Courtesy University Communications
With only the knowledge that she wanted to work with kids in some way, Bryn Brown followed her high school best friend to Marshall University.
“I lived on the eighth floor of towers, where I met a fellow CD [communication disorders] major,” Brown said.
That study partner ended up being with Brown throughout not only her undergraduate degree and graduate program, but now the two work together.
“I am blessed to call her a colleague within the MUCD [Marshall University Communications Disorder] department,” Brown said.
Although, Brown was not sure what she wanted to do in terms of her career, but said she could not imagine her career being in any other field.
“I love, love, love my job,” Brown said. “I love working with infants and toddlers and their feeding or motor speech disorders. I love having the ability to continue learning and growing to decrease job fatigue. I have met many, many great families and other therapist who have become friends.”
Brown graduated Marshall in 1998 with her undergraduate degree and again in 2000 with a Master of Arts in Communication Disorders. She opened her own business in 2018, Simply Feeding LLC, providing services to families with delays or disorders related to feeding and language within the West Virginian Birth to Three program.
Developing her skills as a professional is something Brown said keeps the job interesting. Earlier this year she became the first board certified orofacial myologist in West Virginia through the International Association of Orofacial Myology (IAOM).
“As a professional, my specialization is pediatric feeding disorders and motor speech disorders,” Brown said. “This certification process has helped me to grow and further understand the orofacial complex, including intricacies of how the jaw, lips and tongue work together independently.”
With the new training, Brown is able to treat more people with better skills.
“It has enhanced my ability to access and treat a child’s chew and swallow patters, as well as his/her speech articulation skills,” Brown said. “It has also opened up my practice to include young and older adults with signs and symptoms of temporomandibular dysfunction.”
The orofacial myologist certification process included a 28-hour course through IOAM, a written exam over the six-month course, a written query of Brown’s evaluation and treatment programs and written explanations, with documentation of how she currently treats disorders relating to orofacial myofunctional disorders with her current work.
Brown said her focus and goal has always been to work with pediatric feeding disorders (PFD).
“When I graduated with my masters, this was an area that was just being introduced in the world of speech pathology,” Brown said. “It has been fun to watch this area grow and develop.”
Being with this specific area of pathology since the beginning and watching it grow is what led Brown back to Marshall.
“When a clinical position opened to at Marshall University Speech and Hearing Center, I felt led to accept the position that would allow me to work and train graduate students currently in the MUCD program to further facilitate their understanding in the diagnosis and treatment of PDFs and now [I will} be able to expand that to include orofacial myofunctional disorders,” Brown said.
While speech and feeding are everyday parts of life for everyone, Brown said it can be hard to separate life and work.
“I feel like I am always looking, listening and assessing a person’s swallow and articulation skills,” Brown said.
Along with all of her work in the speech world, Brown has two active teenagers and loves to spend time with family. She said it is possible to juggle both.
“While my husband, Matt and I, were raising our two children, I was fortunate enough to work part-time, initially in the school system,” Brown said. “Then WV Birth to Three and in the pediatric outpatient setting. This allowed me to keep learning, growing and pursuing my passions within the fields a couple days a week and to stay home with my children and to attend all of their school functions and sporting events.”
Brown said her best piece of advice is to find a company that invests in you and values your priorities in both your personal and professional life.
“The company I worked for allowed me to set my own schedule, to be present for my family and continually encouraged continuing education and to pursue my passion,” Brown said. “This balanced helped me to have a great work [and] home life balance.”
Brown loves her job and professional pathway she said, which makes work not seem like work.
“Love what you do,” Brown said.