Improving Post-Relapse Recovery in Multiple Sclerosis With Rehabilitation: Rachel Haines, MA, CCC-SLP, MSCS, CBIS


The neuromuscular and movement disorders speech-language pathologist at Orlando Health discussed strategies in managing the phases of multiple sclerosis for patients and the need for collaborative referral practices. [WATCH TIME: 5 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 3 minutes

“Neurologists have limited time to assess physical function and other aspects like speech, spasticity, and cognition, highlighting the importance of involving various rehab disciplines. Rehabilitation professionals should also play a consistent role, akin to seeing a neurologist or dentist regularly, advocating for early referrals and comprehensive assessments."

Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) supports individuals with complex communication needs such as patients living with multiple sclerosis (MS) who may have speech disabilities.1 Treatment approaches like speech therapy and understanding AAC for this patient population are important when disease progression can impair verbal speech. Therefore, patients seeing a speech pathologist and having a rehabilitation plan can help with improving their communication.

At the 2023 Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) Annual Meeting, held May 31 to June 3, in Aurora, Colorado, Rachel Haines, MA, CCC-SLP, MSCS, CBIS, presented on the topic of augmentative and alternative communication controls in the MS population in a clinical workshop. During her presentation, Haines and her colleagues discussed the definition of AAC and the common uses of it within the MS community in terms of positioning for access and alternative access.2

Haines, a neuromuscular and movement disorders speech-language pathologist at Orlando Health, recently sat down in an interview with NeurologyLive® at the meeting to discuss how the rehabilitation treatment approach differs for patients with MS in the preprogression phase compared with those experiencing a relapse. She also spoke about the challenges that rehab professionals face in assessing and addressing both new and existing deficits among patients with MS postrelapse. In addition, Haines talked about how collaborative referral practices among healthcare providers could lead to more comprehensive and timely rehabilitation for patients with MS.

Click here for more coverage of CMSC 2023.

1. Burnham SPL, Finak P, Henderson JT, et al. Models and frameworks for guiding assessment for aided Augmentative and Alternative communication (AAC): a scoping review. Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol. 2023;1-15. doi:10.1080/17483107.2023.2233986
2. Haines R, Carrasco T, Vallenilla R. A Team Approach to Evaluation and Recommendations for Augmentative and Alternative Communication Controls. Presented at: 2023 CMSC Annual Meeting; May 31-June 3; Aurora, CO. CC6.
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