Bringing people of diverse backgrounds together to provide the best care, collaboration and education is something the Thompson Center has prided itself on since its inception 15 years ago. Although Basmah Alshatti’s native country is halfway around the world, she has been able to experience the excellence of the Thompson Center firsthand.
Basmah, who is in her second year of her master’s degree in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences in the University of Missouri School of Health Professions, was born and raised in Kuwait. Growing up learning both English and Arabic, the language barrier was no problem for her when her family moved to West Virginia and later St. Louis while she was in high school.
It was while she was in high school that Basmah discovered the field of speech-language pathology and how it can improve children’s lives.
“I always knew I wanted to help people,” Basmah said. “Initially, I thought that meant pursuing a medical degree and becoming a physician, but I learned that there are many options for helping improve people’s lives and that is why the field of speech-language pathology really stuck out to me. It allows me to build relationships with patients as well as to better their functional living.”
After moving back to Kuwait to study and earn her undergraduate degree, Basmah had the opportunity pursue a medical degree. Instead, Basmah chose a different path. A path that brought her back to Missouri and eventually to the Thompson Center.
“I had visited the University of Missouri while living in St. Louis during high school, so I was familiar with the school and all of the amazing resources they had for learning on the job,” Basmah said. “The Thompson Center itself was a huge factor. The ability to work directly with patients, to learn how to be a speech-language pathologist (SLP) by practicing and helping patients and their families, along with the amazing faculty and providers at the Thompson Center — that makes this place truly one of a kind.”
“Basmah’s ambition to learn everything she can within the realm of speech-language pathology and autism spectrum disorders makes her the perfect fit as a graduate student trainee at the Thompson Center,” said Michelle Dampf, a speech-language pathologist and Basmah’s clinical supervisor at the Thompson Center. “Basmah has provided quality speech-language intervention and family-centered care through well-planned sessions for her clients this semester. She uses her bilingual skills as needed within her sessions and in feedback with families. All of the families have been so appreciative of Basmah’ s excellent care.”
After Basmah finishes her master’s degree in May, she plans to pursue a doctorate in SLP somewhere in the U.S. Following that, she hopes to return to her native country, Kuwait, where she can do what the Thompson Center has done for her: teach and spread knowledge.
“With the initiative and professionalism that I have witnessed during Basmah’s outplacement this semester, I am eager to see her achieve her goals and increase the independence and employability of those with communication needs in Kuwait,” Dampf said.
“Every Mizzou student in this field should get to experience the Thompson Center,” Basmah said. “It is truly a family and something I hope to bring back to Kuwait. I want to share the Thompson Center with the world.”