Melanie McGriff | Speech Language Pathologist, Kids’ Creek Therapy
Communication is key to success in almost any situation. As a speech language pathologist, Melanie McGriff knows that more than most. For the past 16 years, she has owned and operated Kids’ Creek Therapy in Suwanee. When COVID arrived, her patients didn’t exactly stop needing her services. Fortunately, her practice was already offering teletherapy and they were able to pivot rather quickly to an online platform.
Because patients could not be face-to-face with their therapists, Melanie employs about 15, parents had to get much more involved. She even had care packages available to send out to patients with materials and supplies to help them continue their therapy at home. “It has been exciting for parents to see the changes and progress in their children firsthand in their home environments,” says Melanie. “There have been many moments we have celebrated with parents during the pandemic: children who have communicated their first words, made sounds for the first time, learned how to help with small tasks in the kitchen and children who have moved from crawling to standing without assistance.”
While some children have understandably had difficulties with virtual therapy, Melanie says a number of them actually seem to do better with it. “It’s a combination of experiencing therapy through a new delivery method and parent participation,” she says, noting that because parents are taking a much more active role, kids are receiving more consistent practice with their exercises. “Because parents are seeing progress in real time, they have become so much more involved.”
Her patients aren’t the only ones Melanie has been taking care of; the wellbeing of the Kids’ Creek staff has been equally important. “A few weeks into the COVID-19 shut down, Melanie sent a personal email to the spouses of all employees,” writes Myraline Darius, the practice’s office manager. In her email she encouraged her staff’s loved ones to be understanding and supportive during this time, explaining that therapy was a very socially interactive job and that many of the staff may feel empty or isolated moving forward. “It is my privilege to have your loved one as an employee,” wrote Melanie. “I am working daily during this time securing all opportunities that we become aware of to help my staff.”