Speech therapist Patti McAfee has retired from All About Kids, the early intervention program of Opportunity Enterprises, after 19 years of service.
After graduating from Purdue University and working for a few years in her field, McAfee started working at Valparaiso University, where she taught a class and served as a clinical supervisor for undergraduate students in the speech pathology program. McAfee was sad when the program was eliminated after her first year there, but it allowed her the opportunity to begin her career with All About Kids.
McAfee has always enjoyed her work, and has been extremely fulfilled by her interactions with the children and families she’s worked with. “What a joy it’s been working with 2-year-olds. They have always put an immediate smile on my face, no matter what challenges I may have been facing!” shares McAfee.
McAfee has developed some wonderful relationships with families, and gotten to be part of some very special moments over the years.
“There have been so many incredible moments I’ve been part of,” McAfee remembers, “One day I was leaving the therapy session of a little girl who was autistic and non-verbal. She was with her grandma that day, and as I was walking out the door she said ‘Bye-bye!’ to me – the first words she had ever spoken. What an honor it was for me to share that moment!”
“One of the best things about my job has been helping parents learn how to help their children,” McAfee continues. “Therapists can help parents by breaking down skills like language development into tiny steps that most parents take for granted. Most parents don’t even notice pre-verbal skills like shared attention to a task, imitation of motor acts, and turn-taking, let alone recognize them as part of the speech development process. Once parents can recognize these skills, they can celebrate them, giving them a renewed sense of hope and motivation to keep working with their kids.”
McAfee is also extremely grateful to OE for supporting her career over the years. “I love OE, and am so happy to have worked here,” shares McAfee. “Everyone is so caring, and the people who work here aren’t just doing a job. Their work comes from their hearts, and this allows them to enrich lives and provide a wonderful service to the community.”
“Sally (Gaff) is the best boss in the world,” she continues. “I don’t know how I could have done any better. I will be forever grateful for the support OE has provided.”
In her retirement, McAfee plans to spend more time with her 90-year-old mother, and also plans to clean and organize her house, and is looking forward to sorting through the “37 years of stuff” she has accumulated. She is also excited to travel and spend more time with her husband, Dr. Larry McAfee, who is also retiring from his veterinary practice in Valparaiso.
All About Kids has been providing developmental services to thousands of children for three decades, and specializes in home-based physical, occupational, speech, and developmental therapy for children with developmental delays from birth through the age of three. The program also includes integrated playgroups for two and three year olds led by trained therapists.
To find out more about All About Kids, visit www.aakoe.org or contact program manager Laura Green at firstname.lastname@example.org or (219) 464-9621, ext. 622.
Since 1967, OE has been a non-profit organization which creates sustainable life choices and opportunities for individuals with unique challenges and abilities. Today, OE serves 1,100 adults and children with disabilities in Porter County and throughout Northwest Indiana. For more information, visit www.oppent.org.