“I’m in My Dream Job”: Audiologist Reflects on Pediatric Practice Audiologist Reflects on Pediatric Practice In the Limelight
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In the Limelight  |   June 01, 2010
“I’m in My Dream Job”: Audiologist Reflects on Pediatric Practice
Author Notes
  • Kellie Rowden-Racette, print and online editor ofThe ASHA Leader, can be reached at krowden-racette@asha.org.
    Kellie Rowden-Racette, print and online editor ofThe ASHA Leader, can be reached at krowden-racette@asha.org.×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / School-Based Settings / Healthcare Settings / In the Limelight
In the Limelight   |   June 01, 2010
“I’m in My Dream Job”: Audiologist Reflects on Pediatric Practice
The ASHA Leader, June 2010, Vol. 15, 24. doi:10.1044/leader.LML.15072010.24
The ASHA Leader, June 2010, Vol. 15, 24. doi:10.1044/leader.LML.15072010.24

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Name: Alicia White, MS, CCC-AJob title: Pediatric Audiologist, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, Md.
Where are you from?
Oh, I’m from the world! Just kidding—my dad was in the U.S. Army and I was a military brat. We moved around a lot until we landed in Maryland. My parents are originally from here.
How did you get into audiology?
When I was in high school I worked in a daycare center where there were two children with hearing impairments. I learned some sign language to work with them and then wanted to get into something with sign language. At first I wanted to go into nursing but then in college at Towson University I took a sign-language course, which I think is how a lot of people get into communication sciences and disorders, and realized it was in the department of communications. Then one thing led to another and I found audiology.
You’ve been with Hopkins for the past seven years, but have been in the field for more than 20 years. Have you always worked in pediatrics?
No, I started working with all populations—in children’s hospitals, private practices, rehabilitation agencies, physicians’ offices—but in developing my skills I began moving toward pediatrics, which is what I’ve always loved to do.
What do you love about this population?
First, I love to see the growth with the children. I see them from their newborn hearing screenings when you sometimes realize that something isn’t right and the parents are devastated, to the time when these children are getting the right treatment—sometimes cochlear implants or even the right hearing aid—and then they begin talking, going to school, and thriving. It’s so wonderful to see—that’s the best part.
Is it difficult to help the parents when the child is at that first assessment?
Yes, that first appointment can be so difficult, and that is the hardest part of my job. Parents react differently—sometimes they’re gung-ho and ready to start tackling their child’s hearing loss and for others it’s so devastating, they are crying, and it’s just a matter of holding their hands and not saying anything until they are ready. I’ve learned to take my cues from the parents. It’s not the fun part of my job, and I try to be honest with them. I tell them it’s sometimes a long road and there’s a lot of hard work along the way, but their children can achieve great things. And then I have parents come back after I’ve told them that everything is going to be okay and they say “You were right! Everything is okay and my child is doing well!”
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently with your career?
No, now that I look back, everything I did has led up to what I do now—working with the pediatric population, seeing some genetic syndromes you have never heard of, seeing so many sick kids. I’ve worked in a lot of different environments, but they all have prepared me for working here with these children. I truly feel like I’m in my dream job right now.
Alicia White can be reached at awhite23@jhmi.edu.
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June 2010
Volume 15, Issue 7