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Speech pathologist enhances educational efforts
health slt speech pathology
Molly Phelan, Kansas State University graduate student in speech pathology, left, and Erin Hemphill, St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center speech-language pathologist, guide little Jocelyn Joiner through a communication-enhancing activity using shapes and colors in Rehab Services. Phelan is performing her externship at St. Rose. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

While Erin Hemphill explains the value of speech-language therapies to her patients every day, she is enhancing those efforts this month and also explaining her services to local doctors. Hemphill is the speech-language pathologist at St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center.
In observance of Better Hearing and Speech Month, Hemphill is offering educational materials to her patients and the health-care providers who suggest referrals for various therapies.
“We are highlighting several topics during therapy sessions in observance of this special month and sending a letter to doctors’ offices,” Hemphill said. “We want them to know about the latest advancements and we hope they share it with others to raise public awareness.”
Featured topics include: VitalStim therapy for those who have difficulty swallowing; hearing and how it affects speech; and voice therapy to allow a patient to produce a “normal” voice without pain.
In addition, Hemphill is sharing information about augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). This includes forms of communication other than speech.
“We all use AAC when making facial expressions or gestures,” Hemphill explained. “And many of us use symbols or drawings when we write.”
Patients with severe speech or language concerns rely on AAC to supplement their communication through the use of adaptive equipment and augmentative aids.
“This is so important because it helps people express themselves, be more socially active, do better in school and feel better about themselves,” Hemphill added.
She also is certified in Lee Silverman Voice Treatment, which is referred to as LSVT LOUD. The therapy emphasizes volume and is used to improve voice and speech in people with Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders, Hemphill said.
Any local and area physician may refer patients to Hemphill.