This week we get to hear from one of Roanoke Therapy Service’s therapists that works in a slightly different field than physical therapy. Jennifer McKnight is RTS’s exclusive Speech-Language Pathologist and helps patients with speech therapy and even swallowing disorders. Let’s hear a little about Jennifer’s story of how she came to work with Roanoke Therapy Services and her passion for speech-language pathology!
My name is Jennifer McKnight. I am a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) with Roanoke Therapy Services, Inc. (RTS) since 2015. I work with adult patients in various settings – Martin General Hospital, home health, and our outpatient clinic in Plymouth. I also work with pediatric patients in homes or daycare and at the outpatient clinic at Martin General Hospital.
Over the course of my life thus far, I have had the opportunity to work in various fields and environments. A year after graduating high school in Fayetteville, NC, I enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving for four years in logistics and inventory control roles onboard a destroyer tender based out of San Diego, CA. I made a few deployments overseas including to the Persian Gulf during Desert Shield/Desert Storm. I was also a corporate accountant and process improvement project leader for thirteen years.
I wanted to work in a capacity that would more directly help improve the lives of others. More and more, this career field began to show up in my life through family and friends. My father suffered strokes and received swallowing and speech therapy during his recovery. I had friends with children that were getting speech therapy for developmental delays. As many saw in the news, Gabby Giffords, former U.S. State Representative suffered a traumatic brain injury from a gunshot wound during an assassination attempt went from only saying “chicken” to being able to engage in conversation and read a short speech aloud, having received speech therapy. These were all inspirational to me, so I did my research, shadowed at a local clinic and went back to college full-time to get a Master’s Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders at ECU and completed other testing and clinical requirements for national certification and state licensure.
An area of particular interest for me is dysphagia (swallowing disorders). I perform videofluoroscopic swallow studies (VFSS), (aka “cookie swallow” or modified barium swallow study (MBSS)) with the aid of radiologists at Martin General Hospital. Additionally, I am a certified VitalStim® swallowing therapy provider. I have also had the opportunity to work with patients that have Parkinson’s disease as a LSVT LOUD® certified provider to improve vocal loudness, quality and intonation.
Communication and eating/drinking are fundamental functions of our lives that we don’t really think about, we just do for both necessity and enjoyment. As a member of the RTS team, I enjoy meeting and working with patients throughout eastern NC to improve/restore/develop communication (language, cognitive, motor speech, voice, etc.) and swallowing abilities. I love being a SLP @ RTS!
It’s apparent that Jennifer has a passion for helping people restore and improve their vocal abilities, from children to adults and everywhere in between. Speech Therapy may be a service that you didn’t know Roanoke Therapy Services provided. Now that you know we have an incredibly capable SLP on staff, how can we help you? Contact our office through the contact page on our site to find out what we can do for you!