Kristi Chamberlain founded Peninsula Pediatric Therapies in Newport News in March of 2017, and has been helping children with their speech, language and literacy skills ever since. “Our goal is to help children meet their full potential by providing access to quality therapy services, family support and advocacy in the area of speech language pathology,” Chamberlain says. “Each client has his or her own individualized therapy plan that incorporates the skill level and goals for therapy.”
Chamberlain has long held a passion for the field and has taken the opportunity in stride to do what she adores while assisting others. “I love children and I always knew that I wanted to work with them. I also knew that I wanted to have a career that focused on helping people. After a bit of research into different professions and shadowing different professionals, I decided that speech therapy was what I wanted to do,” the speech pathologist says. “After school, I became employed by an outpatient rehabilitation center run by the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and I was able to work with children with a variety of diagnoses. After getting married and moving around a little bit, I was able to experience working as a speech-language pathologist (SLP) in lots of different settings, such as schools, clinics, skilled nursing facilities and a school for autistic children. All these settings and experiences have shaped me to be the therapist I am today.”
Many young patients may find it a bit frightening to start going to speech therapy, but Peninsula Pediatric Therapies has worked hard to make it a welcoming space where kids can feel safe to grow with sessions tailored to their individual needs. “Our doors are open to any child between one and 21 years of age who needs help with any form of communication. My clientele varies greatly, which keeps it fun and interesting for me,” Chamberlain says. “Most of the time I see clients individually for 30-minute sessions, but it really depends on what best meets each child’s needs. I see some children and work on literacy skills for 60-minute sessions. I have also started hosting social skills groups using a six-week program that I created.”
Another feature that keeps the job exciting is no day is ever the same for Chamberlain as she works hard to tailor every session to each child’s needs. “Each client has an individualized therapy plan that incorporates his or her skill level and goals for therapy,” Chamberlain says. “I may go from one session, working with a 2-year-old who isn’t yet talking to my next session, working with a 16-year-old who has difficulty with executive functioning skills. I work with children of all ages who have difficulty with understanding or expressing language, articulation, which means pronouncing sounds in their words correctly, and pragmatic or social skills.”
When asked what sets her apart from others in the field, Chamberlain lamented on her ambition and how important it is to help her clients. “I think my 20 years of experience and my constant drive to continue learning how to be a better and more effective therapist makes Peninsula Pediatric Therapies stand out. I would also add that incorporating specific methods to address executive functioning skills makes us unique.”
While Peninsula Pediatric Therapies is Chamberlain’s passion, she also has to balance being a fulltime mom. “My own three children are young, and I am trying to work while they are in school. So, after I get them all put together and on the bus, I head to my office. I see clients until it’s time for me to get my children off the bus,” Chamberlain says.
While down time is scarce, Chamberlain also makes sure to find some moments of free time. “When I am not working, I am with my husband and three children. We love to travel and experience new things, so we are always on the lookout for our next adventure, big or small, Chamberlain says. “When I have a rare moment to myself, I love to read.”
Downtime may be scarce for the SLP, but with such a rewarding job, Chamberlain knows the importance of her work. “The best part about my job is the relationships that I form with my clients and families, hands down,” she says. Peninsula Pediatric Therapies is ready with open arms to whomever needs its assistance.