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Better Hearing and Speech Month

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month! Speech and language disorders affect 14 million Americans. Speech and language disorders can take many forms and can limit academic achievement, social adjustment, and career advancement. An individual may be born with a speech or language disorder, or it may be caused by accidental injury or illness.

Pratt Regional Medical Center’s Speech-Language Pathologist, Deb May, cares for patients in the hospital, clinic and home health setting. She also provides speech language pathology services for the hospitals in Stafford, Greensburg and Kiowa.

Speech-Language Pathology services involve a large scope of practice.  Until a person needs services, many are unaware of the many disorders we treat.  One of the main areas a Speech-Language Pathologist treats in an acute hospital setting is Dysphagia, or difficulty with swallowing.  Cognitive rehabilitation therapy is another unfamiliar treatment specialty.

Cognitive rehabilitation can help improve executive functions such as: attention and concentration, perception, memory and new learning, organization, reasoning and judgment, and problem solving. These tasks are referred to as executive functions because they control how we accomplish other tasks. The executive functions of the brain tell the rest of the brain what to do to get things done in everyday life. Often this type of therapy is needed after someone has suffered a brain injury from a fall, car wreck or trauma to the head.

People who are living with debilitating diseases such as Parkinson’s or MS may also benefit from therapy. “Staying ahead of the disease is helpful,” May said. “Working with a patient who is in the beginning stages of a debilitating disease allows us to better manage the effects of the illness.”

"Fortunately, most people with speech and language problems can be helped," said May. "Even if the problem cannot be eliminated, we can teach people with speech and language problems strategies to help them cope.” People may not fully regain their capacity to speak and understand, but a speech-language pathologist can help them live more independently.

For more information about Speech-Language Pathology services at Pratt Regional Medical Center, please call (620) 450-1890, or talk to your primary care physician if you feel you may benefit from speech-language therapy.
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