Care More Spotlight: Speech-Language Pathology, A Family Affair

By the time he was in high school, Brandon Buckendorf, SLP-CCC was already helping his father at his private speech therapy practice. Like many children, he dreamed of following in his father’s footsteps and build a career helping others to speak and communicate. Dr. Bob Buckendorf had carved out a very successful career in both private practice and later as the Director of Speech Pathology at Oregon Health & Sciences University.

Brandon began his SLP career in Oregon, completing his clinical fellowship at OHSU in an elite program called LEND (Leadership and Education in Neuro-developmental and related Disorders). The specialized training afforded him high quality and intensive training in many low incidence populations, like cleft palate, Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnostics, and feeding/swallowing. It was during that time that Brandon’s father related a desire to return to private practice and get back to helping children. Eventually, Brandon, his father, and Brandon’s wife (also an SLP) opened up a private practice, Buckendorf Associates, LLC, which included Brandon’s mother as the office manager! Their practice was truly a family affair. Brandon credits the eight years of being mentored directly by his father as one of the most impactful period of his career to date.

In July of 2016, Brandon came to work at Supplemental Health Care in search of a supervisory position. His desire was to be in a position to train and mentor the next generation of SLPs and other health care professionals. He has much wisdom and experience to impart on young clinicians, he knows that he can have a positive impact on their careers the way his father had on his own. He is currently working as an SLP supervisor in a large school district that has 11 clinicians supporting the students. He has been invaluable to the district and played an integral leadership role during an administration change that could have impacted the special education department, if not for Brandon’s contributions.

While Brandon is in more of an oversight role, he is still utilizing his skills and experiences to ensure that the clinicians feel supported and are utilizing him as a resource when they need assistance. One case, recently, involved a young man who had a severe lateral lisp, a very challenging disorder to treat. In conversations with the SLPA who was treating the student, Brandon sensed that she was having a difficult time.

“Usually, all a younger clinician needs is someone who has been down that road they are on,” he explained. “Someone with compassion to come beside them and empower them with knowledge and experience to have confidence in their clinical skills.”

Over a period of several weeks, Brandon worked with her and modeled therapy techniques for the student. Soon, she felt comfortable enough to provide the therapy solo. Soon thereafter, Brandon received a call from his very excited SLPA who exclaimed, “He’s making progress!” The excitement in her voice was only matched by the hint of surprise at making progress so quickly. Brandon shared in her excitement, but not the surprise. “When clinicians are supported in the way that they need to be, the progress patients/students with communication disorders make is exceptional!”

Congratulation Brandon, your clinicians, and the students they are treating are fortunate to have someone with your skills and passion supporting and guiding them. Yours is truly a Care More Attitude that is making a difference!