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30 Under 30: Erin Berkyto

Erin Berkyto is fascinated with the complexity of human communication and how the human anatomy interacts with brain signals.  - Martin van den Hemel photo
Erin Berkyto is fascinated with the complexity of human communication and how the human anatomy interacts with brain signals.
— image credit: Martin van den Hemel photo

Age: 29

High School: Hugh Boyd

Erin Berkyto’s parents had long urged her to find a career that really interested her.

So, while pursuing her English degree, she was listening to a phonetics lecture, where she was introduced to the field of speech pathology. She looked into the field in depth, then volunteered at a stroke recovery branch in Vancouver, and worked with children with autism.

It turned out to be a marriage of her interests, made in heaven.

Today, armed with a masters of science degree from the University of B.C.’s school of audiology and speech science, she is the director of Chatham Speech and Language Services Inc, in Steveston.

Berkyto is fascinated with the complexity of human communication and how the human anatomy interacts with brain signals.

One in 10 B.C. residents have a speech language or hearing disorder, amounting to some 400,000 people.

Speech-related issues can result at any age, and at any time, and it’s something one can be born with or acquire.

Traumatic brain injuries or strokes can result in speech-related ailments, she said.

“The complexity of speech and language is amazing,” she said. “This means that no two days at work are ever the same.”

Inspiration? “My clients and their families are my inspiration.  Communication disorders can impact every facet of life; work, relationships, academics, and many activities of daily living. They have a level of strength, courage, and perseverance in facing these challenges that many people will never know.”

Most proud of? “I am most proud of my profession.  Speech-language pathologists do amazing things and touch other people’s lives every day.  There is nothing more satisfying in my job than celebrating successes and milestones with clients and families.”

Advice? “If you or a loved one is experiencing any difficulty in communicating effectively or confidently, seek the advice of a registered speech-language pathologist.  You are not alone, and it is not too late.”

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