Overcoming Challenges and Early Intervention for Speech Therapy in MS: Rachel Haines, MA, CCC-SLP, MSCS, CBIS


At CMSC 2023, the neuromuscular and movement disorders speech-language pathologist at Orlando Health discussed the importance of early intervention in speech and communication therapy, as well as the challenges faced in getting patients to seek therapy at the time of diagnosis. [WATCH TIME: 5 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 5 minutes

"I can't tell you how many times I run down the hall to PT and I'm like, 'she's slipping out of her chair, I can't get the breath support that I need. What can we do? What can we adjust? How can you help me? What can we add to their chair, like a seat belt to support their pelvis?' It's a team effort."

In the field of neurology, the power of collaboration is not to be underestimated. This is particularly prevalent when it comes to addressing the needs of patients living with multiple sclerosis (MS) and the challenges that they experience with communication. Recent conversations in the field have talked about the benefits of a comprehensive team approach for MS patients, focusing on augmentative and alternative communication (ACC) methods. Thus, using AAC methods has the potential to enhance the communication abilities and overall well-being of patients with MS.

Rachel Haines, MA, CCC-SLP, MSCS, CBIS, gave a presentation in a workshop about augmentative and alternative communication controls in the MS population at the 2023 Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) Annual Meeting, held May 31 to June 3, in Aurora, Colorado. In the clinical course, Haines and colleagues introduced a case study and the definition of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Haines and the speakers also talked about what is commonly used in the MS population with AAC regarding positioning for access and alternative access.1

At the meeting, Haines, a neuromuscular and movement disorders speech-language pathologist at Orlando Health, sat down in an interview with NeurologyLive® to discuss the main points that were covered in the presentation. She also talked about how the team approach in assessing and evaluating assistive technology benefits patients with MS. In addition, she spoke about the challenges speech-language pathologists face in getting patients to seek therapy early on in their MS diagnosis. In addition, she explained how early intervention in speech and communication therapy can help patients in managing their MS symptoms.

Click here for more coverage of CMSC 2023.

1. 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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