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Episode #069: A Family’s Autism Journey- A Chat with Theresa Richard
I have been following Theresa Richard’s business journey for a while and when I recently learned about her son’s autism diagnosis, I had to learn more about her. Theresa is an SLP, Board Certified Specialist in swallowing and swallowing disorders, Business owner, Podcaster, Author, and creator of the MedSLP Collective. She started her business in 2013, began blogging in 2014, and moved into the podcast world in 2017. I have really enjoyed following her work and Theresa does an excellent job disseminating information in a lesser known field.
Theresa proclaims that she has such a passion for helping children with special needs. She recently sold one of her mobile FEES businesses and donated all proceeds to the foundation, set up in her son’s honor. Theresa’s son was born with an extremely rare chromosomal abnormality. There was no concrete syndrome which was extremely lonely to not be able to find a support group or community.
Her journey brought her family on a big move from New York to Florida to seek out therapy for her son at age 5. During the assessments to receive a therapy placement, her son received the shocking diagnosis of Autism. While this knowledge was surprising and unexpected, it affected their lives in a positive way. This diagnosis opened the door to a whole new world of support. In Florida under this diagnosis Theresa has been able to find the perfect school and specialized therapists that see him at school.
A team working toward the benefit of your child is so important, and Theresa speaks out to families to let them know that facilities and schools and therapists who are ready to work toward that are out there. Theresa on her journey has had a variety of experiences and she shares her advice for providers from a parents perspective: open ended, nonjudgmental communication is vital. She makes these conversations, questions, and discussions an important part of her son’s therapy plans.
Theresa’s parting words for parents new to the journey of autism, is to not be afraid to reach out. Social media and groups can be a negative place but don’t go there, surround yourself in the positive groups and the positive voices. As an autism mother it can be scary and lonely but there are people out there who want to help and support you!
You can follow Theresa Richard and her journey by checking out her website or following her on social media!
Theresa Richard is a Board Certified Specialist in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders and an ASHA approved CEU provider. After falling in love with the skilled nursing setting, she founded Mobile Dysphagia Diagnostics, a mobile FEES company that has serviced over 100bSNFs and has also helped over 90 SLPs start, grow, and scale their own mobile FEES businesses through her FEES Biz Blueprint course.
In witnessing the desire for further education from medical SLPs, she created the Swallow Your Pride podcast, which has over 3 million downloads. She was invited to present at the Charleston Swallowing Conference on blogs and podcasts and has been asked to be an invited keynote speaker for several state conventions this year. She also served as past President of the Nevada Speech & Hearing Association, and has been featured in Authority Magazine and Thrive Global. Theresa created the Medical SLP Collective, which currently has over 6,000 members and contracts with over 80 SLPs and support staff. She also created MedSLP Education, which provides solid foundational medical courses exclusively for SLPs.
Theresa continues to work tirelessly to advocate for patients with swallowing disorders and was invited to contribute to 2 papers for the Dysphagia journal this year on assessing and treating dysphagia during COVID. The recent release of her new book for patients with dysphagia, called “So You’re Having Trouble Swallowing,” was an Amazon and Barnes & Noble bestseller.
- Theresa Richards business journey as an SLP.
- How to find the school right for your child’s needs?
- Utilizing external therapists in a school setting?
- Parent advice for SLPs and therapists.
- A family’s unique autism journey.
- Parent to parent advice on a diagnosis of autism.
- The importance of support in handling a diagnosis.
Mentioned In This Episode
Thank you to this episode’s sponsor, Mightier. We make video games that help kids build their emotional strength.
Learn how to #beMightier at www.mightier.com.
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