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The Critical Contributions of Speech-Language Pathologists

Laurentian Alumna Krysta Beaudry helps give a voice to the medical side of speech-language pathology

May 3, 2024 - Speech-language pathologists are key contributors to the education system, and they are well-known for their work with kids in schools. Locally, you would find that many of the speech-language pathologists with the French and English school boards are graduates of the Orthophonie program at Laurentian. Though school settings may be the first to come to mind when thinking about speech-language pathologists, they are not the only space where these practitioners are making an impact.

Krysta Beaudry is a Speech Pathologist at the Timmins and District Hospital. Originally from Timmins, Krysta attended École secondaire catholique Thériault before graduating from Laurentian with a Bachelor of Orthophonie in 2019 and Masters of Orthophonie in 2021. Krysta’s role as a medical speech-language pathologist, offering services to patients in both English and French, shows the many career possibilities as a speech-language pathologist.

Krysta knew speech-language pathology was the career for her once she completed a high school co-op at the Porcupine Health Unit in Timmins. During her undergraduate studies, she built on her experience in health care settings, working as a summer student at various agencies. “These early experiences as a student are when I really got a feel for speech-language pathology as healthcare and fell in love with it,” said Krysta.

“Being from a small city, Laurentian was a really comfortable fit for me,” Krysta said. “I loved the access to nature all around and the small town feeling of the university.” As a French student, the Association des étudiants francophones (AEF) played a big role in Krysta’s student experience. She recalls the community created by the student association and how the activities and bonding made her feel more at ease and at home. Krysta also said that “living in residence was the perfect experience” for her first year away from home. She loved the opportunities to help out with events and was especially happy to take on a leadership role, coordinating the Intramurals Sports program.

During her time at Laurentian, Krysta enjoyed the small class sizes, allowing her to receive direct support from her professors whom she says showed a desire for student success. “I loved the Orthophonie program at Laurentian. The classes were all so open and collaborative,” said Krysta.

Continuing to keep busy and be ambitious, Krysta is currently playing basketball and ringette 3 times a week. She also tutors elementary students in French.

Speech-Language Pathologists assist patients with speech, language, safe swallowing, voice, and cognitive-communication. A large part of Krysta’s current work involves supporting patients recovering from a stroke, those with traumatic brain injuries, and some patients with neurological disorders. “Many people don’t realize that there are tests that we conduct and rehabilitation work that we do with patients that are really medical in nature,” said Krysta. “We’re assessing, working with patients on a treatment plan, collaborating with other healthcare providers, and rehabilitating people’s communication and swallowing.”

The clinical work is rewarding but Krysta says something she values most about her job is the continued advancements in the field of Speech-Language Pathology. “There’s always new and exciting evidence-based practices where standards are always improving. I feel like I’m never doing the same thing year to year because I’m always learning and keeping up with the evolving research,” Krysta said, reflecting on her first three years as a practicing speech-language pathologist. “The scope of practice in this role keeps the job so interesting, no days are the same. Collaborating with other practitioners within a patient’s circle of care in the hospital setting is one of my favorite parts.”