HELENA — When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit about five months ago, masks became the new normal, but for one therapy business in Helena, the masks they wear are quite different.
Daylinda Radley is a Speech Language Pathologist, and she owns Speech Therapy Solutions Montana in Helena, and she knew she had to create a safe way for her and her therapists to be able to reach their patients, without the restrictions of full-face coverings.
Daylinda says, “A good population of individuals that we work with have speech sound disorders. In order for us to be able to effectively address their needs and provide great therapeutic intervention is for them to be able to see the place and manner of speech sounds. So if we are covering our mouth, we are eliminating a lot of that.”
Radley added, “When we opened our doors, we were all using see-through ones, and you know what, I get compliments all the time!”
Every therapist in the building uses a mask with a see-through plastic window, in order for their patients to better read their mouths and mannerisms, something Daylinda says is important for a variety of people they serve.
Radley says, “But it is also very powerful for them to see an actual individual show how to position their lips, their tongue, their teeth, all of those different things, to effectively be able to do the sound. We don’t realize how much we miss on the non-verbals, just, even like having that covered (demonstrates half the face being covered).”
There’s one other element the clear masks bring, that Daylinda says we’ve all been missing.
Daylinda says, “People love the smile! It’s like, my gosh, we miss that!”