A Love Story...Alumni Janet and Ben Gleason

What a perfect Spring story for the second one our Inspiration Series! This is a story of two alumni who met and fell in love in our favorite building on our favorite hill overlooking the beautiful CU campus, straight from one-half of the blessed union, fellow alum Janet Gleason, '97.   "Since we both had previous degrees in psychology, we both needed to do the three year graduate program and so we connected over similar classes and interests. Each of us loved hiking, camping, and snowshoeing in Colorado.   I think one of my favorite CDSS memories is working with my roommate Amy Thrasher on a silly articulation video we made for Betty Jancoseck’s articulation class. We went around making other grad students do the “cha cha” for the CH sound for one part of the video. We thought it was hilarious, but I don’t think the other students did.  Janet had received a degree in psychology from Indiana State University in 1991. Then she worked with people with developmental disabilities in Indiana, Alaska, New York, and North Carolina before going back to graduate school for speech-language pathology at CU. Ben Gleason-He received a degree in psychology from the University of Kansas in 1991. He moved to Maine and New Hampshire where he coached soccer and managed a homebrew store before going back to graduate school for speech-language pathology at CU. I graduated from CU in 1997 and worked in pediatric rehab at The Children’s Hospital in Denver and Boulder Community Hospital. We moved to St. Louis in 2000 to be closer to family, and I started working for Special School District of St. Louis. I have been working at the same elementary school in suburban St. Louis ever since. My school has a program for medically fragile students with intensive communication needs, which I have loved working with and developing over the years. Augmentative communication has been one of my passions since graduate school at CU. One thing that I love about working in the schools is that I get to work with my augmentative communication caseload along with an ever-changing group of students with a variety of needs. Every year I get to learn new things and grow. I have also been passionate about supervising graduate students. I love giving them real-life school SLP experiences and I feel like it challenges me to explain why I do what I do. Their questions make me a better therapist.  He graduated from CU in 1998 and worked in schools for Adams 14 School District for a couple of years before moving to St. Louis in 2000. He started working for Special School District of St. Louis County as a speech-language pathologist. Eventually he became an effective practice specialist in speech-language pathology for the district, providing support for the hundreds of SLPs that work for Special School District and worked on making connections with the large Bosnian community in the St. Louis area. He has been working as a special education coordinator for the past nine years. His latest passions are self-determination, student-led IEPs, and the inclusion of students with special needs in green education.  We met while in graduate school at CU.  and we try to get back to Colorado as often as we can with our children. We have three daughters, ages 10, 12, and 14. One of our daughters is on the autism spectrum, and being on the other side of the diagnostic and IEP process was eye opening for us. We have enjoyed sharing our love of the outdoors with our girls through camping, hiking, gardening, and road trips to national parks. Sorry if I rambled! Don’t feel like you need to use all of this, because I realize it’s too much. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Thanks,Janet