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Long wait to get speech therapy at MGMGH

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(Rep image)

Trichy: Getting speech therapy at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital (MGMGH) for children here has become an ordeal for parents. With just one speech pathologist, on a temporary basis on duty, parents rued that at times they have had to wait for a long time for the therapy. While children, who undergo cochlear implantation for congenital hearing loss, are given post-surgery speech therapy at the ENT floor of MGMGH, children with developmental disorders such as speech delay, autism, attention hypersensitivity disorder etc., are provided the therapy at the District Early Intervention Centre (DEIC) of the hospital.

According to sources, since there’s just one specialist for children, and also at times for adults if needed, the therapy sessions at DEIC and at ENT department have been restricted to just three days a week. “While therapy is done at DEIC on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, children who underwent cochlear implantation, are given audio-visual simulation therapy (AVT) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday,” a source from DEIC said.

Dean of MGMGH Dr G Anitha though asserted that one speech pathologist is quite adequate for the hospital. Senior doctors at the hospital, on the other hand, suggested that if an exclusive speech pathologist is appointed separately for ENT department and DEIC each separately, it would lead to patients getting more efficient treatment.

According to statistics, this year alone, more than 180 children with developmental delays and disorders were referred to DEIC for speech therapy. But such heavy inflow of patients, coupled with the fact that they’re given therapy only on three days at the centre, has led to many parents wait for a long time for getting their children the therapy session.

When it comes to children, who undergo cochlear implantation, AVT therapy is considered to be very important post-surgical rehabilitation procedure and the success of the surgery depends predominantly on the therapy. Till around four months back, for the children who underwent the surgery, specialised rehabilitation was given at a private centre, Hearing Aid Centre (HAC), in the city, but now it’s being provided at the hospital itself. “The government recently came up with the concept of in-house AVT programme at the government hospitals and hence, the children who underwent the surgery are also given therapy at MGMGH. Currently, it’s in a transition phase, but if there are any issues, they will be addressed in due course,” head of ENT department at K A P Viswanatham Government Medical College, Dr S Palaniappan told TOI. A total of 51 children underwent cochlear implantation through MGMGH over the past one and a half years.


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