Kate Jurevicius established her Ann Arbor private practice, Communicate With Kate, in June of 2017, and the certified Speech Language Pathologist has learned in little under a year that she made the right choice to go into business for herself.
Jurevicius says she found satisfaction during her years as a Speech Language Pathologist for Ann Arbor Public Schools, and that she enjoyed working with the students there. But she has found, as a private practitioner, there is more fruit to bear.
“I was very fortunate to get a few great years under my belt in the district, which was such valuable experience,” said Jurevicius, 43, who is married to Adam, and has two sons, Thatcher, 12, and Milo, 9. “But, at the end of the day, school caseloads are high and I just felt like I wanted to spend more time with less clients, to try and make a bigger impact that way.”
Jurevicius says that in just 10 months, she has found ways to do that. And she has done it with children who deal with different difficulties in a place that she loves.
“My practice focuses on children of all ages with various communication impairments including speech and articulation, language, early speech and language delay in toddler and preschool years, social language and augmentative and alternative communication for nonverbal and minimally verbal children,” she said.
“I live in Ann Arbor with my family, I went to school here, left for many years and came back to raise my family. It’s a great place to be so I’m excited to support the community.”
Jurevicius grew up in Adrian, earned her bachelors degree at the University of Michigan and worked in the business world in the data field for several years. She found herself unfulfilled.
By age 30, she had left the corporate world and earned her elementary teaching credential at San Francisco State University. She taught in San Francisco while starting a family, and then the whole family relocated back to Michigan in 2007.
“I knew I was I on the right track, but I also knew that teaching was quite right for me,” she said. “I knew I wanted to work with kids who just need more support. I started looking into programs and Speech Language Pathology just spoke to me.”
That’s when Jurevicius went to Eastern Michigan University, earned a masters degree in Speech Language Pathology, and eventually landed a position with AAPS. She says she couldn’t be happier with her career choice, and especially with her decision to form a private practice. But, it has caught her somewhat by surprise.
“I really did not have a complete understanding of the breadth and depth of this field, in particular the medical component, until I dove into the program,” she said.
Jurevicius is passionate about speech language pathology, and says there are major misconceptions about the field.
“Our accrediting institution – the American Speech Language and Hearing Association – says ‘the overall objective of speech-language pathology services is to optimize individuals’ abilities to communicate and to swallow, thereby improving quality of life,’” she said. “As you can see, that’s quite a broad objective and many people don’t understand that.”
There is a misunderstanding that Jurevicius is “just a speech therapist who corrects kids’ ‘r” sounds or lisps.”
“Yes, that is a piece of what we do, but it is only one piece in a much bigger puzzle,” she said. “We are trained to work in many different areas of communication and swallowing including speech and articulation, receptive and expressive language, fluency, stuttering, social language for clients with autism and other impairments that impact social skills, and voice and resonance.”
Jurevicius says the people who understand Speech Language Therapists best are the ones who have either worked with one, or have seen one working with a client.
“Maybe their grandparent had a stroke and lost their speech and they saw the great work an SLP did to support their loved one with getting some functional communication back,” she said. “We tend to be the most known and understood by people who have first-hand knowledge of the work we do.”
The biggest challenge Jurevicius faces now, she says, is getting the word out about her private practice. She wants community members to know they have a trusted resource they can go to with concerns about their children’s communication development.
There is a great learning experience that takes place between Speech Language Pathologist and client, according to the Ann Arbor SLP, and it’s not just the client that does the learning.
“I’m excited to have more time to focus on the therapy and so grateful to the families that let me support them on this path,” she said. “I learn from every client I meet.”
For more information on Communicate With Kate, visitwww.communicatewithkate.com