December 7, 2017
Ozarks Medical Center (OMC) is accepting referrals for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). AAC is an area of clinical practice where speech pathologists work with individuals who have complex communication disorders that include impairments in speech, language production, comprehension and written communication.
OMC’s unique AAC therapy program caters to the needs of the individual and typically includes six to eight follow-up therapy/training sessions aimed at providing functional communication opportunities for the user and programming support for caregivers.
AAC uses picture communication boards, line drawings, speech-generating devices (SGDs), tangible objects, manual signs, gestures, and finger spelling to help the individual express thoughts, wants and needs, feelings and ideas.
AAC devices have touch pads or can be controlled with eye gaze, the mouth, or other body parts to create speech or to control the environment. A person with impaired speech can create a voice. A person with impaired mobility can turn on the lights or change channels. Speakers also can be placed around the neck to focus attention on the person who is communicating through a device.
“Nothing can describe the grins on faces, the jokes or the personality that comes through when these devices are used,” said Sharon Sowder, MA-CCC/SLP, a speech-language pathologist at OMC Rehabilitation Services. “You can have real conversations. These devices give individuals their voice back or give them a voice they didn’t have before.”
Family members are welcome to contact the clinic to start the referral process. Evaluations and assessments are performed by licensed and certified speech-language pathologists who specialize in AAC. For a referral, contact OMC Rehabilitation Services at 257-5959 or 888-242-9329.