Four members of the FACES team gathered on June 9th for a two hour Internet speech-therapy session with five patients who received surgical and dental treatment in January. The patients gathered at an Internet site in northern Peru with in-country coordinator Delia Delgado. The Portland team was able to connect for the session using Skype and video-enabled computers.
Patients each had individual speech-therapy sessions with bilingual therapists Lance Tsugawa and Yasmin Marin-McGrath. They assessed the patients’ speech progress and ability to make specific sounds and patterns of speech that are essential for clear communication. After the speech assessment, the FACES therapists also provided advice for parents on how to help their child further develop clear speech.
One patient in attendance was Milagros, a 4-year-old girl who was not able to receive surgery from the FACES team in January due to an especially difficult-to-fix palatal opening. Instead, the FACES team partnered with a local dentist in Lambayeque to make her a palatal obturator, a prosthesis (like a retainer) that plugs the hole in the roof of the mouth.
After her speech-therapy session, Dr. Albert provided medical and dental follow-up and then discussed the case with the team’s Peruvian coordinator, Delia Delgado.
“A long time ago she couldn’t say any words,” said Delia. “But now when I call her, she talks to me on the phone all the time.”
Tsugawa and Marin-McGrath explained to Milagros’ mother how to coach her daughter on making the “g” and “k” sounds properly. Milagros will receive further speech and medical follow-up during the 2013 surgical trip in January.
Below: Therapist Lance Tsugawa provides speech therapy and assessment for a patient in northern Peru over Internet connection.
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