Audiologist: Don't sell hearing impaired short
Not so, according to Dr. Michelle Saltarrelli, owner and director of Autumn Oak Speech, Voice & Hearing in Friendswood.
“I am very passionate when treating children and adults with hearing loss and speech disorders,” Saltarrelli said. “Helping patients gain the essential tools of speech and hearing is an amazing journey that I am honored to be a participating member alongside each patient.”
Saltarrelli observes the trials and tribulations that her patients endure due to speech disorders or hearing loss and receives invaluable insight into these issues. Stories of sorrow are often shared, like the lack of understanding of the patient’s family members and general public.
“Unfortunately, when one has a speech disorder or hearing loss, it is not unusual to be perceived as unintelligent by strangers,” Saltarrelli said. “When a disability is obvious to others, empathy, understanding and patience are typically offered. It is for this reason that public awareness is vital for tolerance and acceptance. One way to achieve this is through educating others about the beauty of difference, not necessarily disordered.”
Through philanthropic work, Saltarrelli hopes to educate the public on speech and hearing. She has a personal affinity for art, especially when created by local artists. So Saltarrelli has asked high school art students from Dawson, Pearland and Friendswood to interpret speech disorders and hearing loss through any medium -- and has turned the request into a contest of sorts.
“This exercise is to evoke understanding, then hopefully empathy and acceptance, for those with hearing loss and speech disorders,” Saltarrelli said.
Each high school will have a monetary first prize of $100, second prize of $75 and third prize of $50. The winning artwork will be displayed at the Autumn Oak Speech, Voice & Hearing clinic.
“The gifts of tolerance and acceptance help make this world a better place,” Saltarrelli said. “I hope to facilitate those gifts in our own, homegrown youth.”
NAME: Dr. Michelle Saltarrelli
OCCUPATION: Doctor of audiology and speech-language pathologist
COMMUNITY CONNECTION: Pearland resident
FAST FACT: She loves to run and is a self-described coffee addict.
Matt Mackinder is a freelance writer. He can be reached at email@example.com.