Kingstown, St. Vincent & the Grenadines – World Pediatric Project (WPP) is reaching a well needed portion of our population with specialist pediatric speech and behavioral therapy mission.
This mission has expanded its scope to fill the varied needs of the children every time the team returns to the island. Lead by Miriam Kerr who specializes in cleft lip and palate, speech and language disorders the organization has added a specialized therapy component as during the covid pandemic increased behavioral problems were identified.
The Team consisted of Amy Swaim, speech pathologist/therapist and behavior analyst, Jill Hodge, Aprazia, stuttering and articulation disorder specialist, Wendi McMillian, augmentative communication, and Sarah Cunningham, speech language pathologist, early intervention and pediatric feed therapist. Our local Consultant pediatrician and neurologist Dr. Mishka Duncan-Adams along with local WPP staff and hospital nurses were amongst the contingent that executed the flow of the clinic.
The mission ran from Sunday January 29th to Tuesday January 31st at the Helping Hands Centre in New Montose and saw approximately 116 children. The team successfully completed cases here despite the challenge of not receiving their luggage with some of the necessary materials to complete their task.
Local lead Consultant Pediatric Neurologist Dr. Mishka Duncan-Adams said the clinic has been great as they started off on an exciting note seeing children with many different pathologies. The clinic ran simultaneously with both speech and behavior occurring at the same time. She said they have noticed an influx in children with speech delays, although they are not sure exactly why, a lot of theories predict the pandemic and early use of the devices has resulted in speech deficits. Dr. Duncan-Adams encouraged parents to minimize the use of devises and to play more with their children as well as getting them associated with a social network early if possible as it is beneficial.
Speech, language therapist and behavior analyst Amy Swaim, who has been coming for the last 5 years, says some of the patients/children are doing better, due to the parents being much more involved. She said being home during covid has help with a language boost especially for parents who have been more involved. The contrast she said socially, the children are a little bit more awkward. She discouraged parents from allowing the devises to babysit their children and to make an effort to interact more and have conversations with them. She reinforces using simple language, reading to children and continuous conversations with them are useful tips to help the children along.
Individuals interested in supporting the work of WPP can contact the local office at (784) 451-2989.