Enough is enough…

I was a busy girl when I first got sick. I worked a full-time job for a school during the day and took 3 classes a week in the evenings. Stress was my middle name. Although my time and energy were drained….I persevered because becoming a speech-language pathologist was something I wanted VERY much….enough to hang tough even though I was ready to collapse.

I took a job a few years ago that required me to be labeled a special education teacher. I was extremely hesitant but trusted administration when I was told I wouldn’t be expected to act as a “typical” spec. ed. teacher, rather I would be a consultant for children with autism. I relied heavily on my speech pathology skills. I was skeptical but chose a leap of faith. Now I’m devastated that I have to return to a classroom assignment. I didn’t fight so hard to become an SLP to have it ripped away from me. I have to rethink my future. I might have to find that strength again. I didn’t work that hard to be a teacher again. I’m a speech-language pathologist and I’m not compromising for anyone anymore……
Jobs might be hard to come by but my self-respect is far more important to me. I know what I have to do. Wish me luck….

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Kelly holds masters degrees in both Special Education and Speech-Language Pathology. She works full-time as a speech-language pathologist in both a public school setting and as an adjunct faculty member at a university, in Philadelphia, PA. She specializes in both autism and augmentative/alternative communication and took her skills to Uganda, Africa to start a special needs program for disabled children living in an orphanage in 2011. Kelly began experiencing symptoms of autoimmune arthritis in 1984 (while in her teens) but wasn’t officially diagnosed with autoimmune arthritis until 2001. Her first diagnosis was Sjogren’s syndrome. Eventually her diagnosis was changed to sero-negative RA and now Polyarticular Spondlyoarthropathy. She also manages thyroid disease (resulting from Graves Disease), fibromyalgia, renin-deficient hypertension, and disseminated superficial actinic porokeratosis (DSAP) on a daily basis. Kelly connected with other autoimmune arthritis patients via social media in 2008. She began volunteering with the “Buckle Me UP! Movement”, which evolved into the International Autoimmune Arthritis Movement (IAAM) beginning in 2009. Then became a cofounder of IFAA in 2013. She has represented the ACR on Capitol Hill as an Advocate for Arthritis, was a finalist in Wego Health’s Health Activist Hero awards in 2014, and speaks at various healthcare conferences as a patient advocate in the Philadelphia area.

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