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May 16, 2013

Celebrate Better Hearing and Speech Month

Better Hearing and Speech Month is recognized in May by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. More than 14 million Americans deal with speech and language disorders that can be treated by speech-language pathologists. Scotland County is currently home to six such professionals, (pictured L to R) Seth Fitzgerald, Kim Fitzgerald, Kellyn Wickert, Ali Fromm, Davye Heine, and Trinity Davis.

Since 1927, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has celebrated Better Hearing and Speech Month each May to raise public awareness of speech and language disorders that affect 14 million Americans.

Speech and language disorders can take many forms and can limit academic achievement, social adjustment, and career advancement. An individual may be born with a speech or language disorder, or it may be caused by accidental injury or illness.

Fortunately, most people with speech and language problems can be helped. Even if the problem cannot be eliminated, speech-language pathologists (SLPs) can teach people with speech and language problems strategies to help them cope. People may not fully regain their capacity to speak and understand, but SLPs can help them live more independently.

Speech-language pathologists are the professionals who treat all types of speech, language, and related disorders. SLPs also treat dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing. They hold at least a master's degree and are certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. They also are licensed by the state. SLPs work in schools, private practice, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other health and education settings.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association is the national professional, scientific and credentialing association for more than 145,000 audiologists, speech-language pathologists and speech, language, and hearing scientists.

Surprisingly, Memphis is currently home to six Speech-Language Pathologists: Trinity Davis, Kim Fitzgerald, Seth Fitzgerald, Ali Fromm, Davye Heine, and Kellyn Wickert.

In 2009, Trinity Davis decided to attend Truman State University to pursue a degree in Communication Disorders (i.e. Speech-Language Pathology). After working as a teacher for several years, Trinity decided to pursue speech-language pathology because of the need in the community at the time. Trinity graduated with her master's degree from Truman in May 2013. Trinity is interested in working in the nursing home or hospital setting with adults who have communication or swallow disorders. Trinity is also interested in early childhood intervention, the birth to 5-year-old population.

Kim and Seth Fitzgerald moved to Memphis in the spring of 2011. Kim holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Seth holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Justice Systems. Both became interested in speech-language pathology after graduation and decided to go back to school to earn master's degrees. Kim graduated from Truman with her Master of Arts in Communication Disorders in December 2009 and Seth graduated with his master's in August 2012. Kim currently works for Aegis Therapies in nursing homes in Keosauqua, Fairfield, and Washington, Iowa. Seth works for Rehab Visions at the Monroe County Hospital in Albia, Iowa where he works with both adults and children who have speech, language, and swallowing disorders. Seth also works in the nursing home setting on an as needed basis.

Davye J. Heine received her Master of Science Degree from University of Central Missouri in May of 2003. Davye began her career as a Speech-Language Pathologist at Rusk Rehabilitation Center in Columbia, Missouri, specializing in cognitive, communication, and swallowing therapy for adults with traumatic brain injury and stroke. Davye also worked at Jefferson City Public Schools and then the Special Learning Center, a private agency serving birth-to-seven populations in Jefferson City, Missouri. Davye moved back to Scotland County in 2011 and resides with her husband Travis and two children Finley and Brant. Davye's specialties in pediatrics include working with children with Autism, Apraxia, and Cognitive-Linguistic Impairments. Davye is currently working at the Scotland County public schools and Scotland County Hospital.

Ali Fromm grew up in Memphis and graduated from Scotland County R-I in 2006. She then went on to Rockhurst University where she earned her bachelor's as well as her Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology in May of 2012. Ali worked at the Schuyler County school district for the 2012-2013 school year, but has accepted a position at the Scotland County R-1 school district for the 2013-2014 year. Ali also works at the Scotland County Hospital on an as needed basis.

Kellyn Wickert is a 2008 graduate of Scotland County R-1. Kellyn became interested in speech-language pathology because she has a passion for working with children. Because of this, her mother encouraged her to take a course in communication disorders. Kellyn graduated from Truman State University with her Master of Arts in Communication Disorders this month, May of 2013. Kellyn will be working at the Putnam County R-1 school district for the 2013-2014 academic year.

For more information about speech, language, and hearing disorders and prevention, visit or contact one of the six Speech-Language Pathologists living here in Memphis.

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