Donna Ridley, M.Ed., CCC-SLP, has expanded her speech-language pathology expertise to therapy via videoconferencing (currently via Skype™). Named by a colleague as “The R Czar”, Donna is an old-fashioned speech pathologist who uses new-fashioned technology--Skype™, SATPAC, and various ‘apps’. With her expertise in how speech sounds are formed/ integrated into the speech stream, she is able to teach clients at a distance how to produce, for example, a perfect American “R” sound. ( American “R” is a particularly elusive speech sound because it is fluid, invisible, made entirely inside the mouth, and changes with the adjacent sounds. With the right approach, many speech errors can be successfully remediated via distance technology.
Donna’s approach to changing speech errors is eclectic…she uses no single ‘program’ but uses cueing, drills, games, oral placement sticks and gadgets, technology, competitive challenges -- whatever works. Her expert knowledge of phonetic contexts allows her to select the best sound combinations for producing the target sound correctly -- particularly important when treating distortions of the “R” sound, since R is changed and affected by sounds adjacent to it. Successful phonetic contexts (sound combinations) are then expanded to all conversational speech.
Speech differences are often obvious – and AUDIBLE--to the listener. Children with speech errors may suffer social isolation or ridicule, and may be perceived by teachers or peers as "younger" or "not smart". Adults with speech errors or differences may be limited in their job success, or fearful in social situations. Correction of errors can result in an enormous boost to self-confidence, and to greater academic and social success for both children and adults.
Donna is a listed contributor to Carryover Techniques in Articulation and Phonological Therapy by Pam Marshalla (2010) ; an editorial consultant to 21st Century Articulation Therapy by Pam Marshalla (in progress); a founding member of the Oral Motor Institute (a professional study group of speech path specialists ); and she is the first speech-language pathologist to prove the benefit of using ultrasound in clinical speech therapy.