The Importance of Having an Advocate, Part 2, by Eileen

By February 17, 2020 NVLD Bloggers

As time has gone by I have often heard stories about NVLD individuals lacking meaningful adult and peer support. I strongly believe this happens because families think it is better to do the journey alone which I believe is a real mistake as support is vital for success. For me personally I was fortunate that Patty Bell, my speech therapist right away took a tremendous interest in me much like my coach, Jim Adams, whom I wrote about in Part 1.

When Patty started working with me I knew immediately there was no slacking allowed in her room. However, it was also clear if I chose to work hard she was going to be a real advocate for me. Her level of care and wanting nothing but successful outcomes was impressive. Truthfully, her love and toughness was the perfect combination for me as I knew I couldn’t give up in her room. This lead to several difficult moments as often I didn’t want to be in her room though I continued to see how much she cared about my success and that she believed in me. Throughout it all by working together it lead to successful outcomes.

Photo courtesy of Eileen

Later on when my frustrations became severe Patty was the adult who understood the reason for them. This was when I knew how much of an advocate she was for me. At the beginning or the end of each session we would talk over things together. This was key for me as I could let my feelings out along with improving my conversation and articulation skills both which were deficits for me. Her remarkable guidance got me through my hardest difficulties.

Even after I was no longer her student , she continued to be a strong advocate for me. For example when she learned I was accepted to Dean College she gave my parents and I the biggest congratulations. Afterwards we enjoyed such a heart to heart conversation and I could see so well how much Patty has believed in me. Once I got to college the heart to heart conversations continued each time I saw her. Each visit truly made me feel so fortunate she was still an incredible advocate of mine.

Today Patty is my go to person for support and guidance. For example she has taken such deep interest in my NVLD Project work. The inspiring and encouraging feedback she gives me has allowed me to never lose faith in my abilities. Also when I am feeling down she gets me back to seeing everything in a positive light. Her incredible advocacy and friendship is honestly the biggest reason why in adulthood I can accept my NVLD.

As you go through your journey remember you won’t find advocates overnight and it requires hard work on your end. However I can say with great confidence gaining an advocate will make the journey easier just like Patty and Jim made life easier for me. Advocacy is truly key for success!


I so love Patty Bell and find her to be the greatest advocate you could ever ask for!

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