A VSU alumna finds her calling in speech therapy

September 23 – VALDOSTA – Kimberly Barnes, a Valdosta State University alum, has found her calling in the special education sector as the new clinical director of VocoVision.

VocoVision is a leading provider of telepractice services for US schools across the country. The Columbus-based company supports and collaborates with teachers and telepractice clinicians who provide speech therapy services to K-12 students.

Barnes received his Bachelor of Science and Masters in Communication Disorders from VSU. She also holds a state license in speech-language pathology in Georgia and Maryland, as well as a certificate of clinical competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Barnes will oversee and support the delivery of speech-language pathology telepractice services for K-12 schools and school districts nationwide.

She said she grew up with a heritage in public school systems as her mother worked as a speech pathologist for the Muscogee County school system for more than 30 years.

While she started out as a music student at VSU, she found herself drawn to working with students in need of speech therapy services.

“I grew up hearing about this; I’ve always loved seeing Mom work with this population of special education students. I have a family full of educators, so getting into speech therapy made the most sense. for me because I’ve always enjoyed working with children and trying to help solve their articulation and language needs,” she said.

For the past 14 years, Barnes has provided in-person and virtual speech-language pathology services and developed individualized education plans for students who have various types of communication disorders in public schools and private practice.

She mentioned that one of her major accomplishments was when she served as the Director of the Special Education Department for Harris County Schools during the 2017-2018 school year, overseeing SPED teachers. of the department and nearly 100 students.

In this role, she championed a school-wide program that empowered teachers and students to learn functional sign language with the goal of improving communication with language-dependent students. signs as a mode of communication.

Despite her dedication to helping hundreds of school children, Barnes said the stress of constantly being on site led her to explore new opportunities with VocoVision when a recruiter noted her previous work.

“After about 10 years in person, I experienced what people would call burnout. I have a heavy workload with school systems and working in person was a bit too much. Having a child and a family to me was when I got really interested in working with teletherapy,” she said.

“I have worked in both Georgia and Maryland over the years for a variety of counties moving from place to place. From Valdosta, to Columbus, to all of Georgia, to Maryland and vice- versa. What led to the change is that when you work face-to-face, there is a lot of pressure… when you do teletherapy, you have the support system of your contracted company and the different teams like the clinical and technical teams, you have your recruiter supporting you. You feel like you have a bit more support and you’ll be better able to serve the students.”

Melissa White, director of clinical services at VocoVision, said Barnes’ dedication to enriching students’ communication skills and her prioritization of inclusion in working with parents and educators made her a natural candidate for the role.

“It was clear from our interview with Kim that her experience in both schools and telepractice would be invaluable to our clinical team. She had leadership experience that would help us support telepractitioners and the students they provide services to. Kim thinks outside of the ‘therapy box’ and comes up with solutions that make sense in the virtual world,” she said.

For more information about VocoVision and teletherapy, visit https://www.vocovision.com/.

About Hector Hedgepeth

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