Therapy Center Student News: Spotlight on Teela Faircloth

Teela Faircloth, from Lafayette, Louisiana is currently studying Speech Language Pathology at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Teela is completing a student rotation with the Therapy Center team at Jeff Davis Living Center in Jennings, Louisiana and told us a little bit about herself and what she has learned during her rotation.

Why did you choose to be a speech therapist?
To be perfectly honest, I have always enjoyed helping others. I know this sounds cliché for one to say; however it is what describes me the best. Speech therapists help individuals from many different populations improve quality of life and regain the ability to communicate. They possess the ability each and every day to make a positive difference in the life of a patient, whether it is regaining speech after a stroke or speaking for the first time with a speaking valve after a tracheotomy or eating foods by mouth following return of a functional swallow with elimination of tube feeding. This career I have chosen will benefit me just as much as the people I will treat. There is no better feeling than knowing you have made a positive impact on another person’s life. My grandmother would always tell me the way to lead a fulfilling and meaningful life is created through service to others in need and as a future Speech Language Pathologist, I intend to keep this in perspective.

What is the biggest thing that you learned while on rotation with us?
This past semester I had the honor of completing my rotation with the Therapy Center at Jeff Davis Living Center. As a student, working with the elderly and older adults has taught me many things. Foremost, the greatest thing I have learned from this rewarding experience is my dedication to this population. Daily life becomes a challenge as people age and I want to help alleviate their burdens.

Favorite part of working with Therapy Center staff?
The Therapy Center staff provides meaning to the old saying respect your elders as it is demonstrated in their admirable delivery of services to each and every resident. I had the privilege to shadow the facility’s Speech Therapist, Candice Cooley, who in my eyes possesses all the positive qualities a future clinician should strive to acquire. Her knowledge about the field, dedication, and empathy for others is communicated through her work. Her willingness to take the time and talk to patients to find out what is bothering them is admirable. Often times I watched as she would peek her head in a resident’s room just to say hi, providing the idea that yes someone cares and hasn’t forgotten about them. She listens and asks questions to understand each individual’s concerns. She has shown me to always implement laughter and love as an objective in each therapy session. Not only will this improve the quality of life in others, but I too have felt in just a short period of time the fulfillment in life that is created through service to others. I will follow in the footsteps of this great clinician.

What are your hobbies and other areas of interest?
I am very interested in observing and learning more about Modified Barium Swallow Studies. These studies are designed to test the safety of different foods and liquid consistencies.  I enjoy viewing the anatomic structures, the motions of these structures, and passage of the food through the oral cavity, pharynx and esophagus. The results of an MBS help determine the safest foods/liquids that patients can consume orally as well as appropriate exercises to be utilized in therapy.  I am also fascinated by individuals with memory loss and overall cognitive impairments. I look forward to helping those with dementia use strategies to preserve communication and cognitive functioning for as long as possible.  Below is a beautiful poem I found online and wanted to share with the Therapy Center.

Anything interesting about yourself that you want others to know?
I am the first person in my family to attend, graduate, and further my education in college. I have held a full time job since I was old enough to work and have paid my way through college while obtaining some debt along the way. I have experienced hardship and struggle; however the experience I obtained while working has taught me responsibility, courage, compassion, appreciation, teamwork, and humility. These are qualities I will demonstrate in my future career as a Speech Language Pathologist.

Dedicated to every family whose parent is suffering with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Living With Dementia
© Annabel Sheila

She’s trapped inside the prison walls
That used to be her mind.
The woman that she used to be,
Has long been left behind.

There are times she’s quite alert,
Her memory’s still intact.
Then there are days when she disappears,
And we know it’s not an act.

No longer able to care for herself,
We couldn’t leave her alone.
Her safety had to be assured,
So we placed her in a home.

Good days are when we visit her,
And she calls us by our name.
She’s grateful for the company,
And thankful that we came.

Most of the time it’s difficult,
To see our Mom that way.
All we can do is love her now,
As we take life day by day.

Source: Living With Dementia, Aging Poem, 5 Stories
Family Friend Poems

Other related Articles:
– The Truth Behind Speech Therapy

– Check out other student blogs here

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