Stories produced by students in the Meek School of Journalism & New Media
According to the Communication Sciences and Disorders department at the University of Mississippi, one in 20 Americans suffer from a speech-language disorder.
During her 30 year career, speech-language pathologist (SLP) Shannon Piercey has seen the way clients are treated change over time.
“Back in the Dark Ages, we did a lot of games, cards, and workbooks, and a lot of printed materials. We really didn’t have a lot of special items, so we had to make up a lot of things.”
With new technologies come new advances in the field of speech-language pathology.
“We now have computers, iPads and iPhones that have the software already loaded and we don’t have to come up with games on our own. It makes it much easier to come up with a specific plan for each child,” said Piercey.
Fellow speech-language pathologist, Jessica Montgomery, also sees the advances in technology as helpful.
“Our field is constantly changing therefore there is always something new to try or use in therapy. One of the latest trends in speech language pathology is the use of the iPad and different apps.”
Montgomery says those apps help with a variety of communication disorders.
One mother of a 4-year-old speech student says she’s seen a remarkable difference in her son’s ability to communicate because of these advances in therapy.
“Aedan began using an iPad at 2 years old, when he was completely nonverbal. He was already enrolled in early intervention language therapy, and his therapists shared some recommendations for apps had would help in his language development, “ said Michelle Hall.
Those apps had an amazing impact, according to Hall.
“When he began early intervention at 18 months old, he was diagnosed with a severe expressive language delay. Thanks in part to the use of technology in therapy, at 4 years old, his language skills are now equivalent to his age-level peers,” said Hall.
Speech pathologists are also thankful for the new advances within their field.
“The number one goal of speech pathology is to provide functional communication to individuals that cannot communicate for themselves. The research and advances in our field allow this goal to become easier and to become a reality for our patients, clients, and students. This benefits both the client and the SLP,” said Montgomery.