Long before I heard the term “mobile family,” I was already a mobile individual, working as a mobile speech pathologist. I was moving from country to country, setting up home after home with my husband and within a few short years, with our two children. With each move abroad I worked with children in need of speech therapy and other special education services. I helped the families as much as I could for as long as I could. In a mobile population, however, it is hard to work with anyone in person for very long. Although it took several years, I decided to harness technology as a way around this problem. When I heard about online speech therapy, I knew immediately that was the key to helping the families with a lifestyle that kept them on the move. That was how Worldwide Speech was born.
In 2005, my husband and I embarked on the journey of a lifetime when he joined the diplomatic core. Since then it has been a dizzying life of learning new languages, packing out and into houses, meeting uncountable new faces and guiding two children through schools in different countries. With all that moving and constant change, I realized as a mother and speech pathologist a lot about how children are affected by this international lifestyle.
When addressing the needs of children with different leaning styles, limited special education resources in international school isn’t the only issue to face. I was working with children that were growing up in a completely different world from what I knew as a child. I became aware of my clients needs in various ways. For one, a speech therapy company was not enough, we had to grow as a company to provide a variety of online services to help children get what they needed while living outside their families native country. Additionally, as we grew we had to make sure all the therapists understood the mobile life style and the challenges it posed for our clients with learning difficulties. As kids tell their therapists about their most recent trip to Italy, it may sound like a glamorous life but that is not the whole picture. It became my mission to explain the challenges many of our clients face when they are in this life. They regularly enter new schools, schools that may have little or no real knowledge of their needs. They have to constantly say goodbye, make new friends, and always fear they will never see their friends from your previous schools.
I see how it affects everyone. Constant change is both my muse and my downfall. A mobile life means our lives are constant and predictable for varying periods of time, but not permanently. Our friendships we make during different periods are often transient and become only distant memories. My children are young but at age twelve, my daughter can not remember what kindergarten in the US was like.
I built this company with the mobile family in mind. Though my experience working in US schools taught me much, my life as an expat helped inspired me to build Worldwide Speech. A company that offers online special education services with the needs of the mobile family at its heart.
I’ve come to understand the average Worldwide Speech client as a person living with mobility. But our clients still all have their own individual needs and identities. People living mobile lifestyles identify as expats, digital nomads, missionaries, world schoolers, location independent families, and the list goes on. What we all share in common is that we move a lot and are often not in our home countries. For some of us, our children do no identify with life in their home country but rather with the passport they carry.
Worldwide Speech is dedicated to the needs of this population and works to meet the needs of each client. We provide all our special needs services online and work very hard to meet the demands of different time zones around the world. When thinking about how best to serve a child or client, we consider the living environment and education facility or program. It forces us to see the client as more than a child with a specific need but as a whole person that needs to be considered as multidimensional.
It is our privilege to work with our clients and with every new family we serve, we learn something more about the world.
Please check out some of our favorite International groups and books below!
- Families in Global Transition: https://www.figt.org/
- FIGT Counseling Affiliate: https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=figt%20counseling%20and%20coaching%20affiliate&epa=SEARCH_BOX
- Safe Passage Across Networks (SPAN): https://spanconference.com/
- I Am A Triangle: http://iamatriangle.com/
- Tandem Nomads: https://tandemnomads.com/
- Insured Nomads: https://www.insurednomads.com/
- Safe Passage by Douglas W. Ota
- Emotional Resilience and the Expat Child by Julia Simens
- Third Culture Kids by David C. Pollack, Ruth E. Van Reken, Micheal V. Pollack
- Slurping Soup and Other Confusions by Tonges,Menezes,Gemmer Emigh
- B At Home by Valerie Besanceney
- My Moving Booklet by Valerie Besanceney