Today in Speech Office, 13, we had an extra special surprise. Ryann Akolkar, our former student, spent the day with us! She was in Pune visiting her in-laws and it just worked out perfectly that she could come translate for us. She is likely the only Kentucky native who speaks such good Hindi and Marathi. Ryann studied at Mercy College for her pre-requisite courses, and is now enrolled in a Masters/PhD program at University of Texas at Austin.
Speech office was busy. We had clients with stuttering and other fluency disorders, intellectual disability, etc. Then, as always, we worked with our post-surgical clients. As they adjust to life with a palate, which creates two cavities (nose and mouth) where one used to be, they need to learn to speak through their mouths. We train the parents as well as the children, so that they can continue therapy at home. Most patients will have no opportunity for more therapy after we leave. We made referrals to the School of Audiology and Speech Pathology for the ones who live in town; perhaps a few will follow up there. The place is wonderful (more on our visit there later).
For the children who had difficulty eating, we gave feeding advice and supplies as needed. One baby was very thin, terrifyingly thin. By the next day he was eating via syringe, as shown by the PACU team, in preparation for transition to a squeeze bottle. He already looked more alert, gazing intently into visitors’ faces, moving more purposefully, bright-eyed. What a great success for this baby and family…something as simple as a syringe…
For babies who had a lip repair, we try to impress on the families how important it is to return next year for the palate if it is open. Parents sometimes feel that as long as it does not show, the palate is not important. But for speech, swallowing and nasal/otic health, the palate should be repaired. Speech can never be properly resonated unless the palate is repaired. We hope we transmitted that message to the parents we met in Pune.
The suitcases are all packed. We will round on the patients one more time in the morning and head out for some RnR in Goa. We can all be proud of a job well done.