Meet the HMS Team: Julie Conway

Thu 05 May 2022

The CPARF team connected with the team at HMS School over our shared goal to change what’s possible for people with cerebral palsy. We’re proud and grateful that HMS is a CPARF nonprofit partner and we’re continuing this series about the school and some of the clinicians and staff who bring their talent and expertise to its halls every day.

Julie Conway, Co-Director of HMS Connect at HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy, is an experienced Speech Language Pathologist who specializes in augmentative alternative communication (AAC), early language development, and pediatric/pre-term feeding. Passionate about her field of work and exploring new opportunities in research, Julie is continually eager to create opportunities for individuals in the cerebral palsy community to learn from one another. The team at HMS School is especially excited to be connected to Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation (CPARF) because they share a similar mission for CP education, innovation, and community building.

Learn more about Julie and her efforts in education and research at HMS School below:

Tell us more about you and your background in education and research.
I got involved in education and research through my work as a Speech Language Pathologist. I am very lucky to have found a field that I’m so passionate about. Working as an SLP, I have the opportunity to learn something new every day — whether that be from my students, their families, or my coworkers. When I started working at HMS, I realized there is so much to learn about cerebral palsy. I feel this is important to better our field and the interventions we provide to our students. This sparked my interest in research: within cerebral palsy, within speech therapy, and within interprofessional practice.

What brought you to HMS and how did you know it was the right fit for you?
I was placed at HMS for an internship during my last semester of graduate school. I knew it was the right place for me from my first day! I fell in love with the work and the vibrant energy of the school. A job opened up about two years after I graduated, and I was fortunate enough to start working in the Speech-Therapy department!

What is a day-in-the-life of Julie like at HMS?
My days vary! I work in the Speech department part time, so some days I am working with students in individual sessions, co-treats, or with their teacher in the classroom. This year, I am also working on a new program called HMS Connect. Teresa Giardina and I are developing this program to connect our resources and expertise with the larger cerebral palsy community outside of our school walls.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your role at HMS? What keeps you inspired?
The students and my amazing coworkers keep me inspired! Everyone is incredibly creative and hard-working. Our students are always thinking of new activities and projects for our community, and our staff make it happen. Also, our Recreation and Expressive Arts staff organize our weekly Friday Afternoon Activities. They are pretty incredible for students and staff, and a great way to end the week.

What sets HMS School apart from other like-minded organizations or schools?
Our biggest resource is our ability to work together to meet student needs and goals. Our education, therapy, and student care teams frequently have co-treatment sessions, meetings, and even informal conversations to provide the best possible care for our students. If a student is looking to get a new communication device, it’s not just the SLP trying out a system with them. They’re trying it in the classroom, in residence, or maybe positioning it to fit needs while they practice power wheelchair driving in physical therapy. If a student is working on a goal in PT, all staff members know about the goal and work together to help the student practice outside of therapy sessions. We all work together. This helps our students and families meet their goals.

Tell us about a current project or initiative you’re working on that you’re excited about.
This year, HMS Connect has been working hard on our Evening Education Connection Series. We bring in an expert speaker each month to talk to our families about a variety of topics, whether that be current research, medical care, special needs finances, or anything else that might benefit our families. We are starting to make some of our events public in the hopes of connecting to the larger CP community! We are also working on some ideas to expand interprofessional courses to therapists and educators in the future.

What does the future of HMS Connect & research look like?
One of the goals of HMS Connect is to add to research within the cerebral palsy community. It benefits our students and staff to stay up to date on evidence-based practice and therapeutic techniques. We know that we are also a resource for the research community, as we can support some projects in house. We want to support anything that will benefit our students and families!

More about HMS Connect: Launched earlier this calendar year as an educational platform, HMS Connect strives to serve students, families, professionals, and the cerebral palsy community at-large through knowledge sharing, networking, and collaboration.

To learn more about HMS School, visit their website

Thu 11 Apr 2024

In the first part of our newest Science Spotlight blog, learn how scientists can harness electricity to help with movement disorders that sometimes accompany cerebral palsy.

Thu 04 Apr 2024

Check out the final part of Rindi and Soren’s story.