May is Better Speech and Hearing Month. To celebrate, we’re introducing you to a few of our speech-language pathologists (SLPs). Today, meet Cydney Fox. Cydney has been a speech therapist at Magee for a little over a year, and we are lucky to have her as a member of our team!
Ashley Owens (AO): Why did you decide to become a SLP?
Cydney Fox (CF): I first discovered speech pathology when I was in college, trying to figure out what to do with my life. After shadowing SLPs in acute rehab settings, I fell in love with the profession and found that I was particularly drawn to working with neuro-rehab populations (patients with brain injuries, strokes, etc.) I have always been a people person who loves to talk, listen, and engage with others. Combine my “chattiness” with the rewarding opportunity to provide meaningful care, and speech pathology was the perfect profession for me! I changed my major from business to speech pathology in my sophomore year of college without hesitation, and I haven’t looked back since.
AO: What is the most exciting part about your job?
CF: The most exciting part of my job is being a part of my patient’s journeys and witnessing the incredible progress that they make every day. You can’t help but smile when you see a patient speak for the first time or take their first step since their injury. Something that may seem so small to others, like saying “hello” without assistance, is a huge accomplishment for many patients I work with every day. It’s exciting moments like this that make me love what I do, because in the end, all of these “small” improvements result in significant gains towards recovery.
AO: Do you have a particular experience or patient that made an impact on your life?
CF: There are too many to count. I am always inspired by how strong and motivated the patients are. Patients and families in rehab have been dealt devastating and life-altering challenges, yet the patients always tend to find a way to get up every morning and participate in therapy, most always with a smile on their face! Working with people who have the strength and courage to persevere through such challenges on a daily basis is truly inspiring. Being in this field makes you appreciate all life has to offer and cherish the little things, like the ability to say “I love you” to your family every day.
AO: How would you describe your job to someone that doesn’t know anything about speech therapy?
CF: It always makes me laugh when I walk into a patient’s room and tell them my role. More often than not, their response is, “I don’t need speech therapy. My speech is fine!” In reality, helping patients regain and improve speech production is a small part of what I do. As an SLP in a medical setting, I work with people who are experiencing challenges from a stroke, brain injury, or progressive neurological disease. My role is to help these patients improve their overall communication skills, whether it’s through talking, listening, gesturing, reading, or writing. Depending on the location of injury in the brain, speech therapy works directly with patients to improve language skills, cognition, and even swallowing so they can safely eat or drink. We also work closely with the patients and their families to educate them about their diagnoses, recovery, and various strategies help to facilitate communication skills to improve their quality of life.
AO: What do you enjoy to do in your free time?
CF: In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family and getting together with friends. I also love being outside, going on bike rides, and walking my dog, Bea.
To learn more about Speech Therapy at Magee, click here.