SLP Achieves Dream of Nonprofit Private Practice Like many graduates in speech-language pathology, when Tabitha Reuter graduated from Minnesota State University (MSU) with her master’s degree, she may not have known exactly where she wanted to work, but she definitely knew she wanted to help individuals with communication disorders. And, she says, she didn't want to be ... Features
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Features  |   July 01, 2010
SLP Achieves Dream of Nonprofit Private Practice
Author Notes
  • Kellie Rowden-Racette, print and online editor for The ASHA Leader , can be reached at krowden-racette@asha.org.
    Kellie Rowden-Racette, print and online editor for The ASHA Leader , can be reached at krowden-racette@asha.org.×
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Practice Management / Professional Issues & Training / Features
Features   |   July 01, 2010
SLP Achieves Dream of Nonprofit Private Practice
The ASHA Leader, July 2010, Vol. 15, 29. doi:10.1044/leader.FTR4.15082010.29
The ASHA Leader, July 2010, Vol. 15, 29. doi:10.1044/leader.FTR4.15082010.29

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Like many graduates in speech-language pathology, when Tabitha Reuter graduated from Minnesota State University (MSU) with her master’s degree, she may not have known exactly where she wanted to work, but she definitely knew she wanted to help individuals with communication disorders. And, she says, she didn't want to be limited to whom she helped or how often.
So when she and her husband moved to rural Le Mars, Iowa, to be near his family, Reuter decided that instead of going to work for the public school system, she would take a chance and open her own nonprofit private practice, Catching Dreams, to help area children get more practice in developing speech-language skills in addition to the services they received in school.
“I have such respect for the SLPs who work in the schools, but typically they have such big caseloads and sometimes limited budgets,” Reuter said. “I wanted a place where families could bring their children to receive additional services and get that extra help that could really make a difference in the long run. If they can get to me, I will help them.”
And helping children realize their full potentials is very important to Reuter. Her brother, who is nearly 11 years younger, has autism and has benefitted greatly from the speech-language services he received as a child. Growing up, Reuter witnessed how frustrating it was for her brother to be unable to communicate his wants and needs. As a teenager, she would babysit for him and carry over exercises from the speech-language services he received. This experience left a deep impression, and drove her decision to pursue speech-language pathology as a major at the University of South Dakota and her master’s degree at MSU.
“It was always amazing to me what progress he made from receiving speech-language services,” Reuter said of her brother. “And the field was such a perfect fit for me—I love to talk and here is a career that pays you to talk! Everyone needs and wants to communicate and I wanted to help.”
Catching Dreams, which opened in 2008 in Reuter’s basement, serves children ages birth through 18. Reuter conducts evaluations, provides individual services, works on social skills, and makes referrals to other service providers. She collaborates with each child’s school-based SLP and works toward Individual Education Program goals.
And Catching Dreams is entirely nonprofit. Although some parents are able to make donations, Reuter doesn’t charge families for her services. Fundraising—an integral part of her daily and weekly workload—keeps the practice going. Reuter and her volunteers are always asking area businesses for donations, and are planning other fundraising activities such as pizza nights and 5K and 10K runs. As they raise the funds, Reuter said, they will take on more clients.
“It was very important to me that this be a nonprofit. I didn’t want parents to be unable to provide this service for their children,” she said. “All of my clients receive services in their schools and now instead of waiting to practice their skills, they get more practice time with me.”
Reuter has big dreams for her nonprofit. She envisions one day moving into private space, adding more clinicians, having a sensory room, and hiring support staff. “A secretary, for example, would be really helpful!” she laughed.
Reuter reports that her brother, who was the inspiration behind her career and her organization, is doing very well. At age 16 he is mainstreamed in high school (one of his classes is an advanced science class) and just earned his first-level black belt in karate.
“We’ve formed a close bond and he’s a really special kid,” Reuter said. “He’s still a tremendous inspiration for me.”
Tabitha Reuter can be reached at catchingdreamsclinic@hotmail.com.
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July 2010
Volume 15, Issue 8