Better Hearing and Speech Month

May is better hearing and speech month, an opportunity to highlight the ways Speech-Language Pathologists can improve quality of life for millions of people.  “Communication is the Key to Connection.” I have experienced this to be true over and over, and I have the opportunity to help people communicate and connect in ways they couldn’t before.

What does a Speech-Language Pathologist do?

I lose most people as soon as I say pathologist, so let me try to get you back on board. Take a seat if you need to. Speech-Language Pathologists work to help people overcome barriers to communication and connection. These barriers can be related to speech, language, or hearing. The distinction between speech and language can be tough to understand. The simplest explanation is that speech has to do with the mechanics of making sounds and saying words. Language is knowing how to use those in a way that others can understand.

Who benefits from Speech Therapy?

At the Star Center, there are a couple of populations I work with most often.

Many children come to the Star Center to work on their ability to communicate. We can help children develop speech and language skills, whether they are starting for the first time or are looking to supplement existing speech services. This time of year, we see many school-age kids who want to continue work over the summer. These children make great progress over the summer, while receiving one on one therapy!

Some people are nonverbal, or have difficulty communicating verbally. One option for someone like this would be an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) system. This system can give someone the ability to communicate basic wants and needs. It can also be used to make deeper connections and express oneself to others.  The system could be as complex as a high tech electric device or as simple as a picture board. With these clients, it’s all about identifying what their needs are and providing training so that their AAC system is useful to them. Another aspect of AAC is the training of family members or caretakers. They have to learn how to interact with the person and how to customize the system.

What Sets the Star Center Apart?

Variety

The variety of clients I see at the Star Center is one of the things I love about my work. In previous places, I have spent most of my time working with one particular client or focusing on one particular goal. The Star Center is a great place to be an SLP because you get a wide variety of experience. This keeps me learning and growing as I work to help clients reach their goals.

Interdisciplinary

Any time you’re exposed to the range of clients we see at the Star Center, it’s easy to feel out of your depth. That’s why I’m glad there’s a wide variety of professionals here that I can rely on when I’m not sure what to do. At times, I’ll ask a music therapist or an art therapist for advice on how to work with a client. We foster a spirit of collaboration at the Star Center, and we find that in doing so, each of our clients receive better services that are well-suited to their goals.

Our mission is to help any person with any disability to realize their potential. Speech Therapy is a great way to impact someone’s future opportunities as it relates to employment, relationships, and self-expression. If you know someone who could benefit from these services, call us at 731-668-3888.

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About the Author : Billie Griffin

Billie serves as Speech-Language Pathologist at the Star Center. She received her Masters Degree in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and has been practicing for 10 years. In her free time, she loves gardening, reading her Bible, spending time with her family, and taking pictures of them.

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