NYMC Prepares Speech-Language Pathology Students to Make a Difference in Their Community 

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Vikas Grover, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, is an assistant professor of speech-language pathology in the School of Health Sciences and Practice at New York Medical College.

The Department of Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) in the School of Health Sciences and Practice (SHSP) at New York Medical College (NYMC) serves as a valuable resource to the Westchester County community not only through its academic and wide-range of clinical programs, but through hands-on experience for graduate students. SLP faculty and graduate students engage in clinically-driven research and work to create and coordinate innovative approaches in the field through supervised clinical practice.  

The Department operates the Speech-Language Pathology Division of the Boston Children’s Health Physicians (BCHP), based on NYMC’s Valhalla campus, where faculty and clinical staff work alongside graduate student clinicians to provide evidence-based clinical evaluation, treatment and services in speech-language therapy for patients of all ages, as well as services in pediatric swallowing and feeding disorders to improve patient outcomes.  

During the last three years, the Department has created several unique clinical programs to meet the needs of the local community. The Wonder of Words (WOW) parent training group developed by Vikas Grover, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, assistant professor of speech-language pathology, and Lauren B. Alter, M.S., CCC-SLP, TSSLD, adjunct assistant professor of speech-language pathology, prepares and trains parents in the use of strategies to promote their child’s language development through play. This program provides much-needed help for children who are waitlisted for speech-language services or who may not qualify for therapy through local early intervention and preschool programs. The Department also hosts a social skills group for children who face difficulties in communicating in social situations. 

For patients whose native language is not English, Dr. Grover established an accent expansion clinic that helps non-native English speakers enhance their American English phonology repertoire so they can feel comfortable communicating. The Department runs a weekly communication skills group for adults with long-term aphasia, a disorder that affects a person’s ability to speak, write and understand language. This group provides an environment for people to work on communication skills with the guidance of graduate students under the supervision of faculty mentors.  

In collaboration with the Behavior Health Center at Westchester Medical Center, Monica A. McHenry, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, professor of speech-language pathology, helped develop a new program for individuals experiencing “brain fog” as a long-term side effect of COVID-19. Many patients who have recovered from COVID-19 report difficulty concentrating and managing everyday responsibilities. The therapy developed for these patients focuses on assisting the individual in optimizing physiology, using organizational tools, prioritizing tasks, engaging in conversations, sustaining attention to complete tasks, optimizing learning and memory and solving problems.  

The Department also has an outpatient program that provides assessment and treatment of pediatric feeding and swallowing disorders, known as dysphagia. Feeding and swallowing difficulties can be challenging to identify in early childhood, making it difficult for parents to manage the complexity of the disorder when they notice that their child has eating and drinking difficulties. The program, managed by Lisa Velella, M.S., CCC-SLP, TSHH, adjunct assistant professor of speech-language pathology, employs speech-language pathologists with training in child development, body systems, as well as specific expertise in feeding and swallowing disorders in children. 

The SHSP also offers a post-graduate Advanced Certificate in Pediatric Dysphagia. This program, coordinated by Lindsay Murray-Keane, M.S., CCC-SLP, TSSLD, prepares students to fulfill the need for more pediatric dysphagia specialists in the community. For questions or more information about the post-graduate advanced certificate, contact the SHSP Office of Admissions at (914) 594-4510 or shsp_admission@nymc.edu 

The Department of Speech-Language Pathology at NYMC is always ready and willing to serve the community. The Department may be reached at (914) 594-4912 to schedule an appointment.

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