The progress may seem small to an outside observer. A student enunciates words a little clearer. Another student broadens their vocabulary. A third speaks, without being asked a question. But, for speech therapist Laura Koch and for her students, it’s something to celebrate!
Koch works with about 20 students each year at ECLC of New Jersey’s school in Chatham for students with disabilities. All have significant, lifelong challenges, including Down syndrome, autism and other special needs. She is part of the ECLC team that provides specialized services and supports as part of the students’ Individualized Education Plan, or IEP.
She has been with the Chatham school for six years and has relished the reward of helping dozens of children make progress in speech therapy. “From September to June, I see significant progress in social and communication abilities, which definitely brings me a great feeling of satisfaction,” said Koch. “What is even better, though, is witnessing students’ pride in their own abilities, as they begin to independently use the skills we once worked on together.”
For her success and caring, Koch has been selected as the “Related Services Provider of the Year” in Region II by ASAH, the umbrella organization for special-needs schools and agencies serving children with special needs. The award is part of an annual competition among dozens of schools. It culminates in statewide winners being named and recognized at ASAH’s annual conference in November. Read more.