The Meridian Star
The relationship between working memory and speech were explained by a local speech therapist at the August meeting of the Long Creek Community Development Club.
Heather Boldin, a speech pathologist at Clarkdale Attendance Center, began her presentation by asking the club, "Have you ever walked into the kitchen and wondered, 'What on earth did I come into this room for?'"
Surprisingly, a lot of "young" people experience this. "Whether you are young or young-at-heart, improving memory is only a few steps away," Boldin said. "First, you must have an awareness of your forgetfulness in order to make a conscious effort to improve it.
"In addition to treating problems with speech production, language, and swallowing difficulties, a person's short-term memory or other aspects of their cognition can be evaluated and treated by speech therapists if problems exist," she said.
Speech therapists can perform tests on people of all ages.
“For example, an elderly person who has suffered a stroke may need a swallow test done to see if their swallowing muscles are impaired or not,” Boldin said.
Other tests include language skills, short term memory skills, and voice therapy for those who have lost the use of their vocal cords for an extended period of time. For example, a person may have had to be on a ventilator for a month or so after surgery.
“It may be difficult for that person to speak after being taken off the ventilator,” she said.
Young children may have difficulty speaking if they have certain ear problems during the critical age of speech development. Or, if a child’s mouth or palate is irregularly shaped, it may cause developmental difficulties in articulating sounds.
At age 3, children should be able to say words beginning with the sounds "m" and ‘p’ and advancing to words beginning with the sounds "b," "d," "g," "k," "n" and "t." Boldin works with children at Clarkdale ranging from age 3 to 12th graders, after being evaluated with their parents’ permission.
“I have anywhere from 50 to 60 kids that I work with whose academic success is hindered by their disabilities,” she said.
Bolding also works at Jeff Anderson Regional Medical Center, Rush Foundation Hospital and Amedisys Home Health as needed. She said she is also gratified by her work outside of the school, especially with her home health patients.
“They may not know what day it is or remember how old I am, but they do remember some things I like,” she said. “I have patients who don’t get a lot of visitors, so they take my time with them very seriously. Some make sure I have a cold Coke or warm piece of pie waiting. But the best gift of all is witnessing all the people who get better.”
So how does Boldin get her patients and students to become better at memory? “There are four techniques,” she said.
• Association – associating something new with something you already know. To recall a specific date you can associate it with a national or universal date. For instance, Nov. 25 is one month before Christmas.
• Visualization – forming a picture in your mind’s eye of the things you want to remember. A good example for visualization would be to imagine yourself leaving the grocery store with a huge container of milk, if milk is what you needed to buy.
• Repetition and rehearsal – repeating new information to yourself several times. Try spacing out the repetitions over time until you have it nailed. Also, for learning a larger amount of material at one time, break up the material into smaller parts and spread out the studying over several days rather than trying to learn it all at once.
• Compensation – which is simply to "write it down." Important things to write down in a notebook are reference materials such as names, phone numbers and your medications.
After the program, several announcements were made.
Zero Day is scheduled for Sept. 21 at the ball field behind the clubhouse. The annual day event will feature entertainment, craft and informational booths and food.
The cost to set up a booth is $20; call Winky Litchfield at (601) 485-3905 or Rae Carol Enzor at (601) 693-4190.
Long Creek Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department will raffle a Henry Golden Boy 22LR Lever Action rifle. Tickets are available now through Zero Day until the afternoon drawing. Tickets are $5 for one, or $20 for five.
Yard of the Month honors for August went to Larry and Linda Bradley of Mini Farm Road.
The next meeting of the Long Creek Community Development Club is Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. at the clubhouse, which is located at 4892 Zero Road. Participation is free and open to the public. Guest speaker will be a Crisis Intervention Team deputy from the Lauderdale County Sheriff Detention Facility.
Submitted by Jill R. Walsh.