Joe Smith with Mary Bland, speech therapist

Speech therapy has made a difference for Joseph Smith, a long-term resident at The Westchester House in Chesterfield, Missouri.


Smith came to the skilled nursing and rehab center on Jan. 26, 2017, for assistance recovering from a previous stroke and his ongoing epilepsy. He underwent speech therapy five days a week.


When he arrived, Smith was able to communicate clearly at the word and short phrase level but had difficulty speaking in sentences and carrying on conversations. He also had trouble thinking clearly and slight trouble with swallowing.


Mary Bland worked with Smith as his speech therapist and helped train him in personal compensatory strategies for functional communication. She also helped him take into account social settings. She used modified semantic feature analysis, a grid-based way of visualizing word associations and categories.


“Joe works very hard to achieve his treatment goals,” said Bland. “He is cooperative, optimistic and has a good sense of humor.”


“You make it interesting,” Smith told Bland. “I can talk better.”


Smith can now communicate more clearly at the sentence and conversational level and is meeting his cognitive goals, such as short-term recall and problem solving.