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Get to know Linda O'Brien, Speech-Language Pathologist

Posted on May 30, 2017 in Caregiving, Health and Wellness

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, a time to raise public awareness about communication impairments and promote treatment that can improve a person’s quality of life. 

Ohio Living Park Vista would like to recognize their Speech Language Pathologists, Linda O’Brien and Kali Farris, for their service to their patients. We were able to grab some one-on-one time with Linda to get a better sense of what it is that she does as a speech-language pathologist. 

1.    How long have you been working as a speech-language pathologist?
I have worked as a speech- language pathologist for 33 years in a variety of settings, including a school, a home health company, a hospital and a long-term care facility. As a result, I have worked with high-risk infants, school-aged children and adults. I have enjoyed every setting!

2.    How long have you worked at Ohio Living Park Vista?
I began working on a PRN basis at Ohio Living Park Vista eight years ago, and I moved to full-time employment here six-and-a-half years ago. 

3.    Why did you decide to be a speech-language pathologist?
I worked at a day care center while in college, majoring in education. I remember helping a child who had some difficulty saying her words clearly. That was the beginning of knowing that I wanted to be a speech pathologist.

4.    For those who are unfamiliar, what do you do as a speech-language pathologist?
When I introduce myself as a speech pathologist to a new patient, most people say “my speech is fine” or “I can talk.” Often, I am seeing the person because they are unable to chew or swallow their food. Other times I am seeing the person because their speech or language skills have been impaired. Some causes for adult speech, language or swallowing problems include stroke, traumatic brain injury, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, Multiple Sclerosis and Myasthenia Gravis.

5.     What is your favorite thing about being a speech-language pathologist?
My favorite thing is to help improve a patient’s quality of life. This is one of the reasons why my favorite thing to treat is Dysphagia, which is a swallowing disorder. When you think about it, we share special moments of our lives around meals. When a person is unable to eat, this not only takes away the pleasure that food gives, but also the socialization that occurs during the meal. It is my hope that I can help restore not only the patient’s ability to eat, but also improve his or her socialization with family and friends.

Speech Therapy, Speech-Language Pathology, Better Hearing and Speech Month, Dysphagia, LSVT