Speaking Your Clients' Language
Recently when I was attending physical therapy here in my Tennessee retirement community, my 28-year-old physical therapist (originally from California) commented on the regional dialects that she has encountered in this region: "You know, I discovered that the ladies around here were very hesitant to follow my home exercise programs, until I started to speak in their local dialect. When I began to speak like a native, they began to follow my detailed instructions religiously."
When this month's ASHA Leader arrived, I read the article by Irene Gilbert Torres with great interest. It has prodded me to investigate the effects of culture on the provision of health care here in the mountains. Research demonstrates that establishing trust in the clinical setting is essential to meeting individual health care needs here. Though regional speech patterns constitute only a small part of one's culture, it seems like an important one to consider.
In her paper, "Working With Clients of Appalachian Culture," [PDF] for the 2010 American Counseling Association Conference, Kathryn A. Russ contended that "Working with people of Appalachian culture requires multicultural expertise, just as working with other minorities does. Appalachians display regional differences that influence how therapy and interventions should be addressed and, even though they may be an invisible minority, the same care is required in working with them as for more obvious minorities." The 1984 TV movie "Dollmaker," with Jane Fonda, is also worth checking out on YouTube.
Unfair Interest on School Loans
I am writing about a comment, "Proud to Pay," in the "Inbox" section of January's Leader. I am a recent graduate of a master's program. Laura Belinger's comment—that it could be assumed that I am looking for a handout with close to $100,000 in debt post-master's and bachelor's—angered me. I had assistance at the undergraduate and graduate level, and I was still left with this massive debt. I am happy with my choice and am working in a profession I love. However, if there is a way to help me pay off my debt, I thank you for sharing the information in the Leader. I have interest rates of up to 8 percent on some of my loans, and this is what disgusts me. I will pay back my loans and I am not complaining about paying them back—I borrowed the money so I could do what I love. What upsets me is the high interest behind my loans. One can get a mortgage for 3.75 percent but my education is costing me double! I would like to rebut Laura Belinger and state that I am not looking for a handout, but when one's loans with interest reach almost $1,000 a month, an individual will hope for change and perhaps help during this time.
Bigger Caliber, Bigger Boom
I have to question the rationale for including an article on guns and noise-induced hearing loss, particularly with the title "Bigger Caliber, Bigger Boom" (March 2013). I am all for hearing conservation, but find this topic's inclusion in the Leader at this time to be in very poor taste and feel it shows a lack of editorial judgment. Frankly, I am more concerned with the damage done to human bodies, lives and families from the "bigger caliber" weapons that are currently available. And yes, I am a gun owner.
Volunteers in Haiti
Global Therapy Group is seeking speech-language pathology volunteers at our clinic in Port au Prince, Haiti, for rotations of two weeks or longer.
I cofounded Global Therapy Group in 2010 with another physical therapist, Jo Ann Roberts, to bring sustainable rehabilitation services, therapy education and employment opportunities to Haiti. Our clinic is staffed with a Haitian clinic manager, a Haitian rehab tech and volunteer physical and occupational therapists from around the world. But we are in great need of SLPs to volunteer as well! The patient population includes children and adults, orthopedics, cerebrovascular accidents, developmental disabilities, trauma and injuries. We arrange for guest housing, transportation and all in-country support. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.globaltherapygroup.org for more information.
President, Global Therapy Group
Overland Park, Kan.