We had the good fortune of connecting with Erin Jankus and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Erin, what matters most to you?
My values guide my practice as a speech language pathologist. To put it simply, respect is the foundation to everything we do. I whole-heartedly believe that everyone deserves to be treated with respect, regardless of their age, level of intelligence or socioeconomic status. Therapy Pro’s defining principles are based on my values not only as a therapist, but as a person and a mother. When I leave my children in the care of others, I always hope that they realize those people are my whole world, and I assume every other parent feels exactly like I do about their own children. I care deeply for my clients and their families, both past and present. After clients master their goals and move on with their life, I encourage them to give me updates, and I’m always so excited when they contact me to share stories of their wonderful accomplishments that sometimes begin with being able to tell people around them their thoughts and ideas. I relish these interactions because my whole practice is based on relationships. I prioritize the relationship I have with my clients above all else. Presumed confidence is at the heart of every interaction. At Therapy Pro, we know that every person is capable of communication, and we stop at nothing to make sure each of our clients feels important and valued by us. Often, people struggle to communicate efficiently because they are feeling dysregulated. Some speech language pathologists are reluctant to address sensory processing difficulties because it’s not something that is traditionally within our scope of practice, but what I have learned over the last 22 years is that people learn the most when they feel good and they’re having fun. We look beyond the outward symptoms, always striving to find the root cause for behavior. Unless you can treat the underlying cause for anything, you will never see long-lasting sustainable results. This isn’t just a job for me, it is my life’s passion, and the care that I provide leaves my clients feeling like family.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
When I was a kid, I dreamed of being the next Judy Blume. I wanted to write books that people couldn’t wait to read. Then, in grade school, I met Steven. Steven stuttered and struggled to communicate with everyone around him. I remember wishing I could do something to make his life easier. As I progressed through school, I noticed that I was always drawn to those that needed a little extra help. It’s like someone was whispering in my ear, “This way, this is the way you need to go.” As I started college at Purdue University, I set forth with my original plan in mind (to be an author), but Steven’s face kept floating up in my memories, and I knew I was meant for a different career.

When I graduated from college, I knew that I wanted to live somewhere, anywhere, that was warmer than Chicago, where I grew up, so I headed west, and I got my masters degree from Northern Arizona University. Over the last 22 years, I have worked in a variety of settings with both children and adults. Along the way, I learned so much from my coworkers but I gained so much more knowledge from the people I worked with and their families. They taught me that speech therapy is less about fancy activities and more about the relationship we create as we work toward a common goal.

As I have worked with individuals that struggle to understand language or express themselves effectively, I have found that a working knowledge of sensory processing, cognitive control and executive functioning is critical to their success. I am proud of the way that we do therapy. It is definitely not the traditional therapy one may think of when considering speech therapy. I strive to find strategies that will work for each person’s needs, and if that means marching around with a bucket on my head or going with my client to a stressful meeting or doctor’s appointment, I am there.

I feel that the services we provide are not only innovative and unique but they are tailored to meet each person’s specific needs. I have spent many years studying the correlation between sensory processing and its effect on communication. I am very particular about who I will employ at my clinic. I provide extensive training to SLPs working with me, and I insist that they have a strong understanding of how each client’s nervous system functions.

At Therapy Pro, we are not interested in controlling our clients and forcing them to communicate in order to earn an external reinforcer. We design our therapy to be intrinsically motivating because I believe that people make the most gains when they feel comfortable and fully understand why we are doing what we are doing. The reward is the progress they have made and the pride they feel as a result.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love the mountains. It is my favorite thing about living in Arizona! When people come to visit, I plan a lot of outdoor adventures. I love hiking South Mountain when I am staying in the Phoenix area, but I sometimes insist that we make the drive to check out the beautiful San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff. Riding the ski lift to the top of the mountain in the fall is such a great experience. I also love taking family and friends to Canyon Lake to enjoy some time on the water while taking in the breathtaking scenery. Can you tell I grew up in a place that was completely flat?! (Chicago is a great city, but you can’t beat the mountains in Phoenix!)

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to dedicate this Shoutout to Lindsay Huntington, a specialist in Dyslexia, who owns Reading Pro Learning Center. She helped me tremendously by sharing her office space with me. I would also like to dedicate this to Anissa Padilla who has been my student for the last 3 years and recently started her clinical fellowship at Therapy Pro. These ladies help me every single day, and I am indebted to them.

This is me with my husband Jay and my kids Cameron, Phoebe and our rescue dog Layla

Website: www.therapyproaz.com

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