Learn the personal story about what inspired the creation of NTR.
Sandy Broderway, MS, CCC-SLP, is the owner and director of National TeleTherapy Resources (NTR). It’s a therapy practice that specializes in providing a variety of services to children via digital infrastructure rather than in person.
But, she didn’t make the decision to start an innovative business with only her head. She led with her heart.
A Personal-Professional Journey
When Sandy’s son, Brandon, was born, he weighed 2 pounds, 15 ounces. He was often ill as an infant, and when he entered the toddler stage, Sandy and her husband noticed some delays in walking and talking. He also had some vision deficits.
They immediately started occupational and speech therapy and were happy to see Brandon progressing over the years.
But, when he began kindergarten, things changed. Brandon struggled to stay on task and complete assignments. Sandy realized that the school may not be able to provide Brandon with all the attention that he needed.
“It wasn’t the school’s fault,” Sandy said. “They just didn’t have the resources. So, we moved to a district that had the resources we needed. And, I made a decision.”
Sandy decided to go back to school and get a master’s degree in Communication Disorders.
“I wanted three things from this degree,” she said. “I wanted to understand the challenges my child was dealing with, I wanted to be able to help other parents in their journeys, and I wanted to help schools find a way to provide needed resources no matter where they were located.”
After graduating, Sandy worked in a variety of environments including hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and schools. She was also approached by someone who wanted to develop a teletherapy practice, but the opportunity didn’t work out.
Over the next several months, however, her thoughts kept returning to the concept in relation to schools that lacked therapy resources.
Launching Telehealth for Kids
In 2015, she launched National TeleTherapy Resources, and today, she works through school districts providing teletherapy services to students throughout the country.
She credits her journey with Brandon in better understanding the dynamics involved in the child-parent-teacher-therapist relationship.
Today, Brandon is a thriving and active high school graduate who loves cars. People describe him as “smart, a big personality, and a great problem solver,” Sandy says. “Brandon has a big heart, especially when it comes to his younger brother.”
“He reminds me every day why I believe in this business.”
Advice for Parents
From a personal and professional perspective, Sandy has a few suggestions for parents recognizing that their child may need assistance with developmental issues.
If you are noticing deficits, seek out information and resources. For example, if a child is slow to talk, take notice.
“A child’s ability to say ‘my name is….’ is foundational to his or her communication skills in the future,” Sandy explains. “It opens the door to forming relationships.”
Don’t be afraid of technologies and assistive devices. Be open with the people who surround your child (teachers, other students, and their parents) about what those devices do and how they help.
“Ask to do a show-and-tell in the classroom about a wheelchair or an Alternative/Augmented Communication device,” she said. “It builds understanding, curiosity and empathy in classmates.”
Understand that every child (regardless of ability) learns differently and at a different pace. Any gain is a great gain regardless of pace.
Follow the Joy
Find the things that the child loves and does well. It brings joy, builds confidence, and creates the opportunity for the family to engage more fully with the child at many levels.
In Brandon’s case, it was golf. He began playing with a friend, Sandy says. “He had an amazing swing. He eventually took lessons, joined the golf team at school, and competed in tournaments.”
Participate in Therapy
Participate in as many therapy sessions as you can. Understanding what is being done and why it’s being done is critical to moving therapy from an hour or two a week to incorporating strategies into your everyday lives.
If you’re frustrated, they get frustrated. If they’re frustrated, they lose confidence and quit.
Be an Advocate
Finally, be an advocate for your child. Don’t always assume that an approach that works for another student is the right approach for your child. You know your child best and know best how they can and will succeed.
Partner with NTR
If you’re a teacher, school administrator, school therapist or parent who would like to learn more about how National TeleTherapy Resources collaborates with schools to improve outreach and help more kids through occupational therapy, speech therapy, or other related services, contact Sandy today.
Call her at today at 844-NTR-LINK, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.