Patients unable to speak, hear, eat receive advanced treatments at Sleepy Hollow hospital

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Children and adults who are unable to speak, hear and eat are receiving advanced treatments at the Speech and Hearing Center at Phelps Hospital in Sleepy Hollow.

The therapy team says its cutting-edge health care is growing, allowing patients to improve their delays through a series of comprehensive strategies.

Patients who can't swallow work one on one with a speech pathologist who diagnoses and treats the delays and improves developmental skills.

"Everyone's always eager for progress and what's wrong and to get going, and I always tell parents my first goal is to build a relationship with your baby, your kid and I want them to trust me," says Kristin Courtney, a pediatric speech pathologist.

Therapists say when it comes to feeding, parents should pay attention to specific red flags that would warrant treatment.

Symptoms of distress include refusing a bottle or turning their head away. As they get older, other symptoms include gagging, refusing the transition to solids and only wanting a bottle.

Lunch for Gia McVeigh is very different than it would be for a child without a life-threatening condition to the brain. The 18-month-old is living with a feeding delay.

Mom Patty McVeigh says she's unable to eat solids, has a hard time eating purees and doesn't put food to her mouth.

McVeigh was unable to find care in her Tarrytown home, so she began therapy at the Speech and Hearing Center.

Courtney gave Gia a treatment plan.

“She gives me suggestions, what to play with to give her, what to introduce to her,” says Patty McVeigh.

Other parents also leave each session with a strategy they can use at home.

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