Laura Gentile, Mcc-SLP, CBIS
Laura Gentile knows that family support is a key component in overcoming language deficits.
From babies to geriatric patients, Bacharach’s Speech and Language Therapy program treats people of all ages. While all therapy programs are individualized based on the patient’s needs, family education is always a key component of every plan.
“Speech and language deficits don’t just affect the patient; they affect everyone around the patient as well,” says Laura Gentile, Speech Language Pathologist, MCC-SLP, CBIS. “To best meet our patients’ needs, we help their family understand how their loved one will communicate moving forward.”
Family Members are Part of the Team
Family members are encouraged to sit in on the various therapy sessions to watch and learn cues and prompts the therapists teach the patient. This ensures that the patient and their family members are using the same strategies to communicate with each other.
“Having our families and patients be on the same page is vital to the communication process and takes away any barriers that are caused by the patient’s deficit,” says Laura. “We want the communication process to be consistent both at home and in therapy.”
Some examples of prompting strategies that Bacharach therapists teach include:
• Giving the sound of the first letter in the word the patient is trying to say
• Starting the phrase off for them
• Pointing at a picture to help the patient visualize what they are trying to say
• Giving the patient clues about the word
• Communicative drawing
• Visual prompts, eliciting first sound in targeted word
If a patient’s deficits are severe, a therapist might incorporate gestures or give them an alternative augmented communication device – a computerized device such as an iPad or eye-controlled speech device.
“We are very big on family education because the family can play a key role in the patient’s success,” says Laura. “Also, much like a family, the therapists in our department have different areas of strength. This allows us to feed off of each other to help all of our patients reach their highest level of function.”