The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital has 13 speech-language pathologist’s (SLP) providing speech, cognitive, communication, and feeding and swallowing study services to patients ages newborn to 20. Of these 13 SLP’s, three are assistive technology practitioners and one is a board certified specialist in swallowing and swallowing disorders.
Providing speech-language services is an important part of the rehabilitation process. Providing patients at the Hospital the ability to communicate allows them to grow socially and express their personality. SLP’s rely on the use of assistive technology to assist patients in a variety of communication techniques. Assistive technology provides patients the opportunity to participate in play, mobility, and communication in ways they wouldn’t be able to without technology.
“Most of the children we serve have significant motor impairments making independent access to technology very difficult if not impossible. Assistive technology allows them to access alternative forms of communication, play games, and utilize technology. This opens up a whole new world for the patients,” said Misty Milligan, speech-language pathologist, The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital.
SLP’s use a team approach to develop treatment plans for patients. The Hospital has a variety of medical professionals and therapeutic services providing treatment for patients as a whole. Making treatment fun for patients is important. Incorporating play encourages participation and motivation.
“We incorporate reading activities, board games, and pretend play to our patients during therapy sessions,” said Heather Jarvis, speech language pathologist, The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital.
Modified Barium Swallow Studies (MBS) can be performed to provide data for effective therapy techniques. These techniques improve the safety and function of the swallowing muscles. The MBS shows the swallowing muscles in real-time x-ray format using video fluoroscopy.
“Swallow studies are a technique allowing us to determine if patients need a modified diet. These could include thicker liquids or a variety of food modifications including chopping, dicing, or pureeing before consumption,” said Erin March, rehabilitation therapy manager, The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital. “These studies provide data to determine effective therapy techniques and ways to improve swallowing functions.”
Erin has worked as a speech language pathologist at the Hospital for 17 years. She enjoys the opportunity to provide patients with compassionate therapy in an environment of love and faith.
“I get to provide love and support to every patient and their families in an environment of faith. All the little victories patients achieve everyday, defying the odds, and being the best they can be is amazing. I get to cheer them the whole way,” said Erin.
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