Amy Bell '08

Amy Bell '08 at work with young client

Amy Bell, MA SLP/CCC, is one of our newest alumni having graduated with her masters from SLHS in 2008. That hasn’t stopped her from progressing quickly in her current work. Amy’s experiences include augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and literacy development for children and young adults. She is certified in Lee Silverman’s Voice Training (LSVT), Language!, a research-based literacy training, and PROMPT, a research based approach to helping individuals develop speech who are nonverbal and/or present with severe articulation difficulties. Amy is employed by Cherry Creek School District and recently moved to a new position as an assistive technology specialist. She works with the Supporting Learning through Assistive Technology (SWAAAC) team composed of a PT, OT, special educator, vision specialist, and SLP. Amy also works in private practice with Jill Tullman & Associates in Denver, Colorado. Amy grew up in Michigan and received a BA in Business from Miami University of Ohio. Upon graduation, she began work as a human resource consultant in Chicago. Seeking more contact with a variety of people, she decided to explore a graduate degree in SLP and came to CU to pursue her master’s degree. She chose CU because she felt they offered variety and time to explore speech and language disorders to determine exactly what her career passions were.

Getting results!

Unique experiences in Amy’s life led her to pursue assistive technology. Originally, Amy was interested in stuttering and literacy. She gained valuable experience with those populations but two other circumstances pulled her in another direction. The summer before she came to CU, Amy experienced vocal nodules and was diagnosed with a cyst on one of her vocal folds. She had surgery and was told not to talk for 2 weeks. She began to sense that people were treating her differently during that period, as if she were mentally challenged. Amy is normally an enthusiastic communicator who loves humor and expression. During this period of time she experienced what she described as a “loss of personality”. The experience of communication loss and its connection to expression of self made a deep impression on Amy and motivated her to value alternative communication methods. Her empathy for children who couldn’t express them self grew with her experience at the Talk with Technology Camp, located outside of Empire, Colorado. The camp serves 35-40 children and up to 15 of their siblings each year assisted by 40-50 teachers, therapists, and paraprofessionals. University of Colorado graduate students serve as interns in this productive camp. Amy soon realized that children with limited oral communication skills are prime for technology assistance. Her earlier experience with limited communication helped her understand this on a deeper level and she is poised to help them demonstrate their intelligence and skills in any way she can. Amy believes that “technology is a powerful tool and can provide children with even the most severe and profound communication challenges to opportunity to participate, request, comment, and demonstrate knowledge.” Amy related that she made valuable friendships with fellow students during her time at CU. In fact many members of her 2008 graduating class gather every couple of months to socialize, catch up with one another, and network. Amy values her alumni contact very much and is proud that many of her peers are hard at work in solid positions in Colorado and other states. When asked about her future goals, it became evident that Amy is living her goals right now. She is truly inspired by her current position as an assistive technology specialist and looks forward to expanding her knowledge and practice in that area. As a member of the assistive tech team, she provides AT evaluations on children aged 5 to 18 yrs and consults with other SLPs regarding therapy goals and implementation. She is also interested in pursuing case studies on her clientele to add to the growing interest and knowledge in the AT field. In her off-work hours, Amy is enjoying exploring Colorado and in summer works at Adam’s Camp in Grandby, Colorado, a multidisciplinary therapy camp. Amy just finished “autism week” at the camp and expressed great satisfaction in the experience. You can read more about Amy’s work on the Cherry Creek Schools and Tullman Associates websites: Amy proves that our graduates are making a difference. Best wishes in your AT pursuits and in strengthening connections with your fellow alumni Amy!