College of Education & Human Development doctoral student Meridith Rose has been a practicing speech-language pathologist for 15 years. She works with children to improve their speech skills (e.g., articulation, voice, fluency) and language skills (e.g., receptive language, expressive language).
It’s Rose’s mission to provide high-quality speech-language therapy services to children who have difficulty communicating – a mission inspired by her own family.
“Over 20 years ago, my youngest brother was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, and that is when my journey to become a pediatric speech-language pathologist began. He is the reason why I have a passion for providing person-centered and family-centered therapy services that are culturally responsive,” she said. “For children with autism, expressive language and pragmatics (or social skills) is usually where there are more communication deficits. Communication is complex and entails processing information, following directions, reading, writing and expressing ourselves orally. There are so many nuances and intricacies, and my brother has always been on my mind when I do this important work with children and their families.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, Rose was working full-time as a school-based speech-language pathologist. At the time, she and other educators quickly shifted the provision of their services from in-person to virtual platforms.
Rose learned firsthand how to work with children and parents virtually, providing services both synchronously and asynchronously. She also recorded therapy session videos that targeted her student’s goals and objectives, and created resources for children and their parents to access on their own time.
Ultimately, Rose saw how an internet connection and remote device was all that it took for students and families – regardless of health-related concerns, location or transportation – to have access to quality speech-language therapy sessions. This inspired her to establish HomeTele SLP, a company that provides speech-language evaluations and therapy sessions via teletherapy to children and youth ages 3-18 in Georgia and Florida, where she is licensed and certified to practice.
“I discovered many parents weren’t fully aware of their children’s strengths and weaknesses, or how to target speech and language skills in their children’s daily lives,” she explained. “We recommend fun and functional ways for parents to incorporate their child’s communication goals in their daily routines in order for the child to maintain and generalize skills that are targeted during their therapy sessions across environments.”
In addition to providing speech-language evaluations and one-on-one virtual therapy sessions, Rose offers services ranging from oral presentation preparation and interview skills training for children to webinars and coaching for parents and caregivers. During the summer of 2022, she launched a virtual language and literacy summer camp for Pre-K to third grade students. She is currently offering monthly parent trainings at the Duluth Branch of the Gwinnett County Public Library, will be launching a summer teen book club during the summer of 2023 and is developing an online story time for younger children that will be available on YouTube.
Earlier this year, Rose was accepted to the Main Street Entrepreneurs Seed Fund’s third cohort. This six-month program, led by Georgia State University’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute, “supports underrepresented students, recent alumni and Georgia State community entrepreneurs with seed funding and mentorship to start and grow new ventures,” according to the program’s website.
She hopes her time in the program will teach her how to gain traction and grow her client base, get the word out about her business and build her expertise as a founder and entrepreneur.
“I am excited to be receiving training and coaching from business experts whose knowledge and experience will help me learn how to provide my services to more children and families – especially those who want their children to receive speech-language therapy services virtually for health-related reasons, convenience or because they reside in rural or remote areas,” Rose said.
To learn more about the Main Street Entrepreneurs Seed Fund, visit https://eni.gsu.edu/msesf.