Dr. Banks is a compassionate, life-long learner who believes in the power of communication and connection with self and others. As a speech-language pathologist and full-time faculty member in academia, she has worked with a variety of individuals who work to express themselves while experiencing the impact of stress and trauma. Motivated to be a positive change agent, Aieshea inspires to support systems and individuals in their commitment to provide trauma-informed care.
Aieshea is a licensed and nationally certified speech-language pathologist (SLP). She earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Communicative Disorders, beginning her career as a clinical SLP in 2003. Over the span of her career, she has worked with individuals and families with suspected or identified communication challenges from pediatric through adulthood in public and private educational settings, in-home early intervention, and private practice. Although her clinical experience includes a wide range of communication profiles, she has worked predominantly with individuals who have developmental disabilities and neurodevelopmental conditions. With a strong belief in the power of communication and holistic care, Aieshea has placed great emphasis in the importance of understanding the needs of the whole person and functional language skills that encourage self-advocacy, empowerment, and connection.
In 2014, Aieshea joined the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department at Loma Linda University. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses that include, but are not limited to, Counseling in Communicative Disorders and Neurodiversity. She is a clinical instructor for the university’s Communication Clinic for Autistic Individuals, the coordinator for the Speech-Language Pathologist Assistant preparation program, and participates in several committees which include, but are not limited to, cultural diversity.
Aieshea’s passion in supporting autistic individuals led to her pursuit of a doctorate degree in Rehabilitation Science to research the self-perceived social communication experiences of Autistic young adults. During her doctoral journey, coursework in stress management, gaining a greater understanding of the stress and trauma related to the social experiences of Autistic people, and her own personal experiences were the impetus to learning more about trauma-informed care.
Aieshea firmly believes that diversity is valuable to the human experience, and everyone should feel empowered by their authenticity as well as supported in their differences and/or challenges. Although trauma may not be the cause of all communication challenges, the impact of trauma will exacerbate difficulties. Therefore, an awareness and sensitivity to one’s trauma and providing trauma-informed environments and support systems will facilitate comfort and growth in communication which will improve self-advocacy, empowerment, and connection.
Aieshea has completed training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and has professional certification as a Trauma-Informed Care Practitioner. She seeks to increase knowledge and support to the intersection of stress, trauma, and communication.
As a child, Aieshea associated her worth with her ability to achieve and please others. With a perfectionistic personality, life’s challenges were to be addressed head on because failure was not an option. When life’s challenges were at their highs, Aieshea often responded with flight responses (e.g., emotional eating, shopping, or starting new projects) that complicated situations and contributed to depression and anxiety. Although she often “bounced back”, the roller coaster ride was exhausting. Despite having a growing career, a loving family, and an outgoing personality with a happy demeanor, she struggled internally with personal satisfaction, self-worth, and inner peace. Additionally, as adult-life increased in complexities and challenges, her insecurities were often triggered causing a variety of emotions.
Although she grew up with a strong faith-based foundation and began receiving professional counseling services in her early 30s, it wasn’t until her doctoral program that she was able to understand her experiences. Learning about stress and the mind-body connection was enlightening; she began to shift her perspective about life’s challenges. However, that cognitive reframing was not enough. After learning of a counselor who specialized in trauma-informed care, she began receiving services. Aieshea’s trauma-informed counselor introduced concepts of childhood traumas and its long-term effects. However, with all that she was juggling, Aieshea wasn’t ready to unpack anything else. She was overwhelmed and felt on the verge of breaking; but that was not an option. She committed to personal transformation via stress management strategies of exercise, yoga, meditation, and mindfulness while balancing family, career, a doctoral program, and the pandemic – but those were still not enough.
Aieshea began the heavy work with her trauma-informed counselor who facilitated introspection and prompted her to “dig deeper” when emotions arose. Simultaneously, she completed professional certification in trauma-informed care and has researched additional information on developmental trauma. Her “heavy work” of dealing with her childhood trauma was extremely difficult to sift through; however, she reports it has been exceptionally rewarding. She continues to learn how to apply the sensitivity of trauma-informed care to herself, which has contributed to her growth in inner peace, confidence, gratitude, and personal contentment. Her personal experience with the healing associated with trauma-informed care has been transformative and contributes to her desire to share it with others who may benefit.
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