COE Communication Sciences and Disorders’ 60th Anniversary Alumni Highlight: Caroline Gaddy
By Rachel Renou, COE Grad Assistant | Published November 30, 2020
Ypsilanti - Advocating for neurodiversity is a passion of Caroline Gaddy, a 2018 MA in Speech-Language Pathology graduate from EMU College of Education’s Communication Sciences and Disorders program. In fact, Gaddy believed there was more work to be done than simply sharing neurodiversity-aligned practices with those in her community. While working as a Speech-Language Pathologist in Wake County Schools in North Carolina, Gaddy began researching how current SLP approaches could better align with neurodiversity support. From there, Gaddy joined two more passionate SLPs to document their research in an accessible way for professionals across the country.
Gaddy and her two co-authors, Rachel Dorsey and Hillary Crow, were able to advocate to an even larger audience then they had hoped for when their article Putting Autistic Voices at the Forefront of Care was published in the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Leader October 2020 issue. The ASHA Leader is a monthly publication that reaches over 200,000 members, and is used as reference by many certified Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) in their practice.
In the article, Gaddy, Dorsey, and Crow emphasize the importance of using a strengths-based approach when providing services to autistic people and the unique position of autistic Speech-Language Pathologists to “...connect the viewpoints of the speech-language field, autistic clients, their caregivers, and the autistic community.” Using these neurodiversity supportive methods improves SLP practice and positively impacts those involved.
After the article was published, Gaddy received tons of support and an overwhelming amount of positive feedback from readers. When asked about how it felt after the article was published Gaddy said “It has been so fulfilling and meaningful to have people tell us that our article has reinforced or changed their practice,” (Gaddy).
After seeing their widespread impact of the ASHA Leader article, Gaddy and her two co-authors began planning new ways of spreading the word about neurodiversity. In 2021 they will have a big project revealed that will further support new SLP practices.
Gaddy is proud of what she has been able to accomplish in her field and grateful for her alma mater. After reaching out to Gaddy to hear more about her research plans she mentioned how her passion in SLP neurodiversity stemmed from her time at Eastern.
“I was very lucky to be a Brehm Scholar and Brehm Fellow while I was in grad school. I am not exaggerating when I say that the experience changed my life. My Brehm experience challenged me in the best of ways, and made me reflect on who I am, how I want to exist in the world, and who I want to be as an SLP,” (Gaddy).
Gaddy is thankful for the meaningful relationships she made with several of her professors and internship supervisors who continue to provide her guidance and encouragement. Their support ranged from small actions such as commenting kind words on her Facebook to showing her care and attention when she was pregnant and gave birth to her daughter while in grad school at EMU.
As the Communication Sciences and Disorders program at EMU celebrates their 60th anniversary they are excited to recognize some of their amazing faculty, supervisors, and alumni. They chose Caroline Gaddy for their November highlight and look forward to showcasing her work to the EMU community. It is through hard working and passionate alumni, like Caroline, that they have continued to succeed even 60 years after starting at EMU.
About The College of Education at Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, The College of Education (COE) at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) continues to be one of the largest producers of educational personnel in the nation. The COE includes a comprehensive variety of programs at the bachelor, master and doctoral program level. Non-degree and certifications are also offered through the COE as well. The COE includes departments for teacher education, special education, and leadership & counseling. All of the professional education programs offered by EMU’s COE are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and are also approved by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE). The graduates the EMU produces are highly desired in the field, due to the strong reputation the COE has earned throughout their many established years. The COE has been recognized for its strong success rate by U.S. News and World Report’s: America’s Best Colleges.