The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital has 14 speech-language pathologists (SLP) who work with patients ages newborn to 20.
According to Heather Jarvis, speech pathologist, she and her co-workers work with patients on communication, speech and language development, feeding and swallowing, voice disorders, cognitive functioning and hearing and vision impairments.
Providing speech-language services is an important part of the rehabilitation process. SLP’s use the assistance of technology to support patients in a variety of communication techniques. “We use technology in lots of ways. It can be used as an alternative to verbal speech and sometimes used to augment verbal speech. We also use technology to assist us during voice therapy to give patients feedback,” said Erin March, SLP therapy manager.
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, as incorporating play encourages participation and motivation.
According to Rebecca Gregory, speech pathologist, research shows you learn faster when you’re having fun. “Using play as our structure, we teach them to speak, eat, interact, communicate and think,” said Gregory. Planning ahead, the SLP’s make every effort to make the working sessions enjoyable for patients. “I make speech therapy fun for patients by always starting and ending sessions with something fun, enjoyable and positive for the patient,” added Morgan Brumley, speech pathologist.
The patients aren’t the only ones having fun, as the SLP’s enjoy watching their patients grow and improve. “My favorite part of the job is the active role we play in patient recovery. We see patients and their families get excited about their progress,” said Meg Finley, speech pathologist. “We truly have the best job,” added Reid Ballard, speech pathologist. “I think my favorite part has to be when a caregiver hears their child speak for the first time since hospitalization. There are always teary eyes and big smiles.”
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