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Focusing on You: Speech Pathologist Helps Patients Communicate Again

2 min read  |  June 28, 2022  | 

With speech therapy, patients learn to read, write, and speak following a stroke.

Jenna Best, SLP, a speech-language pathologist at the University of Miami Health System, discusses the evidence-based techniques UHealth offers patients who have lost the ability to communicate due to stroke or other neurological disorder. Ruby Villalonga is one of those patients.


Meet Ruby VillaIonga

After suffering a massive stroke one year ago, Ruby Villalonga lost the ability to communicate.

“I wasn’t able to walk, talk or feel,” says Ruby.

She went to see Jenna Best, SLP, a speech-language pathologist at UHealth, who works with patients with neurological disorders.

“Ruby, from the beginning, has had to learn to essentially walk and talk again,” Best says.

What is speech therapy?

“In speech therapy, we are working on maximizing communication effectiveness in a functional way. We use an evidence-based technique called semantic feature analysis. This works on naming abilities. For example, we work on naming based off association, or maybe based off function of an object,” says Best.

UHealth’s team approach offers personalized patient care.

“You get a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals ranging from physician, nurse, to therapists. That’s what sets you up for success, and I think that’s what really helps patients reach their specific needs and recovery goals,” Best says.

After six months of therapy with Best, Ruby is seeing remarkable progress!

“She helped me read and write and speak,” Ruby says. She is now back with her family doing what she loves. “We love to dance. I love to dance!”


Video transcript compiled by Janna Ross for ‘Focusing on You: Innovations in Modern Medicine’, a series of healthcare-related stories airing regularly on WPLG Local 10.  For more stories like this one, visit UHealth’s YouTube channel.

Tags: Jenna Best, post-stroke therapy, SLP, speech pathology, speech therapy, speech-language pathology

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