SLP Spotlight – Alexa Herbers

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Autism Spectrum Disorder remains misunderstood for many of us. Like a puzzle, it takes serious evaluation and consideration to try to understand autism. Fortunately for us, there are those who dedicate their careers to helping people on the spectrum find relief in what they may sometimes perceive as a big, confusing, and scary world. People like speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, school psychologists, and special education teachers help us see the world from “their” eyes.

Today, we’re so excited to introduce you to Alexa Herbers, a Soliant SLP who plays a vital role in the Autism Program of her Colorado school district. In today’s post, Alexa talks about working with children on the Autism spectrum and how they’ve made a permanent impact on her life.

What is your personal connection to autism?

I first met someone with Autism when I was in high school. I grew up volunteering with TOPSoccer, an organization that gives people with many types of disabilities a chance to join a soccer team. In high school I was also in a club that paired typically developing students with those with developmental disorders. From then on, I’ve yet to have a season of life where I’ve not been positively impacted by people with disabilities.

As an SLP, what are the biggest struggles of dealing with a child with autism?

The biggest struggle I face working with children with Autism is consistency. Many of these kids crave consistency; whether that’s through who they interact with, daily routines, or even how their food is set up on their plate. Providing them with consistency can be tough for 24 hours of the day. I know I struggle to be in routine all the time so checking myself to make sure I’m providing students with warnings and coping strategies is essential to successful functioning for all of us.

Do you find that there is a stigma against autistic children? If so, how do you react to it?

I think the stigma has lessened over the years. I love the getting rid of the R Word movement. I still have encounters where I feel the need to educate others on their perception of the disorder. I like to explain it as that they’re just like you and I but their brain just may work a little differently. Where we may see a regular classroom, a child with autism may be seeing the bright colors and background noises. When I can tell someone that I’m angry, a child with autism may show it through actions because they’re not sure how to say it. You have to shape-shift a little and try to see the reasons rather than what’s “wrong.”

What made you decide to work with children on the spectrum?

They’re my people. I’ve been told I have a calming personality so I think that might help. But honestly I’ve just always been drawn to this population of people. You have to be creative and flexible to work with children with Autism because every single child is different-it’s a spectrum! A treatment option may work well for one kid but not for another, even though they may have the same deficit. It keeps you on your toes! Plus they’re just so much fun.

What do you think are the most important qualities of a person who decides to work with children on the spectrum?

Patient, flexible, knowledgeable, loving, and willing to work with others… a lot. Your team is going to be big when you work with kids with Autism!

What advice would you give to parents who find out their children are autistic?

Breathe. Find a support group of parents of children with Autism. It’s not always an easy road so having a support team is huge. Relating to other families will give you confidence, new ideas, and a time to laugh about the major mishaps. Also don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Are you seeing the support system grow for children with autism? If so, how?

Definitely! I am so fortunate to work in a school where Autism is accepted by the majority. In a low-income area ,it’s amazing to see all the students treat each other the same way (positively). Students and teachers are always willing to lend a hand, have students join different groups, and really want to learn about the disorder as a whole. There’s a ways to go still but it’s amazing to see the little steps being made at the ground level.

Alexa is featured in our special education report, Serving Children With Autism: School Staffing Challenges. Check it out here!

Are you a special education professional who’s ready to make a difference in our schools? See our current openings here.

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My Special Nursing Moment 2016

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There are close to 4 million nurses in the United States. And, chances are,  each one has that special nursing moment he or she will never forget.

Think of your first, your current, or your last job as a nurse. What moment made a true impact on who you are today? For the third year in a row, we’re asking nurses to share their Special Nursing Moments with us in honor of National Nurses Week 2016.

By sharing your special moment in a comment below, you’ll be automatically entered to win a $100 SpaFinder gift certificate for some much needed me-time!

Soliant Health proudly celebrates National Nurses Week, May 6-12.

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Heartwarming Soliant Special Nursing Moments from years past:

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Travel Spotlight: OR Nurse Celia

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After spending 19 years as a certified surgical technologist, our featured traveler Celia decided it was time to take the leap into nursing. And now five years later as an operating room nurse, her passion for making lives better for patients is still as strong as ever. Celia talks to us about her most recent travel assignment with Soliant — one that led her to the beautiful Sonoran Desert in Tucson, Arizona.

It was Celia’s first time traveling to Tucson, AZ and, soon enough, she realized there was much natural beauty to be discovered in this diverse desert town. It was here that Celia was able to cross off one of her bucket list items: the Grand Canyon.
Continue reading “Travel Spotlight: OR Nurse Celia”

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Travel Spotlight Q&A: IR/ICU RN Annie

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Traveler-Spotlight-HeaderIf you’ve ever been away from home, you’ve likely felt the sense of freedom from being in a different place. For most of us, a vacation is our only dedicated time for traveling. Then there are those who have dedicated their entire careers to traveling and exploring unfamiliar places. Take Annie P., a Soliant Interventional Radiology nurse, who is about to embark on her sixth healthcare travel adventure. That’s right — sixth! Even more impressive, she’s heavily involved in training for a triathlon despite her busy work and play schedule. As our featured traveler, Annie shares in-depth glimpses into life on the road and how it has changed her outlook on life.  Continue reading “Travel Spotlight Q&A: IR/ICU RN Annie”

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Phoebe Sumter Medical Center – Award Presentation & Tour

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It’s an exciting week for Soliant! On Monday, July 13, 2015, we made our way to Americus, GA to present an award to Soliant’s Most Beautiful Hospital in the U.S. for 2015, Phoebe Sumter Medical Center.

phoebe-sumter-medical-centerWe were warmly greeted by Marcus Johnson, Marketing Director at PSMC, who has been our main point of contact for the duration of this year’s contest. The award ceremony began with an opening message by PSMC CEO Brandi Lunneborg, followed by a message from Americus’ Mayor Barry Blount. Tera Tuten, Soliant Vice President of Marketing and Operations, spoke about the impact that Phoebe Sumter’s participation has made on Soliant’s annual contest before officially presenting the award to PSMC. The award presentation concluded  with a message from Phoebe Putney Health System CEO Joel Wernick. Continue reading “Phoebe Sumter Medical Center – Award Presentation & Tour”

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