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Inspiring Conversations with Hillary Guest of Bellflower Speech, Language & Literacy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hillary Guest.

Hi Hillary, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I launched my private practice in North Austin January 2020, just before COVID-19 closures took hold. I initially began due to a strong desire to specialize in pediatric and infant feeding disorders (a service that is greatly needed as many more newborns are NICU-grads or being diagnosed with developmental delays). I also craved having the flexibility that comes with operating my own business. Additionally, I wanted to serve families in their natural environments while providing a quality of care that isn’t always possible when treatment sessions are scheduled back-to-back by some outpatient clinics. I’ve actually had an intense interest in working with this population for years, although I took a winding path to get to where I am. In the past, I’ve worked for renowned children’s hospitals (such as Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center), K-8 charter schools, and used to work throughout the state of Michigan performing transdisciplinary neurodevelopmental child trauma assessments with Easterseals. I also enjoy working with young children who may have a language delay or those children with recent neurodivergent diagnoses like ADHD and Autism. Right now my focus is on providing holistic care that takes into consideration family/patient medical diagnoses, sensory preferences, and any past or current psych0-social or trauma influences.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Definitely not. COVID-19 knocked me off of my feet. By that, I mean COVID-19 put all of my private practice goals on hold (and all treatment sessions) for a good few months. That being said, I used the extra time to gain an additional feeding certification to increase my confidence working with increasingly younger children with feeding difficulties.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Bellflower Speech, Language & Literacy is solely run and operated by me, Hillary Guest. I am a licensed (TX, MI, and FL) and nationally certified Speech-Language Pathologist. I diagnose and treat pediatric feeding and language disorders/delays. I also work with young children who have difficulties saying sounds, such as those with a stutter or those with an articulation disorder. I’m different from other private practices as I see my patients and their families in their homes, as opposed to them traveling to a clinic. I also keep a lower caseload so that I have the necessary time to devote to each unique child. I would say that I am most proud to be able to provide quality and evidence-based care that is generally affordable, although I do take some insurances (BCBS HMO and PPOs, Medicaid, BCBS STAR, BCBS CHIP, BCBS STAR-PLUS) so that most families can access my care. A reason to pick my practice over a larger home health company is that you will not be placed on a waitlist and there are fewer opportunities for communication breakdowns – something I’ve noticed that larger practices struggle with.

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
I’ve had to learn to break large tasks down into smaller components. For example, getting credentialed with insurance companies tends to be a long and drawn out process and there are multiple steps involved. I’ve also had to learn to be easy on myself as it can be hectic to wear all of the hats involved in running a private practice.

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