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Standing: Cassandra Scott, Jessi Hogan M.S., CCC-SLP, Erica Hawks M.A., CCC-SLP, Amy Bradley B.S., SLPA

Seated: Kristi Kelly M.S., CCC-SLP, Mari Gottlieb M.A., CF-SLP, Katelyn Leedom M.S., CCC-SLP

Kristi Kelly, a Strong Female Role Model By Kyle Eustice


After earning her undergraduate degree at Our Lady of the Lake in San Antonio, Texas, Fort Collins transplant Kristi Kelly set out to get her masters at Abilene Christian University, graduating in 2006 with her Master’s of Science in Communication Disorders. The 36-year-old mother of two knew she wanted to pursue a career in speech therapy, something she’d figured out as a young adult. In 2013, she made her dream come true and opened up her own private practice — Aspen Speech Therapy. “My mom is a nurse and worked in the ICU at a hospital,” Kelly says “She was pretty well established and high ranked, and became a nurse educator. One day, I shadowed a physical therapist, speech therapist and an occupational therapist. I fell in love with speech therapy. I was probably in high school at the time, right before college when I was trying to figure out my career path .” Kelly started out at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins and worked there for five years


until the hospital began the transition to UC Health. “Health care in Fort Collins was dynamically changing,” she explains. “I always knew I wanted to own a private practice and grow as a speech therapist in this setting, but as a young professional new to the field, you can’t go open a clinic right away. You have to build your skills as a therapist and establish your reputation with physicians, colleagues and the local community. “I was able to do this working at the hospital, and identify the huge need within Northern Colorado for a speech therapy clinic. The hospital transition was a perfect opportunity for me to pursue my dream of having a private practice,” she adds. In 2013, Kelly opened her first Aspen Speech Therapy location and two years later opened a second one in Fort Collins. She’s never looked back.


Aspen Speech Therapy treats people of all ages with a multitude of conditions. According to its website, it specializes in “dysphagia, cognitive and language disorders related to neurological impairments or injury, voice problems and other speech therapy related issues.” It’s also the only private practice

in Northern Colorado trained in performing Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing. Speech therapy is not solely about teaching children how to pronounce their “R's,” which Kelly says is a common misconception. “Most people don’t know what a speech therapist is beyond the basic misarticulation of sounds” she says. “We work with people who have head/neck/throat cancer who can’t swallow because of surgery or intense radiation, we rehab their muscles involved in swallowing and teach them how to eat and drink again. We treat patients with vocal cord issues — from P.E teachers to cheerleaders who overuse their voice. We work with cognitive issues with the elderly population or people involved in car accidents who sustain a traumatic brain injury. We work on language, and social skills for children with autism, too. Most people are not aware of all of the medically focused stuff we do.” For Kelly, it’s her life’s mission. Since she was young, she always wanted to serve others in some way. As a speech therapist, she essentially gives people a voice again. “If you can’t eat and drink or communicate, why even be here?” she says. “If you can’t communicate effectively your quality of life suffers. I can help people.” STYLEMEDIA.COM

2017-09 Lydia's Style Magazine  
2017-09 Lydia's Style Magazine  

Annual Breast Cancer Issue!