From Student to Professor: Judy Manning
Judy Manning knew that she wanted to be a speech therapist ever since she was in 9th grade and her mother enrolled her in a special science program where she had the chance to work with a speech pathologist.
A few years later, she attended an Open House at Pace University and sat in on a communication sciences and disorders class. The program was small and hands-on. During that class, she got to observe an oral motor exam, looking into a client’s mouth to determine whether the structure was typical. Between the practical experience and the close-knit feel, she knew she wanted to attend Pace and she wanted to major in Communication Sciences and Disorders.
Nearly 30 years later, Manning is an adjunct professor in the department, and a supervisor for the New York City Department of Education, overseeing all speech programs in the city’s public schools. She also serves as the city’s Director for the Center for Assistive Technology, proving alternative and augmentative communication for students with special needs.
She just wrote the guidebook on assistive technology for all the public schools in New York City, and is working on a Speech Standards of Practice to be used throughout the city’s schools so that all students in the New York City school system will receive the same attention.
This is her 27th year in the field, and she said not a single day has felt like work.
“I still have a great passion for speech pathology, and when I inspire my students and therapists, I know I have succeeded,” she said.
Early success came from helping her clients. She remembers working with a five-year-old girl who was totally non-verbal, and could not say her own name. Manning worked with this child five days a week for years.
“I always remembered one of my professors saying, ‘Look for each child’s strength,’” she said. “And I knew that she liked music, so I started working with her using music, and one day I got her to speak.”
Manning continued to work with her for a few years and by the end she was speaking full sentences.
“She could say Mommy and Daddy, and she had become part of the world. That is what it’s all about,” she said.
Her classes at Pace prepared Manning for her profession, she says, even more so than graduate school. The curriculum was rigorous, and her professors demanded a lot from her especially in learning how to conduct research, but when she did get to graduate school, she felt she had a leg up on her peers.
“I think that if I did not go to Pace, I would not be prepared for graduate school or the profession,” she said. “At Pace, they make it practical with the opportunity to work with clients, and really teach you how to conduct research.”
Her advice to her students now: “Embrace your profession with passion.”