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Communication focus of pediatric rehabilitation

Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 6:58 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -

Being successful in life begins with learning to communicate effectively. Coming up at 6 in this week’s Medical Monday, Kathy McCarty has more on services that can help establish the skills needed to succeed.

When it comes to pediatric rehabilitation, many think therapy is limited to a child not saying sounds correctly or having a stutter. But Robby Desjardins, a Speech Language Pathologist, says there’s so much more involved with a child communicating their wants and needs.

“For some kids who are not verbal yet or they don’t have the ability to be verbal yet - maybe they’ve got some co-occurring medical diagnoses that prevent that - we can use other means of communication, such as augmentative communication - giving a computer to speak. So there’s a lot that we do through pediatric rehab that helps kids who otherwise would have a difficult time verbally communicating, actually communicate with the people around them,” says Robby Desjardins.

Amanda Larrabee, an Occupational Therapist, says much of occupational therapy involves sensory needs.

“A lot of our kids that are on the spectrum, and even some that don’t, every person is a sensory being. That’s how we explore our environment; it’s how we learn. So being able to kind of target that, so that they’re able to learn and grow effectively, is really one big piece,” says Amanda Larrabee.

Another component is play. Larrabee says play is the work of children. If unable to play with others at their age level, it creates delays as they progress through school. Desjardins says early intervention makes a big difference.

“There’s a fine amount of time where the brain is very plastic and malleable and we want to - we want to catch that moment for a lot of these kids and really give them as much stimulation as we can early, if we are concerned whether there’s a speech delay or a fine motor delay - we want to get them early because that’s when we’re gonna make the biggest gains,” says Desjardins.

Desjardins says by implementing skills learned in rehabilitation, children can make the advances necessary to transition through life. If you have concerns about your child’s development, speak with your pediatrician. Kathy

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