Creating an inclusive environment where everyone belongs
Imagine a world where everyone felt like they belonged. Where age, gender, race, and ability didn’t matter because we were all seen as equals. In an effort to get closer to making this a reality, we must all do our part to accept, learn, and lead with kindness.
Speech-Language Pathology wasn’t initially on Kaelan Henman’s radar. He went to school to study English and Spanish literature, but it was an elective course on communication disorders that introduced him to speech-language pathology and the impact that it has on people’s lives. This got him thinking about how he could apply his knowledge of language and communication in a really meaningful way. While his first job out of college offered him the opportunity to work with people of all ages, he quickly discovered he had a passion for helping children. This is where Ivy Rehab for Kids came in.
The first time Kaelan met his clinic director, Samantha Beard, he felt accepted and instantly knew he belonged. In his career, this hadn’t always been the case. As a member of the transgender community, there have been times when Kaelan didn’t really feel like he could be himself. That immediate connection that he felt with the Ivy Rehab for Kids family was not something we take lightly. You see, diversity and inclusion play a big part in our culture. We give high regard to the value “I Belong,” meaning everyone has a voice. We embrace the diversity of background, thought, and experiences. We strive for every person to feel welcomed, and Kaelan does his part to help us live out that value.
“The fact that Ivy prioritizes diversity and inclusion made it a safe space for me to live and work authentically, as well as to educate my colleagues and those in the community,” explains Kaelan. “To me, “belonging” doesn’t mean that we’re all the same and have the same backgrounds, beliefs, likes, and dislikes. Belonging means being a part of something bigger, being accepted and seen for who I am and what I contribute. To me, “I Belong” means I’m a part of a group of very different people from all walks of life who challenge each other to grow every day; and who actively work to create communities that value diversity and recognize how their differences bring new, exciting perspectives that ultimately improve everyone’s experience.”
(Left) Kaelan Henman is pictured with his Michigan Pediatrics SLP of the Year award. (Right) Kaelan is pictured with the pediatric team in Adrian, MI.
Since he joined our team in 2019, Kaelan has become a decorated and sought-after pediatric speech therapist. He was recently awarded the “Michigan Pediatrics SLP of the Year” and has been recognized multiple times by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), among other distinguishable honors.
By bringing together a diverse group of individuals, we award ourselves the opportunity to learn from others and see things through a different perspective. Every person brings something of value to the table. Kaelan has brought awareness to the transgender community by teaching others how to be an ally within our organization.
“My hope is that I am able to challenge others to take ownership of their role in creating inclusive environments through the practice of cultural humility, exploring what that means for them, and applying it to their daily practice and interactions,” explains Kaelan. It can be an uncomfortable but necessary task to explore our own biases and do the inner work required to see things from another perspective. It’s about understanding not only the differences between two people but the differences in the needs of entire communities. In order to do that, one has to take an approach that recognizes the intersectionality that occurs across all cultures. For example, even though I am transgender, my experiences are going to be very different than trans women and the transgender black, indigenous, and other people of color communities. It is essential for me to explore my role in the LGBTQ+ community and be an ally by recognizing the limitations of my own experiences. I hope to model what that process looks like for my friends, colleagues, and the communities that I serve.”
Being accepted is a human right. At the end of the day, we all want to feel heard, be respected, and have an equal seat at the table. The “I Belong” value remains a significant pillar of who we are as an organization. If we all try to make a difference in our own back yards, we can move the needle and make a positive impact.
“I pride myself on my ability to create meaningful relationships within my community. The families that I’ve served and worked with have supported me in ways I never thought or expected them to. I’ve been very blessed to have the experiences that I have here.” – Kaelan Henman, M.A., CCC-SLP
Ivy Rehab Values
Here at the Ivy Rehab Network, we live by our Mission, Vision, and Values. We look to these tenets to help guide us both in and outside the clinic in our everyday lives. We’re proud to showcase the ways in which our teammates exemplify our values in their workdays and their communities. Together, we think these values help make us better as an organization and as individuals. Whether the clinic you visit is called Ivy Rehab or any of our other brand names, you’ll know you’ve arrived if everything revolves around our motto of “It’s All About the People.” To learn more about the mission, vision, and values at Ivy Rehab, click here.
The medical information contained herein is provided as an information resource only, and does not substitute professional medical advice or consultation with healthcare professionals. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-provider relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis, treatment or medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition. If you think you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. IvyRehab Network, Inc. disclaims any and all responsibility, and shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained herein.