Yadira Medina-Torres: The Power of Early Intervention
"As a Spanish language spokesperson, I’ve been able to help with some of the cultural myths and beliefs within our society."
Like so many other ASHA members, Yadira Medina-Torres cares very deeply about early detection of communication disorders and the power of early intervention. However, she is unique in that her connection to the issue is both professional and personal. Her son had multiple disabilities, and when he was born she had no idea what the early warning signs of communication disorders were.
“It wasn’t until I went to a bigger hospital that I was given information on early detection,” says Medina-Torres. “I was fortunate enough to see the wonderful outcomes of early intervention, therefore I wanted to contribute back to my community and share the information that helped my family.”
With her son now grown, and her growing practice helping children with some of the most severe communication issues, Medina-Torres was ready to step up to the plate and help spread the word about early detection and intervention. To that end, Medina-Torres served as a Spanish language spokesperson for the Identify the Signs campaign. She conducted interviews with Spanish radio stations across the country, speaking about the early signs of communication disorders and where to seek professional help.
“It was a very rewarding experience,” says Medina-Torres. “I’ve been able to help with some of the cultural myths and beliefs within our society. It was empowering to make sure parents understand the difference between what we consider to be culturally acceptable and what is a true sign of a delay.”
Medina-Torres encourages other ASHA members to get involved with the media and help raise awareness. As experts in the field of communication disorders, ASHA-certified speech-language pathologists and audiologists have a great deal of important information to share with the community.
“We have the power to reach a bigger audience and truly make a difference within our community, our society and the nation,” says Medina-Torres. She hopes her work with the media will help parents recognize and address the warning signs of speech, language and hearing issues.