Thirty-two+ years ago, a young couple contacted the Loyola College Speech and Language Center in Columbia requesting speech and language treatment for their young son with Down syndrome. That family, along with a handful of other families who were founding members of CDSPG, helped jumpstart our fledgling program and served as an impetus for a 6-year grant from the Strauss Foundation to enable us to develop a treatment program for children with Down syndrome. Jump ahead to 2016 and Cheryl Councill and I are still here training graduate clinicians, treating individuals with Down syndrome and nurturing relationships and friendships with families we have met and worked with along the way.
This is much more than a job for the two of us. Watching your children learn to communicate through their early years, honing their articulation and language skills through their school years, and reinforcing social skills in adolescence and young adulthood has been a privilege. Each year, we welcome new families to the program while continuing to see some families who have been with us almost from the onset.
Most importantly, we’ve trained generations of clinicians who leave this placement recognizing that working with the whole family is tantamount to speech and language intervention. You, as parents, know your children best and must be part of the treatment process. In addition, our clinicians have learned that they are treating individuals, not a diagnosis. They learn that this is not a one size fits all treatment center. Each of our clients has his or her own needs. Yes, certain treatment methodologies work better than others, but our clinicians leave here knowing that they need to look beyond a diagnosis to determine which treatment protocols are the best fit for each individual, regardless of age and ability.
We hope that those of you who have been part of our program have found the relationship valuable and beneficial to your children. I can say for sure that the benefit has been mutual. Thank you for your support and for sharing your children with us!
About the Author: Mina Goodman is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist who has been a faculty member of the Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences Department at Loyola University MD since 1985. Prior to that time, she was a special-education teacher in Baltimore City. She and Cheryl Councill coordinate the pediatric treatment program at the Loyola Speech and Language Center in Columbia where much of the caseload is comprised of individuals with Down syndrome. In addition, she and Cheryl have worked closely with Libby Kumin documenting successful treatment programs that can be shared with both parents and professionals. Mina resides in Mt. Washington with her husband, Lee, a radiologist at GBMC, and their two English bulldogs. She has two married children and 2 amazing granddaughters, ages 5 and 7 who fortunately live close by.