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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Virginia Delegate Credits Speech Therapy for Career Success

By Noell Saunders

Delegate Jason Miyares of Virginia Beach's 82nd District visited Old Dominion recently to discuss his family's struggle overcoming disabilities with a group of students who are part of the University's chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA).

Miyares has a hearing disability that affected his speech as a child. His fraternal twin brother also suffers from a hearing disability and his youngest daughter has a motor speech disorder called apraxia.

"I've learned to have so much patience because of being a father to a child with apraxia; more patience than I ever thought," he told the crowd.

Miyares praised the group of aspiring speech language pathologists and audiologists; telling them their dedication working long hours is why he was able to become an attorney, a prosecutor and a politician.

"It's a life changing impact and it's truly an incredibly noble one because, how many people can say 'I go to work everyday planting seeds?'" Miyares said.

Miyares recalled being a shy boy who was embarrassed because he couldn't pronounce words correctly. He said, although he dreaded going to therapy, today he wishes he could thank the team who helped him succeed.

"People invested in my life and took me out of class everyday," he said. "If there's anything the speech therapists gave me more than anything else, it was confidence."

The Old Dominion University chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association is a professional organization that strives to enrich the academic and social lives of its undergraduate and graduate students while developing pre-professional skills and contributing to the community.

JoAnna Decker, the chapter's president, said having students hear from different speakers gives them a sense of what they will face in their future careers.

"We try to educate students about the various people they may come in contact with as professionals whether it be in early childhood intervention, special education or other areas," she said.

Guest speakers are invited each fall and spring semesters to share stories and experiences with NSSLHA members and anyone else from Old Dominion's campus community.