The story of our owner Melissa Littlefield and our Speech Language Pathology Assistant Emily Nelson begins in 2006.
Emily was first diagnosed with Spondylo Arthritis at 13 years old. Her mother, brother, many aunts, uncles, and cousins have a large number of Autoimmune Disorders ranging from Arthritis to Crohn’s Disease to Lupus. This diagnosis was hard for Emily’s mother to hear, but she knew the process from her vast knowledge of Autoimmune Disorders and the history of her brother’s diagnosis at 7 years old.
At 15 years old, she had a new diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. Emily’s doctor recommended an “amazing physical therapist” Melissa at Littlefield Physical Therapy. Melissa worked with Emily to manage the strength and flexibility of her hips and ankles. This helped her pain and comfort as she tried to be a normal high school kid.
Emily knew from a young age that she was interested in Speech Language Pathology due to many family members needing speech services from brain traumas. Melissa encouraged this path while talking during their therapy sessions and even introduced her to a Speech Language Pathologist. Melissa’s upbeat personality and caring nature was something Emily knew she wanted to be as a therapist. As many Littlefield patients know, Melissa can find ways to work on goals without the patient knowing.
In the years to follow, Melissa and Emily would see each other around Temecula. Melissa, with her contagious smile, would update Emily on how Littlefield was growing. From adding new Physical Therapists to beginning Occupational Therapy, Littlefield was becoming a large part of the community. While away at college, Emily heard, from her mom, that Littlefield started to offer Speech Therapy services. There was a spark of excitement in her but she did not know where her life was going to take her.
After graduating with a Bachelors in Speech/Language Pathology, Emily was looking for a clinic to complete internship hours to become a Speech/Language Pathology Assistant. She remembered that Littlefield had a Speech Therapy department and gave Melissa a call. Melissa remembered Emily and agreed to having her as a student. Tamara, Littlefield’s Lead Speech Therapist, took Emily under her wing. She taught Emily many ways to access children and help their speech and language skills. Tamara has the same upbeat and kind nature that Emily saw in Melissa many years before. She could not believe that Melissa found therapists with similar personalities. It was an honor to become a part of the Littlefield team in August 2015 as a Speech Language Pathology Assistant.
Emily was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at 22 years old. After she began her internship hours at Littlefield, she began to see Heather at the On Track office. Heather has strengthened her muscles and eased the pain from arthritis. With the many diagnoses, Emily has been on continuous medications since she was 15 years old. Her pain is now managed as she continues to adapt to life with Autoimmune Disorders.
Melissa and Emily are excited to see where the next 10 years will take them. Littlefield and our therapists love to be a continuous part of our patients’ lives. We know that “graduating” from services does not mean you are gone forever.