Most of us can’t wait for retirement, but when 100 Mile House resident Susan Fryer was recently asked what the hardest part of her job as speech language pathology assistant was, she replied “Having to think about retirement.”
Her outstanding commitment to her job and the children she works with was recently awarded with the Canadian Audiologist Speech Language Pathology Assistant (CASLPA) Supportive Personnel Award of Excellence for Canada.
A newcomer to the field, Fryer graduated from Alberta’s Grant MacEwan College in 2010. While working full time as a teaching assistant for speech and language with School District #27, Fryer completed this distance education course with a GPA of 4.0.
It’s hard not to be caught up in her enthusiasm for what she does, her love of the children she works with, and the laughter in her voice as she talks about her passion.
“I have so much fun. My husband always comments on how happy I am when I come home.
“I love the kids. I love their successes and they make the job great. It’s not a chore and every day is a joy.”
The best part of the job, she says, is seeing the children’s successes and how they feel when they are successful.
The job is intense and the workload heavy. Fryer goes into five elementary schools in the 100 Mile House area and works with 55 to 60 children once or twice a week, depending on how often she can get into the schools. She may have nine therapy sessions in one day, including group sessions with up to four children.
There is an enormous amount of preparatory work, organization and time management requirements, Fryer says, adding she needs to stay on top of new developments and therapies, create new ideas for the children, and maintain positive working relationships with colleagues and school district staff at all levels.
Fryer also sees home-schooled students – all under the supervision of speech language pathologists from Williams Lake.
“When I got the notification that I had won the award, I was shocked and humbled. So there I am, in front of over 300 people at the banquet from across Canada and stumbling over what to say.”
However, Fryer says it isn’t about the award; it’s all about the children.
“Every day, there’s a little story and it’s always joyful. Some days it just makes your heart melt.”