Book Clubs and Speech-Language Pathology

Dr. Brenda K. Gorman, Contributing Author

Several of my friends belong to book clubs. Every now and then, I try to join one, only to find that I cannot finish the book by the time we discuss it. There is so much academic material to keep up with.

However, one genre that I would have no trouble keeping up with in a book club would be autobiographies and memories written by individuals who have experienced or have had a loved one experience a communication disorder. In a previous blog, I wrote about Katherine Preston’s book Out With It: How Stuttering Helped Me Find My Voice. Like me, several of my students just could not put it down until finishing.

The book that is now throwing off my sleep schedule is Where is the Mango Princess? A Journey Back from Brain Injury. The author, Cathy Crimmins, writes about her husband’s astonishingly tragic boat accident. On their last day of a family vacation, a large speedboat smashed into her husband’s small boat, and into to his head, leaving him with severe brain injury. Without warning, their lives took a dramatically different turn.

With busy schedules, it is sometimes too easy to become routine in one’s work and forget sensitive bedside manners. Or because we know our stuff, we can easily forget to communicate effectively in a way that we  ourselves would have needed before specializing in this field.

The book makes you reflect deeply, feel intensely, and learn a vast amount about how we can provide the services that survivors and their families need and deserve. I cannot wait to finish the book, and I look forward to reading more from this genre.

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About Brenda K. Gorman

Dr. Gorman is an Associate Professor in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Illinois. She completed her Master’s and Doctorate with a multicultural/bilingual specialization in Communication Sciences and Disorders at The University of Texas at Austin. Brenda worked for many years as a bilingual (Spanish-English) speech-language pathologist serving diverse caseloads for public school districts, early intervention agencies, and a company which she co-founded in 2001. She has an extensive background in working with ELLs and providing professional development to teachers who work with ELLs, and she serves as a clinical advisor to Lingua Health and Grupo Lingua. Brenda has conducted research, published, and presented on topics related to speech and language assessment and intervention in bilingual populations and language and literacy development and disorders. She has taught courses in numerous topic areas ranging from assessment and intervention in bilingual populations, child language and literacy disorders, speech sound disorders, fluency, to adult language disorders and AAC. She co-directed the Reading Acquisition for Spanish Speakers Program (RASPA) and an Early Reading First (ERF) project funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education while at Marquette University, where she earned tenure in 2013. Brenda is now at Elmhurst College, where she is investigating language and literacy assessment and intervention in bilinguals and co-developing a dual-language (Spanish-English) language and literacy curriculum for preschoolers.

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