April 2020 – Professional of the Month

Karin Mitchell, MA, CCC-SLP, CLE, CNT, NTMTC
Pediatric Speech Pathologist
CHOC Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

“A person’s a person no matter how small.” – Dr. Seuss

PreemieWorld: How long have you been working in your field?

Karin: 26 Years

PreemieWorld: Why did you choose your current profession?

Karin: I have a passion to help others. In the NICU I get to help both babies and their families. I love to provide an individualized approach that looks at each baby and family to address their unique capabilities to help them reach their full potential. No day is the same, every baby is a small person with big challenges and is extremely special. I am so privileged to be able to care for them.

PreemieWorld: What do you want other professionals to know about what you do?

Karin: Speech Pathologists do a lot more than help people speak, especially in the medical field of speech pathology. In the NICU, we work with our patients on feeding and swallowing skills for breast and bottle feeding. We work in the preparation to initiate the nutritive sucking process (suck, swallow, breathe) and describe maturation levels for nutritive sucking with bottle and breastfeeding.  The SLP establishes an intervention plan for the development of safe feeding and swallowing skills as well as for the training of parents and caregivers during the process.  We also help to support the preemies long term development and support the parents as they learn to care for their fragile newborns. I provide specialized care to each preemie and help them overcome seemingly huge obstacles as well as nurture and care for them until they are strong enough to go home.

PreemieWorld: What advice do you give to preemie parents?

Karin: As parents, you have SO MUCH to offer your babies as they grow into children and into adulthood. The environment that you create in your home will help them catch up to their peers and be the best that they can be. As parents, you have fought so many fears, emotions and hurdles thus far; continue to advocate for them in their school and community. Things may be different from others who weren’t born with the challenges that your child had to face but they can still be exceptional and amazing! You have a unique journey of strength, joy, faith and fear that has shaped you as much as your child. What a roller coaster of emotions and feelings that you have encountered. It is forever life changing to care for your miracle baby, be proud of where you have come from and what you have become because of it. Embrace the change!

PreemieWorld: Fun Facts: Tell us a fun or quirky fact about you.

Karin: I love adventures and red wine