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Kelly Marie Glynn, MA, CCC-SLP

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For Kelly Marie Glynn, studying sign language in high school was her first exposure to a world where people couldn’t always communicate verbally. Her desire to study speech pathology was further inspired by her grandfather, who had Parkinson’s disease. As Glynn recalls, “I saw that because he couldn’t communicate, people treated him as though he was incompetent, which infuriated me.”

Both experiences made Glynn want to help people who couldn’t communicate. As a speech pathologist at Children’s Rehab Center (CRC) in White Plains, Glynn works with children who have a variety of medical problems that prevent them from eating and speaking independently. Known as a caring professional who finds extraordinary ways to address disabilities, Glynn says, “The most rewarding part of my work is that I give children their voice.”

A main focus of Glynn’s work is pediatric feeding. She works with many children with dysphagia, a difficulty in swallowing that can lead to aspirating food and liquids. To help these children, Glynn has spearheaded CRC’s Pediatric VitalStim program, in which an electrical unit delivers a neuromuscular stimulant to trigger the muscles and nerves needed to swallow. VitalStim treatments can help decrease the risk of aspiration and eliminate the need for tube feeding — a practice that prevents children from eating solids. Glynn finds enormous satisfaction in knowing she can help a child go home and have a meal with their family. As she says, “A meal isn’t just food in someone’s stomach; it’s being able to sit together, to communicate, and share family time.”

And, she says, “Knowing I’ve helped a child say ‘Mama’ for the first time is the greatest feeling in the world.”


 

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