Intensive Comprehensive Aphasia Program Reaches Rural Idaho
July 25, 2022
Idaho State University Speech-Language Pathology online graduate students have completed a two-week intensive clinical experience specifically designed to help serve people in remote communities.
The Meridian Intensive Adult Program (MIAP), designed in 2012 to meet clinical rotation requirements for online students, has an adult neurogenic focus, specifically on people who are struggling with aphasia. Students used Zoom to meet with clients across rural Idaho, providing care that might be unavailable at their local clinics.
Aphasia is the loss of ability to express or understand speech, often occurring after a stroke or head injury. Signs and symptoms include social isolation or persistent repetition of words or actions, difficulty speaking or jumbled speech, difficulty building and drawing things or loss of the ability to write.
The second-year students help those who sign up through 180 minutes of daily individualized speech and language therapy, five hours of weekly group speech and language therapy, small group activities designed to increase collaboration, connections and stimulate communication, and home education program training and materials.
“There are many adults and children across Idaho that do not receive services for many reasons, one of them being living in rural areas,” said Amy Hardy, clinical professor with the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at ISU. “Zoom is a HIPPA compliant application and we are able to assist those that would not otherwise have any therapy at all once they leave the hospital.”
One student, Tamara Gonzalez Scheulov, says MIAP gave her new insight into telemedicine.
“I saw first-hand the importance of offering teletherapy services,” Gonzalez Scheulov said. “My client lived in a remote rural area far from the University Speech and Language Clinic. He would not be able to participate in the MIAP program if it weren't for teletherapy. For many, like my client, teletherapy is the only option.”
Gonzalez Scheulov also echoed Hardy’s statements on rural access to medicine being of utmost importance.
“Rural communities throughout the US lack access to health care,” she said. “Idaho State University has offered a solution to this issue by providing high-quality health care, while also training a new generation of speech language pathologists. Our clients made significant improvements as a result of the ten-day intensive online MIAP program.”
Both Gonzalez Scheulov and Hardy say they are excited at the prospect of utilizing technology to address the needs of rural Idahoans, and they are grateful to all those involved.
“We would also like to thank SLP private practices around Idaho for their referrals, specifically Salmon Speech Services, St. Alphonsus and St. Lukes for their continued referrals to our program,” Hardy said.