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I feel I have the best job in the world because I get to meet the finest people in my profession. I recently got talking with my classmate from college, Janani Jeyaraman and I couldn’t help but admire her success and inspirational achievements. I take this opportunity on SLP Day, to introduce to you a wondrous lady as we recognise Janani Jeyaraman’s stellar contribution to Speech Language Pathology.
Meet the star of the day Janani Jeyaraman. A Speech Language Pathologist, a Clinical Manager, an Author, a Researcher and an Entrepreneur, all rolled in one pack! Janani is a seasoned professional with 8 years of experience in working with Cochlear Implant Programs powered by MED -EL in India, Nepal, Bangladesh & Sri lanka. She is the first Speech Pathologist with LSLS Cert AVT certification. She has some research work to her credit and has also published a Book titled MED-EL Rehabilitation Academy: Desk Reference for CI Rehabilitation Professionals.
She founded her NGO, Athreya Foundation with her sister to help underprivileged children with special needs.
Here is an excerpt from our riveting conversation.
Q. What is your typical day at work?
I don’t have typical work schedule at work as I have to visit different centres and that’s the best part about my job. Some days begin as early as 3.00am and some end as late as 11.00pm. When I visit a centre I interact with professionals and parents and try to support them in whatever way I can to help them achieve better outcomes with a cochlear implant
Q. What is your educational background?
I did my Bachelors( B.Sc, Speech and Hearing) and Masters (Speech Language Pathology) from All India institute of Speech and Hearing
Q. You work very closely helping people on a daily basis. Are there any challenges you come across when trying to encourage people to move forward?
We wish that every family we work with follows our recommendations to word, which is not always the case. I observe that when relevance of chosen goals are explained thoroughly and plans are made in agreement with the family, the chances for success and cooperation are better.
Some families need time to cope up with different stress that disability poses. Being patient and being an active listener is important for such families.
Q. You travel extensively for work. Does it affect your personal life?
I have been asked this specific question several times. Traveling profile does causes some minor inconveniences but I have opted to overlook those. As I get to interact with different types of people while travelling, it has made me wiser and has changed my perspective about life greatly.
Q. You run an NGO for children, tell us how that idea germinated and does being an SLP help you manage your NGO.
I strongly believe that every child deserves qualitative and creative learning opportunities. Unfortunately children with complex needs (disabilities) and specially those from an underprivileged background do not have access to similar and nurturing learning environments that might be available to, lets say my nephew. My sister and I felt that providing access to such opportunities to those who deserve it, needed to be our primary focus and thus our trust, the Athreya Foundation was born. It is still at its infancy and we hope to grow and support more children as we move forward.
Q. What according to you are the growth prospects of being an SLP in India?
When I was pursuing my Masters in SLP, I was given the impression that the scope of practice for an SLP was either at a private clinic or at a hospital or in academics. I was the first SLP to work as rehabilitation specialist with a hearing implant manufacturer. It was uncharted territory and I was sceptical about the path my career would take but I took a leap of faith and have not regretted that decision till date. The scope of an SLP has expanded since those days and I feel there are good prospects for SLPs who focus on specialization rather than general practice.
Q.Your advice for young people pursuing Speech Language Pathology/Audiology as a career.
Advice is a big word. I would rather share my guiding philosophy at practice: every family that we support should leave our session with a sense of confidence and success.
This interview was conducted by our founder Pratiksha Gupta