EDUCATION • M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology UW-Stevens Point • B.S. in Communicative Disorders UW-Stevens Point
ENROLLED • Cohort 4
LOCATION • Brentwood, Calif.
Jessica Kant was raised in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with nature as her playground. She freely explored the land and participated in immersive activities like Girl Scouts and 4-H that instilled worldly knowledge, curiosity, self- determination, and independence. This inspired her to seek out a helping career to assist others overcome communicative and cognitive challenges and become capable, expressive individuals who can relate to each other and the world. Jessica has worked as a speech-language pathologist (SLP) across medical and educational settings. She began her career as an elementary and high school SLP in northern Wisconsin where she focused on delivering naturalistic early childhood special-education services in community settings. After moving to California, Jessica worked for Contra Costa Regional Medical Center, one of only 21 remaining public health systems and safety-net facilities in the state. She provided rehabilitative communication, cognition, and swallowing services to underserved adults following medical events that often resulted from drug overdose, persistent homelessness, incarceration, or fear of accessing health care; and also completed multidisciplinary assessments of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and/or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. She currently evaluates and treats children with communication impairments at the Brentwood Union School District special education preschool program. Childhood communication and mental-health disorders that require special education services are on the rise and Jessica is interested in examining early familial interactions and educational practices to better understand this shift. This knowledge could identify barriers and inspire parents, educators, doctors, policy makers, and others to promote more simplistic and explorative early childhood experiences that better support communication and brain development and result in a reduced need for specialized instruction. Jessica believes a sustainable world is one that fosters an affinity for life with intentional and meaningful connectedness to other living beings and nature as the cornerstone of development; something that everyone is capable of giving and receiving despite ability or status.
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