Published on August 9th, 20130
Susan Fryer Wins Supportive Personnel Award of ExcellenceBy Susan Fryer, S-LPA This article has been republished from the Summer 2013 issue of Communiqué. Please note that this article was originally published when Speech-Language and Audiology Canada (SAC) was called the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (CASLPA).
I stumbled into speech therapy by accident. I was a school bus driver and also an education assistant in an elementary school. One day the learning assistance teacher came to me and said, “We have this lady who will be coming to our school who would like some help and we really think that you would be good at it.” I didn’t have a clue what a speech-language pathologist was when I met Alexis Van Neukirk but I worked with Alexis for two years and absolutely fell in love with the work.
A year later I met a man by the name of Ted Tyrrell, the next S-LP at the school, who is now retired. At one point he said to me, “If you do not pursue this field, you are crazy.” I still didn’t really get it. I just knew that I loved what I did.
At the end of the school year Ted said to me, “Our school district is going to have a new position and it’s going to be an assistant for the speech-language pathologist. You have to apply because I’ve already sent them a letter about you.” So, I applied for the position. When the district principal phoned me, my heart fell to my feet when she said, “Hello Susan, we’re not going to waste your time” and I said, “Okay”. Then she said, “We’re not even going to interview you” and I said, “Okay”. She continued, “because you have the job.”
I soon met Heather Awmack and Shari Cooper and together we underwent intensive training before we were allowed to start working with children. From the time I started working with kids, I knew that I wanted to pursue my S-LPA credentials. If I was going to do the job, I wanted the full training. So I did.
My husband and I made a deal because our kids were grown and gone. I would get up at 5 a.m. every morning and work until I had to go to school. We had dinners together and then I went back in my room. I would finally shut things down at 8 p.m. I did that for 18 months straight and completed everything with honours and met some fantastic people along the way.
The community of speech is amazing and I am thankful to everyone I work with. I am thankful to Bonnie Gillis who nominated me and who is now working in Saudi Arabia as a speech-language pathologist. I’d also like to thank Charlotte Lundeen, another speech pathologist I work with. I feel fortunate to work with a good group of people and I can’t thank everyone enough for this honour — I am very humbled.
Thank you very much,
Susan Fryer, S-LPA
Winner of the 2013 Supportive Personnel Award of Excellence