Speech-language pathologists played a critical role in former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ recovery, reports her husband Captain Mark Kelly. Nancy Helm-Estabrooks, ScD, CCC-SLP, was reportedly recruited by Kelly to head Giffords’ speech-language care team. In a recent interview appearing The ASHA Leader Nancy Helm-Estabrooks provides readers with a first-hand account of the vital role that speech-language pathology treatment played during Giffords’ recovery. 

Helm-Estabrooks is professor emerita and former Brewer Smith Distinguished Professor at the department of communication disorders and sciences college of health and human sciences of Western Carolina University.

Helm-Estabrooks spotlights Giffords’ stamina in achieving communications goals, progressing from early incremental process during speech-language treatment to ordering lunch independently at a restaurant. Helm-Estabrooks also reports that integrating music into Giffords’ treatment also assisted during recovery, paired with, “A lot of very good language therapy [that] has helped her to achieve the very clearly articulated verbal expression she has today,” Helm-Estabrooks explains in the interview.

Helm-Estabrooks also emphasizes the need for public accessibility to the kind of care provided to Giffords, “That Gabby is on such a good road to recovery is a testimony to our field, to occupational and physical therapies, rehab medicine, and what a lot of therapy can do. I’m hoping her case brings to public attention how little rehab people with strokes and aspahasia are getting or are allowed.”

To read the full interview, click here.

Source: The ASHA Leader