Speech-Language Therapist: Finding the Right Words
Most of us take speaking for granted. But Lemmietta McNeilly, chief staff officer for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, works with children, stroke or accident victims, and other people who need help pronouncing words. Sometimes she'll teach patients strategies to help recall words, then practice those strategies with them in real-world scenarios. Often she'll play roles with them, like talking on the phone or going into a store, in order to make patients comfortable with conversational dialogue.
With children, she might even show them what a sound looks like. "If a child is having trouble making the 'k' sound, we have the child look in the mirror to get the placement," McNeilly says. There are also tools like a spectrographic analysis to help patients break down sounds, so they can learn to produce them correctly."
Not every patient gets to 100 percent, but there's lots of visible progress: "Usually we can see gains within the first few weeks," she says. "It's a nice warm feeling that I'm making a difference to them."