Speech and Language Therapy
The speech and language pathology department has been up and running since September 2011. The speech therapist is involved in assessment and treatment of the communication and feeding difficulties. The children of Woodside Special Care Centre essentially present with severe to profound cognitive and physical disability. This level of disability impacts on each child’s communication and feeding skills. Severe oral motor difficulties negatively impact on articulation (production of individual speech sounds) as well as: chewing, drinking and swallowing. Speech production among our children is largely minimal or non-existent. In this situation, the speech therapy aims to develop communication by: stimulation of residual basic speech, introducing sign language, picture-pointing and other forms of augmentive alternative communication.
Sign language and picture-pointing are low tech forms of augmentive alternative communication but high tech augmentive alternative communication may also be introduced. These are applications and augmentive alternative communication devices such as the “go talk”.
Speech therapy at Woodside Special Care Centre also focusses on training of staff (caregivers). Staff are equipped with knowledge regarding; specific feeding techniques. These include: head stabilization, lip closure, pacing of liquid intake for safer drinking, facial massage for chewing stimulation, manipulation of solid food, upgrading of textured diet.
Other communication skills which are introduced to the higher functioning children are: reading of braille, listening comprehension, rote oral counting, number symbol recognition and alphabet symbol recognition.