Valley View Regional Hospital officials say Kelli Lowry, hospital speech therapist, is recognized as one of few therapists in Oklahoma qualified to use Lee Silverman Voice Training (LSVT). LSVT is useful for patients with speech problems, particularly those caused by Parkinson’s or stroke. The treatment involves 16 sessions in a month, stimulating the muscles of the voice box through exercises.
Toby Jo Butler, 37, of Stratford has been using Valley View Regional Hospital’s speech therapy outpatient services for dysarthria, a muscular weakness that can cause speech to sound slurred. “In 1994, I had a stroke,” Butler said. “I was having trouble communicating with my physical therapy people, and they recommended I come here.”
Lowry said she feels blessed to play a part in improving patients’ speech, but that’s not her only focus. She also treats patients who have trouble swallowing. “Most people don’t realize how dangerous swallowing disorders can be. In cases where the swallowing muscles aren’t functioning properly, eating and drinking can result in aspiration,” she said.
“Patients begin a swallowing function study, ingesting a variety of textured foods and liquids. Then, an x-ray helps diagnose and determine treatment. Many patients will complete VitalStim therapy, which is a neuromuscular electrical stimulation. This therapy works on strengthening and re-training muscles we use in swallowing. In the past, I’ve also seen some success in using VitalStim to help lift drooping facial muscles of stroke patients,” Lowry said.
Speech therapy is offered as an outpatient service, and a physician referral is required. For more information, contact Lowry at (580) 421-1144.