At Open Lines, our licensed speech language pathologists help children and adults rebuild their lives, improve their communication, and enhance their delivery. As a way to highlight our talented and dedicated SLPs, we are offering a staff spotlight series to help our patients get to know our clinicians on a more personal level. Today, we are proud to feature Olivia Kelly, who is a supervisor and speech-language pathologist at Open Lines.
My pursuit of a career in speech language pathology has always been fueled by a passion for human rights and helping others experience well being.
Throughout my life, I’ve observed the impact that a speech-language pathologist (SLP) made in helping people tell their stories, thereby increasing their community inclusion, confidence, and ultimately enhancing opportunities to make contributions and cultivate a life full of purpose and dignity.
I can recall in many situations how significantly the SLP role contributed to ensuring that the autonomy and dignity of people were upheld in critical moments – enabling patients to advocate for their needs, direct care teams, and most importantly stay connected to family and loved ones in some of their most vulnerable moments.
After completing a degree in social work from the University of British Columbia, I went on to complete a Masters of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Columbia University where I enjoyed spending my free time working in research labs exploring new treatments to support individuals living with aphasia.
I now live in Los Angeles, California, with my family, but I have loved living, studying, and working in many different countries and cities over the years including Vancouver Island, Singapore, southern Africa, and New York.
I love to explore far and near but most especially a beach and ice cream shop.
What Do You Do at Open Lines?
Speech-language pathologist supervisor at Open Lines. My experience includes the treatment of adults living with neurogenic communication disorders, including aphasia, apraxia, and dysarthria. I have also worked in public and charter school systems as well as clinical settings treating and evaluating children with an array of speech and language disorders including fluency disorders, childhood apraxia of speech, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and a variety of developmental delays.
How Long Have You Been with Open Lines?
Five years. In 2018, when a position became available, I jumped at the opportunity to join their team.
Open Lines has always been on my professional radar. Their team is a cut above the standard, reputed for their excellence in patient care and their treatments founded on cutting-edge research. Their prominence in the field became known to me through several of my professors and instructors at Columbia University. Whether they had collaborated with Dr. Jessica Galgano on a research project, or worked on her clinical team, they all held her in the highest regard for her professionalism, specialty training, and experience.
Inspired, impressed and eager to professionally excel, I reached out to Open Lines to express my interest in their work.
What Interested You in Joining Open Lines’ Staff?
Open Lines’ ethos spoke directly to the beliefs and values that have always shaped my life, and that initially led me to pursue a career in speech language pathology.
Open Lines is more than a clinic that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of communication and swallowing disorders. They recognize that meaningful change requires compassionate clinicians who care for the whole person, paying attention to the unique blend of circumstances that bring each individual in for consultation and care. This team is dedicated to working with individuals, as well as their care teams and the community at large. Their community engagement looks like fundraising for further research, conducting studies to develop new treatments and improve outcomes, advocating for political and social change, and providing education and training to individuals, families, schools, universities, and medical teams.
Between my experience growing up in a home enriched by the presence of two women with special needs, and my professional background as a medical social worker, in which I delivered integrated services to individuals adjusting to change and coping with adversity, I learned the importance of supportive communities.
I witnessed in the form of many real faces how successful outcomes require going beyond treating individuals-it often requires collaborating with and supporting families, care teams, and partners in education and healthcare. It extends to upholding individual rights and citizenship in legislative policies that provide services that include access to skillful and sensitive professionals. And it means promoting scientific rigor in order to innovate and improve upon treatments.
What Is the Most Rewarding Part of Your Job and Why?
It is almost impossible to choose just one! I am grateful every day to do work that truly fills my cup. There is such immense value in working with a team of genuine, supportive, and creative individuals who think critically and share a spirit of optimism and enthusiasm for the work we do.
It is this energy from everyone that cultivates the most rewarding part of my job – witnessing the confidence our clients experience when they are able to speak with greater comfort, share their ideas and stories with ease, and newly connect in the ways that are most meaningful and rewarding to them. Communication is fundamental to the human experience. It is one of my life’s greatest opportunities to be a part of helping others maximize their full potential by promoting independence, social participation, and well-being.
What Is Your Favorite Quote?
“It never hurts to keep looking for sunshine” – Winnie the Pooh
To schedule an appointment with Olivia or any of our speech language pathologists, contact us today by phone at (212) 430-6800, by email at [email protected], or through our contact form.