By Marisol Rexach, Ph.D. in Education Student


The older I get, the more I am thankful for the little things in life.  The fragility of life is becoming more real, and each moment is an opportunity to see how others contribute to the richness of our lives.  But I wonder if I have truly taken the time to express gratitude to those who have had a positive impact on my life.  When others go out of their way to do so, it makes me more aware of how important it is to actively demonstrate my appreciation for others.

This was the case when I learned of a letter written by the parent of an adult client served by Chapman’s Communication Sciences and Disorders Lab.  That this parent was moved to express this gratitude is a testament to the work of Judy Montgomery, the CSD program director.  The words expressed a parent’s desire to shout gratitude from the roof tops:

(My daughter) and I, our family, friends and our community are gratefully appreciated to all of you and the wonderful educational institution of Chapman University. I am going to express my gratitude not only to the wonderful faculty of Chapman but will continue write to the city officials, papers, governor and even White House. 

The parent clearly articulates an appreciation to CSD lab, after a long struggle to find help for a daughter, who has Down syndrome and speech challenges. Roshana Noor, a Chapman SLP student, was instrumental.  Through her, Chapman CSD lab offered hope.

During last semester, we were introduced to Chapman University learning Lab by one of kind and sweet student, Roshana Noor.  In just a such short time, my daughter’s speech difficulty improved significantly. She developed the ability to focus much better than before, follow the steps, participate cognitively, mentally aware, in just a few session lost stuttering and most importantly she began to participate in expressing herself and demand what she needed. She did not had these ability before. 

I thought about the warm feeling I got when I read this letter from a parent.  I was happy for Dr. Montgomery and Roshana Noor.  Digging deeper, I found that my warm feelings were warranted.  Psychologist Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough link the benefits of expressing gratitude. They point out that gratitude is the “forgotten factor” in happiness research. They point out the benefits of expressing gratitude as ranging from better physical health to improved mental alertness. People who express gratitude also are more likely to offer emotional support to others.

Expressing gratitude in your daily life might even have a protective effect on staving off certain forms of psychological disorders. In a review article published this past March (see below), researchers found that habitually focusing on and appreciating the positive aspects of life is related to a generally higher level of psychological well-being and a lower risk of certain forms of psychopathology.

So, take a few minutes to thank someone in your life.  You will both benefit