May is Speech and Hearing Month

Speech Language Pathologist, Lisa Massaro loves to use play when interacting with her patients. In fact, it’s one of the most effective tools she has at her disposal when evaluating a patient’s communication capacity. “I try to keep activities fun and interesting while assessing or working on the child’s goals” she explains. “My objective is always to maximize a child’s verbal or non-verbal communication abilities so that they can obtain the best functional outcome possible.”

When patients are shy or more hesitant, Lisa isn’t opposed to peaking behind a door or even viewing home videos to see what might be happening when she isn’t present. “Creativity is key in getting the information I need to help a family, especially because we are dealing with a very young patient population.”

Lisa’s work then turns to teaching a family how to best stimulate speech and language in their child based on her observations and individual recommendations. “Sometimes verbal communication is not possible to achieve,” she explains, “but there are many non-verbal strategies we can work on. I can help a family implement and use a communication board or simple signs, for example.” The ultimate goal is to guide a child towards achieving the best communication possible in all of life’s daily activities.  And often, even the smallest gains can represent huge victories for families who may have previously felt stuck and helpless.

“Seeing a child make gains so that he or she can be better understood and, in turn, feel better equipped to communicate --- that’s the best part,” says Lisa. “When I can achieve a goal with a patient and family, all while making them laugh and enjoy the experience, it’s incredibly fulfilling.”