Speech pathologist helps children communicate beyond words

Speech pathologist helps children communicate beyond words


Lynn M. LaValley, M.S, speech language pathologist at Therapy for Language and Communication, LLC at 60 Church Street in Wallingford, Wednesday, September 11, 2013. The business provides comprehensive speech and language assessments and intervention to individuals. | (Dave Zajac / Record-Journal)

WALLINGFORD — As Lynn LaValley sat at a table in her office, she turned on her iPad and tapped a series of pictures. With each tap, a voice spoke slowly forming a complete sentence. The app can help a person with speech difficulties communicate.

This is augmented alternative communication, said LaValley, a speech language pathologist. It includes forms of communication, other than speech, used to express thoughts, needs, and ideas, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s website.

LaValley uses augmented alternative communication with clients of her business, Therapy for Language and Communication, 60 Church St. (Route 68). A town resident, she decided it was time to move her business to Wallingford from Cheshire. It opened earlier this month.

She’s been a speech language pathologist for 11 years. When some parents look at her title, LaValley said, they think she can mainly help a child better pronounce certain letters and words. But there’s more to her job.

“I love the communication part of it and using all different ways to communicate, rather than verbal,” she said.

Aside from her office, the main room has a table and shelves of toys, which she frequently uses to help her clients express themselves. She described how she would put toys a younger client likes in a box and hide it around the room. LaValley said it encourages the child to communicate. In that particular example, the child led his mother to the toys.

“One day, he went into her purse and grabbed her keys and went to the door,” she said. “It was his way of saying he wanted to go. That was huge.”

Using pictures is also important, LaValley said. If a person can’t speak or use sign language to convey what they need or want, she has them point to pictures.

LaValley visits local daycares to offer free evaluations.

“The early intervention is really huge,” she said. “... Getting out in the community is another big thing.”

Camila Gabriel, who owns a tutoring business in the same building, said the addition of LaValley’s business makes the building more family orientated.

“The building itself is very generated towards children with a pediatric children’s doctor and pediatric eye doctor,” Gabriel said.

LaValley is hosting a grand opening on Sept. 28, from 1 to 4 p.m.

evo@record-journal.com (203) 317-2235 Twitter: @EricVoRJ

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