A new Speech Pathology service is now available to members of MOLC. Olivia Carnes will be offering her services in Speech Therapy to help treat people of all ages with speech issues. Carnes has been a Speech Pathologist for six years, working in Landover with mainly a senior population. She also has experience working with youth and their speech issues. “I know the local population. I was looking for a place to volunteer and the demographics of this area make it a good place to share my skills,” said Carnes. Carnes will work in person, in mostly one on one counseling to help treat speech problems.
Carnes works closely with patients and caregivers to determine the best course of therapy. Oftentimes parents or caregivers will be the most knowledgeable about a person’s disabilities with speech. As a Speech Pathologist, Carnes can tell when speech problems are an issue. She says, “I observe their voice and expression of language. I know how receptive they are to what I’m saying to them. I do my best to educate them and I look for motivation from patients– which is key to overall success. They must want to do the therapy and want to get better.”
To start out, members will be screened by Carnes to determine the type of therapy needed. There are different screening tests, based on the initial problems discovered. There are tests for speech difficulties, cognitive abilities, swallowing, and others. These assessments are repeated after Speech Therapy is performed to measure progress.
Who is a likely candidate for Speech Therapy? Candidates for Speech Pathology will range from a variety of backgrounds and have different issues, depending upon their age and health conditions. Carnes works in rehabilitation centers with an older adult population and many of them have speech issues related to dementia and memory loss. “Sometimes having a memory notebook is a big help,” said Carnes. Older adults may also suffer from post stroke, which often affects the ability to swallow. The swallowing issue affects those with dementia as well and can be dealt with in Speech Therapy, through a variety of methods, including a closer look at diet and intake. Post stroke patients may have cognitive speech issues, too. Many post stroke patients experience communication difficulties or trouble finding the right words to say or problems comprehending what is being said to them. Speech Therapy can aid in these issues.
Carnes has strategies for these conditions and therapy tactics that improve them. Some phonics and vocalization exercises can be used effectively to improve speech. She also trains patients in breathing. Breath support helps to develop a stronger voice. She teaches swallowing exercises to strengthen throat muscles and to swallow food better.
Others who need Speech Therapy may suffer from traumatic brain injury and have issues speaking or word finding among other things. Carnes will also work with people who have been on a ventilator or had a tracheostomy. Serious health issues will require individualized Speech Therapy tailored to the needs of the member.
For youth, a variety of speech disorders are common. These include stuttering and not being able to pronounce ‘r’s or combination sounds such as ‘th’ and ‘sh’. Often youth are labeled as disruptive when they have speech issues. Work on correcting these issues through speech therapy improves social skills. Carnes also works with autistic children who have language-based issues or suffer from a lack of social skills in interacting with others. Autistic children sometimes have problems fully expressing their emotions, which seem abstract to them. Carnes works with autistic youth to help form a more concrete basis for emotional expression, thereby improving social skills.
Whatever the member’s need is with Speech Therapy, Carnes will most likely be able to address it. Speech Therapy comes at no cost to participants. Members who need Speech Therapy or have family or friends who need it are encouraged to sign up on the web for an initial assessment and continued treatment. Speech Pathology services will be available once per week. People of all ages are eligible.
Carnes is pleased to be working with Mission of Love Charities’ members. “I wanted to make an impact by using my skill to help people who don’t have access to Speech Pathologists and give them the opportunity,” remarked Carnes. “Sometimes people can fall through the cracks. I am just trying to make a difference with people who can benefit from my services,” she added.
To sign up for Speech Pathology services, click here and fill out the form.
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