Today we’d like to introduce you to Katie Dimond.
Katie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I became a speech therapist in 2008 after graduating from Graduate School. My first job was at the Lieberman Center for Health and Rehabilitation as a speech pathologist doing rehab with adults. My patients were victims of Parkinsons, Alzheimer’s, dysphagia (swallowing disorders), Dementia, Aspiration pneumonia, Strokes, and traumatic brain injuries. I loved my work, and strived to help my patients to cope with and improve their conditions. Two of my grandparents had Alzheimer’s, and I know how hard it can be both on the patient and their family. My experience working with my grandparents during a tough time gave me the inspiration to work with patients with tragic diseases and injuries. As positive as this work was for me, dealing with it emotionally took a toll on me, and I decided to transition into working with children.
I soon began working for a private pediatric practice, Comprehensive Speech and Language Pathology. I learned so much from my time there, as well as from Mara Lane, who is truly a genius and a gifted therapist.
Between 2008 and now I had hospital experience, private practice experience, rehab center experience, and school setting experience. I also got married and had two children of my own. I have worked in many places that worried about numbers and reimbursement rather than the quality of the therapy that was provided. Mara taught me that speech therapy is really about one thing – my patients’ quality of life. Her passion and inspiration renewed my love for my work.
I opened Crossroads Speech Therapy last year in 2016. I provide boutique and high-quality speech therapy to children. At Crossroads, I spend a lot of time with my patients, their families, and individualize each therapy session and therapy plan. It is my goal that my clients improve quickly and that they not be in speech therapy for a long duration of time.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I started my company without a single patient. After a couple of months of networking with local schools and doctors, I finally found my first patient. I charged $50.00 a session, which is way below market! I also befriended another SLP who had more clients than she could handle, and she referred clients to me. I love collaborating and talking with others in my field, and I was lucky to meet someone willing to be so helpful to a young SLP. And now, beyond our professional relationship, we are great friends! Now that my schedule is close to capacity, my rates are competitive, although I do try my best to accommodate patients with financial burdens.
One of my biggest struggles has been getting in-network with insurance providers, more specifically Blue Cross Blue Shield. Unfortunately, I have had to turn away a lot of patients because I am not in-network. I am at the point now where I am paying a third-party consultant to assist me in getting in-network. Once I am in-network it will be easier for me to get more patients, and to accommodate the various insurance plans that my patients have.
I have also had to learn how to do my own accounting, and have learned how to use quick-books software. It was not easy to learn, but is a necessary part of any business.
Crossroads Speech Therapy – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Crossroads Speech Therapy provides high quality boutique therapy to children in the Chicago-land area. Presently, I am the only speech and language pathologist in the practice, although I will likely be expanding in the future. Patients typically visit me in my home office, although on occasion I will travel when required. I specialize in articulation disorders, social pragmatic disorders, feeding disorders, as well as language disorders in children.
Currently my clients are exclusively children, however as I mentioned earlier, I do have years of experience with dysphagia (swallowing disorders), executive functioning, stroke rehabilitation, and memory rehabilitation.
I spend time talking to family, I give homework, and collaborate with my patients’ teachers and therapists. I truly care about each child that I see, and I tailor the therapy to their individual needs. It is important that I make each session fun, so that they are excited to practice and improve. When my patients have fun, I have fun too, and they look forward to their weekly time with me.
I recently started to do teach a group Speech Class at Bubbles Academy. I teach two classes a week, one for toddlers and one for babies. It is a fun class where children and their caregivers learn and engage in strategies, songs, sign language, movement, play, and reading to boost speech and language development. I love teaching the class and have seen huge improvement in the children who attend regularly. I am proud to teach at Bubbles Academy, and love getting to know new families and children and helping them meet their milestones.
I am proud of the fact that I have discharged many of my clients after 3-6 months of speech therapy. I have fixed many children’s speech and seem to have a knack for helping people produce their ‘r’ sound correctly!
I am proud of the fact that I started this business on my own. Although, I will say, my husband has been a big help! I am excited to continue serving my patient’s needs, and to see how my business grows and develops.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I see success as being directly correlated to happiness. We work a lot during our lives, so it is important to be sure that we enjoy not just the result, but the process of what we do.
The ultimate result I am looking to achieve is an impactful and financially stable business. However, the improvement I see in my clients on a daily basis is what keeps me happy, and keeps me moving forward.
- Website: crossroadsspeechtherapy.com
- Phone: 847-924-2390
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/crossroads-speech-therapy-chicago