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Masks and online appointments have negative impact on speech pathology

Speech and Language therapy has run into some hurdles since the pandemic began.

Wendy Duke, a Speech and Language Pathologist said they’ve had to do a lot of their treatment online.

“It does depend on their age and their needs and their attention span, but of course as much as is possible we are trying to do treatment virtually. And that works very well for some populations, and it doesn’t work very well at all for others.”

Duke adds that being able to work with people online has definitely made things easier for some.

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“For some people, it’s actually a lot more convenient to be seen virtually. They can come and see us, even though we are located in Vancouver, people in Prince George or anywhere else in the province can book assessment and treatment with us virtually.”

But according to Duke, that kind of treatment doesn’t work for everyone.

“A population that doesn’t work well for at all is pre-school children with autism and behavioural issues. They just don’t have the attention span to sit in front of a screen. So those people we make every attempt to see in person and to put safety measures in place.”

Duke holds an intense session for people who stutter every year, and she said last year they had to have masks and face shields, as well as social distancing and the inability to have family members sit in on the session, which she said made things difficult.

She added that treatment for some people hasn’t had the best results.

“We have seen people who get the treatment, but it’s not as ideal as it could be, if not for COVID-19.”

Duke has been trying to make the best of a bad situation though, she said they’ve partnered with a theatre group to hold improv courses online specifically for those who suffer from stuttering.

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