth over the years. Because this is a huge milestone for us, we wanted to spotlight how much we’ve grown over the years, and the beliefs that motivate us.
Through the Years
Bilingual Therapies started in 1997 to address the need for a stronger network and support system for bilingual speech and language pathologists in school systems. Since then, Bilingual Therapies has been committed to ensuring that clinicians have the necessary tools to provide outstanding service to culturally-diverse schools, have expanded to working with other special education disciplines, and increased partnerships with school districts across the country. We have also increased our training and educational efforts through our internal clinical leadership team, mentor program, continuing education opportunities, and our annual Bilingual Symposium.
Bilingual Therapies started by connecting bilingual speech language pathologists with school districts in need of their specialized skills. Today we are proud to work with both bilingual and monolingual professionals across disciplines, including speech language pathologist assistants, occupational therapists and assistants, physical therapists and assistants, special education teachers, school psychologists, sign language interpreters, teachers of the visually impaired, deaf & hard of hearing teachers, social workers, and more. In addition to the diverse set of disciplines we now work with, our team has included talented clinicians who speak a variety of languages, including Spanish, Mandarin, Tagalog, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Polish, Russian, ASL, Farsi, Arabic, and Haitian Creole. Having such a diverse team is an incredible advantage for our team members – as this gives them access to a strong network of bilingual service providers.
Clinical support is the foundation of what we do at Bilingual Therapies. Having a strong network is key to becoming a successful bilingual service provider. We’ve grown not only in team numbers, but in the amount of resources and support each team member is provided throughout the school year. Our Bilingual U program and free CEUs throughout the school year keep our clinicians’ knowledge current.
Growth of our Clinical Team
We offer several layers of clinical support, from local, bilingual CF mentoring to our national clinical directors. These supervisors and leaders are chosen carefully, based on qualities such as passion, adaptability, experience, dependability, and responsiveness. Our talented clinical directors Nate Cornish, M.S., CCC-SLP and Melissa White, M.A., CCC-SLP, and our associate clinical director Liza Sanchez, M.A., CCC-SLP all started their careers with Bilingual Therapies as Clinical Fellows. In addition to their leadership roles with Bilingual Therapies, they are both actively involved in speech organizations across the country.
Melissa has worked with Bilingual Therapies for 16 years, with over 5 of those years as a co-clinical director. She chose to work for BT as a CF because she wanted to be part of a group of professionals that was as passionate as she was about working with culturally and linguistically diverse populations. Melissa previously served as a team leader in the company and mentored several clinical fellows at Bilingual Therapies. In addition, she worked as a bilingual clinical faculty supervisor at the University of Texas-Austin Speech and Hearing Center (UTSHC) for four years. She is currently the associate coordinator of ASHA’s SIG 14: Cultural and Linguistic Diversity.
Nate Cornish has served as a member of ASHA’s Multicultural Issues Board, and as President of the Hispanic Caucus for SLPs and Audiologists. He currently serves as professional development manager for ASHA’s SIG 18: Telepractice. He is experienced in participating advocacy efforts for cultural and linguistic issues and telepractice with professional and governmental organizations at the local and federal levels. Nate has been working with Bilingual Therapies for over 11 years, with 9 1/2 of those years as a clinical director.
Our recently appointed Associate Clinical Director, Liza Sanchez, M.A.; CCC-SLP also has extensive experience as a school-based bilingual speech-language pathologist, bilingual CF mentor, and regional team leader for Bilingual Therapies. Liza also worked as a clinical supervisor at the University of Houston Speech, Language & Hearing Clinic for three summers and has previously mentored CSD students through ASHA’s STEP program. Liza has served as secretary and treasurer for the ASHA Hispanic Caucus and is also a member of ASHA’s SIG 14: Cultural and Linguistic Diversity. She is currently participating in the 1st annual Texas Speech-Language Hearing Association’s Leadership Academy. Fun fact: Liza started working with Bilingual Therapies in the fall of 2001 in her clinical fellowship, and was mentored by none other than Melissa White! She has worked with the company ever since!
All three of our amazing leaders also have experience in presenting sessions and facilitating workshops for several of our Bilingual Symposiums!
The Bilingual Symposium
We wouldn’t be Bilingual Therapies without our incredible Bilingual Symposium! This amazing conference started in 2001, when we decided to create a way for bilingual service providers from across the country to connect, learn, and share knowledge. Since 2001, our Symposium has been held in 5 different countries, 9 different cities, and on a cruise ship. We’ve had clinicians from a variety of backgrounds and locations attend the Symposium, including professionals from disciplines like audiology, school psychology, and bilingual education! Although the Symposium originally focused on issues in school-aged populations, we have expanded to cover topics from across the lifespan and in different clinical settings. Many of our symposium topics come from our survey of past participants and have included strategies for working with bilingual individuals who have autism, ELLs and state learning standards, advocating for bilingual families and response to intervention for CLD populations.
One of the reasons are Symposiums are so unique for the participants is the location. We do extensive research and planning to secure cites that are not only able to accommodate large groups, but also provide a cultural experience that can be extended into a vacation! From our very first Symposium, on the turquoise shores of Cancun, we’ve explored scenic Cabo San Lucas, tried our luck in Las Vegas, communed with nature (and enjoyed some great coffee) in Costa Rica, and tasted the best Cajun food in New Orleans. Those are just 5 of the exciting cities we’ve held our Symposium, so you can imagine what the future holds! This summer’s conference will be held in one of the most thrilling cities in the Southeast, filled with culture, arts, and authentic Cuban food. What other city has all of this except Miami Beach?!
We know how hard our clinicians work and our office team strives to support our clinical team in any and every way possible. From an operational and administrative standpoint, our team provides our clinicians with the information they need to prepare for, start, and succeed in their job. We are constantly at the ready to solve any issue that may come up, since we are just an email, phone call, or text message away from the answer. We believe that if we do everything we can to make things easier for our clinicians and school districts, that allows them to feel secure, supported, and ready to take on their daily tasks.
Having a supportive team is a large part of what makes Bilingual Therapies a great place to work. The core principal of mentorship at Bilingual Therapies is also present in the way we train our staff. Our senior mentors help to develop the skills of their mentees which in turn helps them grow as leaders. We pride ourselves on working hard towards meeting our goals, which means we love to celebrate when we reach them. As we’ve grown throughout the years, we continue to find special ways to celebrate personal and professional success. Desk decorations, fun presents, team lunches and sweet treats are never in short supply at BT.
This year makes us so proud to be a part of an organization that cares so much about the work our clinicians do in their schools and the lives they impact. We are committed to ensuring that our clinicians have access to opportunities that further their professional development which in turn positively impacts the children they serve. We’ve worked with so many wonderful professionals over the last twenty years, and they have all contributed to making Bilingual Therapies such a special place to work! Cheers to 20 years, and here’s to 20 more!
Have a favorite Bilingual Therapies memory or moment? Please share in the comments below, and your #BTmemory might be featured on our social media pages in the near future!