HOISINGTON — Clara Barton Medical Center recently added two full-time Speech Therapists, Betsy Snell, M.A., CCC – SLP, and Halle Knigge, M.S., CF – SLP, and a full-time Occupational Therapist, Benton Hrabe, OTD OTR/L, CLT.
Betsy Snell is an Ellinwood native. She attended the University of Kansas and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and speech-language-hearing sciences and a Master of Arts in speech-language pathology. She is also certified in LSVT LOUD (Lee Silverman Voice Treatment), an effective voice treatment approach specifically for persons with Parkinson’s Disease, and the McNeil Dysphagia Therapy Program – a systematic exercise-based approach to swallow therapy. Snell specializes in pediatric and adult neurorehabilitation (stroke patients, traumatic brain injuries).
Halle Knigge grew up in Fairbury, Neb., and attended Kansas State University for her Bachelor of Science in family studies and human services. She continued her education at Fort Hays State University where she obtained a Master of Science in speech-language pathology and was honored as the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders’ Most Outstanding Graduate Student in 2021. Knigge is also certified in LSVT (Lee Silverman Voice Treatment). Ultimately, her goal is to become more specialized in swallowing and swallowing disorders to better serve her patients.
Speech Therapists work with people in a variety of ways to improve their speech, language, social, and cognitive skills. A person’s communication skills are critical at each stage of life: for young children, as a strong foundation for language and literacy; for school-aged children, as a requirement for academic and social success; and for adults, as a crucial part of their career and personal relationships.
Unbeknownst to many, speech therapists also play a role in helping people to swallow and eat safely. Again, problems in these areas can occur across the age span, but at any stage, safe swallowing and eating are essential to a person’s health and quality of life.
“We are so excited for the addition of two full-time speech therapists,” said Natalie Bieberle, director of Therapy Services. “This benefits our patients and community significantly for the numerous services that speech therapy offers, and I am excited to see the program grow in multiple realms. Betsy and Halle both bring great knowledge and passion for their patients and profession.”
In addition to the new speech therapists, Clara Barton is also excited to welcome Occupational Therapist Benton Hrabe to its team of skilled therapy professionals. Hrabe is originally from Kensington. He attended Kansas State University, receiving dual bachelor’s degrees in both human development and family science and gerontology. Continuing his education, he then received his Doctorate of Occupational Therapy at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
“Benton is another great addition to Clara Barton and joins our team with certifications in multiple areas that brings diversity to our occupational therapy services,” said Bieberle. “He advocates for his patients and his profession, and I am excited for him to share his profound knowledge with our patients and community.”
In addition to Occupation Therapy, Hrabe is also a Certified Lymphedema Therapist with an emphasis on breast cancer/radiation-related Lymphedema and received “Stepping On Leader/Facilitator Certification” – a community fall reduction course for older adults.
Occupational Therapy is needed for a variety of reasons and can help those that have had an injury, illness, disability, or pain that makes it hard to work, go to school, provide self-care, complete household chores, move around, or take part in activities. This form of treatment teaches patients of all ages, from premature babies to young children, adults in mid-life, and seniors, how to adapt and use tools to perform any kind of task at school, at work, or at home. Set goals are designed for an individual’s needs, disability, or limits. Then, they can work on adapting movements, improving motor skills or hand-eye coordination, or doing tasks in new ways.
“Betsy, Halle, and Benton are joining an experienced and passionate Therapy Services team and I am excited to help cultivate the progression of treatments and services offered at Clara Barton Medical Center,” said Bieberle. All therapy services are available from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday - Friday at Clara Barton Medical Center.
To qualify for these services through insurance a referral is needed. For more information or for a free 15-minute speech therapy consult from Snell or Knigge, call 620-653-5065.