Caitlin Salerno, MA, CCC-SLP, practices PROMPT therapy with a patient.
A variety of injuries and illnesses, such as brain injuries, strokes and other neurological disorders, can leave patients with the inability to speak and communicate effectively.
Bacharach’s speech-language therapy department offers a wide-range of services to improve speech function and communication skills in adults and children, including improving speech and sound articulation; refining language skills; evaluating and treating cognitive impairments, voice disorders and chewing and swallowing problems; working with employers, schools and the hearing center; and training on Dynavox and PECS systems for electronic and alternative communication options.
The 13 speech-language pathologists employed at Bacharach have a specialty in specific programs and therapies, including swallowing disorders, vital stim, traumatic brain injury and cognitive therapy, augmentative and alternative communication devices and much more.
“Our staff is bright, motivated and self-driven – constantly interested in furthering their education,” said Bacharach’s Director of Speech-Language Pathology Kathleen Diblin, MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-S. “I think that’s a major reason that we have been able to grow and offer so many new therapies and technologies to our patients.”
One program that Bacharach specializes in is Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets (PROMPT) technique – a type of therapy that uses a systematic, neuromotor approach to assess speech characteristics and provide auditory, visual and tactile feedback to the speech system. Administered and monitored by a speech-language pathologist, the ultimate goal of this technique is functional verbal communication.
“First, we film patients talking to determine if they would benefit from the PROMPT technique,” said Caitlin Salerno, MA, CCC-SLP, a speech-language pathologist at Bacharach. “Then, one of our team members reviews the tape – evaluating the patient’s structure, function and integration of his or her motor speech systems. This includes movement of the jaw, face and tongue. Based on the evaluation, we determine the areas of greatest impairment and set goals for each patient. “
Each type of PROMPT serves a different purpose – parameter PROMPTS stabilize postures and provide base support for patients with jaw instability; surface PROMPTS provide information about place, timing and transitions; syllable PROMPTS help simple syllable production; and complex PROMPTS construct holistic single sounds in isolation. The type of PROMPT used is based around the specific sound that a patient cannot produce.
“Each sound requires different touch cues to elicit specific placement of the oral musculature,” said Salerno. “For example, when I work with a patient on producing the “p” sound, I place the back of my slightly bent first and second fingers just above and below the lips, briefly closing and pulling away from lips with quick timing.”
A speech-language pathologist monitors a patient’s goal achievements and improvements. As oral communication gradually improves, the PROMPTS are slowly phased out – teaching the patient to properly pronounce sounds and syllables without the assistance of PROMPT technique.
To learn more about Bacharach’s speech-language department, please visit https://www.bacharach.org/services/speech-language-therapy/.