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Speech Therapy Helps Teacher with Bell’s Palsy

Speech therapy helps teacher get back in the classroom

Mindy’s Inspiring Journey to Recovery with Speech Therapy

After a COVID infection triggered both Guillain-Barre and Bell’s Palsy, Mindy, a dedicated first-grade school teacher, sought out physical therapy and speech therapy to help her recover. Mindy’s incredible journey of perseverance and recovery highlights the vital role of physical and speech therapy in reclaiming her health and returning to her passion for teaching.

A Difficult Diagnosis

After contracting COVID during the Thanksgiving break, Mindy’s health took a severe turn. The debilitating effects of the virus progressively weakened her muscles. Doctors soon identified the issue. Her COVID infection triggered Guillain-Barre and Bell’s Palsy. Her condition became so severe that she remained hospitalized throughout Christmas, fighting to regain control over her body.

The Struggles Faced

Upon starting outpatient physical therapy and speech therapy in January, Mindy faced various challenges. The right side of her face was completely paralyzed, with no signs of lower motor neuron engagement. The muscle paralysis extended to her throat and caused profound difficulties in swallowing. Those issues led to food becoming lodged in her throat, substantial weight loss, and an inability to consume various textures or solid food. Additionally, slurred speech and fatigue hindered her ability to communicate effectively for more than a few minutes at a time.

Speech Therapy to the Rescue

Mindy’s journey to recovery began with speech therapy, focusing on strategies to improve her swallowing function. The primary goals were to help her consume appropriate foods, stop weight loss, and gradually expand her diet throughout the day. As the peripheral nervous system showed signs of recovery, neuromuscular stimulation was introduced to strengthen her swallowing capabilities.

Swift Progress in Physical Therapy and Speech Therapy

Mindy’s determination drove her rapid progress in physical therapy. Her ultimate objective was to return to her first-grade classroom, ideally by late January. However, clear speech was essential for teaching phonics effectively, and she needed to build endurance for speaking throughout the entire school day. Strategies were used to enhance speech, facilitate prolonged periods of speech, and establish workplace and classroom accommodations.

A Triumph Over Adversity

With the aid of comprehensive therapy, Mindy defied the odds and resumed teaching on January 30. She continued attending speech therapy sessions in February and March to further refine her speech and swallowing abilities. Her facial muscles significantly improved, and her swallowing function was restored to its former strength. Mindy proudly reports that her speech now stands at an impressive 90-95% recovery. The accompanying photo is a testament to her progress, with her once prominent facial droop almost entirely resolved.

A Testimonial of Resilience

Reflecting on her experience, Mindy expresses gratitude for Natalie, her speech therapist, who provided invaluable guidance in speech-related strategies and crucial support on the mental and emotional aspects of recovery. Natalie’s unwavering encouragement and belief in Mindy’s abilities proved instrumental in her journey. Mindy discovered her ability to conquer challenges and acknowledges the importance of patience in healing.

Transformative Care’s Impact

Mindy’s inspiring story showcases the power of determination and the transformative impact of therapy in the face of daunting circumstances. Her successful recovery is a beacon of hope for others navigating similar challenges. Mindy’s unwavering spirit, combined with the dedicated support of her therapy team, enabled her to triumph over adversity and resume her role as a dedicated teacher. Through her experience, she reminds us that we can overcome the most challenging obstacles life throws our way. Request an appointment at a PT Solutions clinic near you below.


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