Free consultations will be offered for the month of May for people with a wide range of speech problems who could benefit from the help of a speech pathologist.
Speech-language pathologist Michele Poynton-Marsh has announced she will offer free consultations at her outpatient office on Savannah Road during May, Better Hearing and Speech Month.
Poynton-Marsh specializes in speech services for adults and offers treatment for clients who are suffering from Parkinson's, stroke or closed-head injuries, she said. She is offering a consultation to anyone who feels they may benefit from speech services.
"I specialize in voice disorders. Especially with Parkinson's, you see a hypophonia, or low speech volume," Poynton-Marsh said. "Stroke patients may suffer from aphasia. Sometimes they need to use augmentative speech devices that will talk for them."
Her outpatient office, in the yellow Atlantic Professional Building on Savannah Road near Five Points, primarily serves adults, but in May she will offer consultations and referrals for anyone who could benefit from the skills of a speech-language pathologist.
Speech-language pathologists do more than correct pronunciation, she said. Stuttering and articulation disorders make up a significant portion of these practices, but pathologists may also assist clients with swallowing, memory and cognition impairments.
"Stroke patients may choke so we do exercises to help strengthen the swallowing muscles and modify the diet for safer food or perhaps thicken liquids so they don't aspirate," she said.
Memory disorders and difficulty maintaining focus can occur after a concussion or other closed-head injury in people of all ages, she said. Speech pathologists help design therapies to communicate despite new limitations.
Delaware has a shortage of speech-language pathologists, which Poynton-Marsh attributes to the absence of graduate-level academic programs in the specialty.
University of Delaware is looking for a founding director for a proposed speech-language pathology graduate program, so the number of pathologists may soon begin to rise, Poynton-Marsh said.
Although the program has yet to launch, Poynton-Marsh said she wants to open her office to prospective students who need observation hours, which are often a component of application materials.
Poynton-Marsh Speech Services is at 1632 Savannah Road, near Five Points. For more information, visit www.mpmspeech.com or call 302-644-1220.