Richmond mom recognized for bridging gap for bilingual families: 'It's a really huge deal'

Posted at 2:12 PM, Dec 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-15 18:55:45-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Tia Javier, a Central Virginia entrepreneur, is the nationwide winner of AT&T’s She’s Connected contest that recognizes trail blazing women.

Javier saw the contest advertised on Instagram over the summer and said she was floored as her entry continued to move forward. Thousands applied but her ability to bridge a gap for bilingual families stood out.

Her small business, Bilinguatherapy, employs a team of speech and occupational therapists working specifically with children from Spanish speaking homes who are experiencing developmental delays, stuttering or spectrum disorders.

Javier grew up fluent in Spanish and English, thanks in part to her family roots in the Dominican Republic. She taught the language to college students but realized the shortage of bilingual speech therapists when her own daughter needed speech therapy.

“I found out that there were only 87 Spanish speaking speech therapists in the entire state of Virginia. So I decided to kind of close that gap.”

She returned to school to earn a Masters Degree in speech-language pathology. Years later, her practice is the first clinic in central Virginia to offer services for kids from Spanish speaking homes.

“Even English speakers when they're speaking to doctors don't understand everything that's going on. Imagine that being in a language that you don't even know and this is with your children,” said Javier. “Sometimes these people come from countries where they've never even heard of speech therapy. So to be able to provide these services in Spanish it's a really huge deal.”

As the winner of She’s Connected, Tia receives a new device and year of service from AT&T, as well as $20,000 for her business, a trip to Dallas for an NFL game and a commercial shoot.

This marks the third year of the contest that enlists elite female athletes in helping to empower women entrepreneurs.

Javier says the collaboration will help her business obtain augmentative alternative communication devices that can help children communicate even if they are unable to produce speech sounds.

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