By TONIA HILL
A longtime Hyde Park resident and entrepreneur was recently elected as a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Arnell Brady, is one of seven African American men to be recognized by the ASHA in its 90-year history.
Brady received the honor in November of last year. He is a Speech-Language Pathologist that owns and operates the only African American male stand-alone comprehensive speech-language pathology clinic that specializes in neurogenic communication disorders in Chicago, located at 1424 E. 53rd Street.
A speech-language pathologist works to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive communication, voice and swallowing disorders in children and adults.
He currently services about 100 patients per year ranging in age from 3 years to 107-years-old. The bulk of the patients that Brady works with are school age children.
He attributes his success to the diverse community of Hyde Park, which he says allows him to be a cultural component in diverse clinical settings.
Brady has, from childhood, had an appreciation for speech and oration. As a child, he wanted to become a pastor.
“Oral language is the most powerful weapon on this planet,” Brady said. “It is also the most powerful cure and it is our responsibility to insure that every human in the world has access to their natural inheritance of adequate and functional oral language, which is a human right.”
He said, “The cause of many of the social problems, violence and health disparities facing us today can be found in oral language deprivation.”
Brady added that those who are not able to receive functional oral language “have greater risks of struggle and conflict in society.”
When he began college, he centered his focus on speech pathology.
Brady completed his undergraduate studies in speech-language pathology at Saint Xavier College (now Saint Xavier University) and his graduate studies in speech-language pathology at Northwestern University.
What Brady enjoys most about his work is witnessing improvements in his patients.
“The most rewarding part is to see people get better,” Brady said.
He said that some of his patients had been diagnosed at a very young age with autism. With his assistance, those patients are success stories and have been able to graduate college.
He says former patients seek him out to thank him for his guidance.
“I had a guy come back to me who I [assisted] 30 years ago, and he’s now a photographer. He said it was the work that I did with him that carried him through to Columbia College,” Brady said.
Brady was nominated to be a fellow at ASHA by a colleague. He says becoming a fellow was never something he set out to do nor was it a goal of his. He is honored to be one of few African Americans that has received recognition for his hard work and dedication to language.
Some of his accomplishments include assisting in creating the first center-based early intervention program in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, developing an infant suck-suckle-swallow bedside clinical examination and a videofluoroscopic swallow study protocol for infants and young children at the University of Chicago Hospitals.
Also, Brady has received numerous awards over the span of his career. He also served on ASHA’s Multicultural Issues Board and served two terms as chairman of the National Black Association Board for Speech Language Hearing.
Brady and his wife, Dr. Patricia Brady have been married for 42 years. They are the parents of three grown children and grandparents of two toddlers.