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Meet Beth Deiter

Today we’d like to introduce you to Beth Deiter.

Beth, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My philosophy is that a child who needs therapy services is not simply an isolated patient on a caseload. That child lives with a family who also needs support and within a community that has/can have the resources with which to support them. This “big picture” view has come from professional, personal, and family experiences, and it has helped to shape my vision of the ideal speech, language, and feeding therapy experience.

Once I received my Masters Degree in Communication Disorders, I began working full-time as a Speech Pathologist at a local pediatric hospital. While doing so, I also took on part-time positions in several different professional settings including an elementary school, a private clinic, and an Early Intervention program. The extra experiences added to my perspective and growth as a therapist, but it was at the hospital where I was able to really develop my clinical skills. There, I provided an array of outpatient and inpatient services, worked with diverse and challenging patient populations, supervised speech pathology graduate students, and constantly collaborated with professionals from many different medical backgrounds.

During the 12 years I worked at the hospital, I gained a great deal of experience and confidence, but I also did so while attempting to balance life as a mom to two young children.

When I decided to decrease my hours at the hospital and spend more time at home, several of my patients asked if they could continue working with me privately–an option I hadn’t quite considered completely, but was very willing to explore.

In the spring of 2014, I incorporated Beth Deiter, Ltd., my own private practice specializing in pediatric speech, language, and feeding therapy provided within the patient’s home/natural environment. I am proud of the way my practice has impacted patients, their families, and the community thus far. While it has continued to evolve and gain momentum each year, this endeavor has already helped me reach my goal of more successfully meeting the needs of my patients, my family, and myself.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I always say, “I’m a therapist first and business owner second.” While I am confident in my skills as a therapist, there has been a lot of learning on my part in order to manage the business side of things. I never used to think too much about scheduling, billing, filing, managing websites, and marketing before I started as a private practitioner. As daunting as these tasks seemed when I first started, I’m realizing they are all manageable with the right support. I have learned that change doesn’t happen suddenly, but rather, develops over time with continued practice and experience.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Beth Deiter, Ltd. – what should we know?
My private practice is unique in that I strive to see the big picture, incorporating three main themes into my work:

1) Excellent, individualized, and effective speech, language, and feeding therapy.
2) Parent/Family Enrichment and Support.
3) Community Outreach.

Beth Deiter, Ltd. is small and highly-individualized, since I am the only speech pathologist in the practice. All correspondence, scheduling, billing, and care coordination is managed by me, creating a simple and mainstreamed business format. I don’t have a clinic/site in which I provide services, but rather, I travel to families’ homes for speech, language, and feeding therapy services. As a therapist and evaluator through the state’s Early Intervention program, I am required to provide services within families’ homes/daycares. However, notably, I also provide services privately in families’ homes when a child is not enrolled in Early Intervention (e.g. the child has aged out of the program at 3 years old; the family doesn’t want to use the program). I am in-network with several insurance companies, and also offer a day-of-service payment discount.

I now appreciate the advantages of providing therapy in a child’s home/natural environment. From a professional standpoint, working with a child and his/her parents in an immediately-comfortable and highly-functional environment has often led to more effective results. And, likewise, from the perspective of a parent, in-home therapy not only leads to greater family involvement and communication, but it is undeniably more convenient for busy parents.

Being welcomed into families’ homes each week also gives me more perspective regarding the child’s and parents’ needs. Although there are many benefits to in-home therapy, parents may have a tendency to feel isolated. Because of this observation, I have focused much of my work in creating opportunities for parents to learn together and connect socially, expanding options for supportive networking through free, monthly Early Intervention Playgroups at local libraries and a local support group on Facebook with over 1300 members: “Early Intervention Support for Parents in NW Suburban Chicago.”

As my role in facilitating parent enrichment and support has increased, so have my community outreach efforts. I speak at local preschools about how to help identify “red flags” in the classroom, present at conferences about the importance of collaboration with community partners (i.e. libraries), advocate for ongoing funding for the Early Intervention program with local senators/representatives, and, most recently, coordinated a march in our local 4th of July parade to increase awareness of the free, local resources that exist for those who have children receiving therapy services.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Deciding to embark on this adventure in private practice was something that simply could not have happened without the support and encouragement of my family. My husband, Chris, has always helped nurture my ideas, and this is no exception. He has helped me through all major business decisions, listening with patience and offering suggestions while the practice has gotten off the ground. I am also profoundly lucky to have the support of my parents, who not only help watch our children while I work, but who also support my professional vision.

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