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May 28, 2013
Danielle Pittman, Speech Language Pathologist at Memorial Hospital of Union County, has been serving Marty Hall (right) and his wife Theresa (middle) for the last two years. Mr. Hall suffered a stroke in 2009 that took away his ability to communicate. With the help of United Way dollars, Hall received a new communication device in April that allows him to verbalize his thoughts and communicate with family and loved ones.
Four years ago, a stroke robbed Marty Hall of his ability to communicate. Now, a stroke of a keypad provided with the help of United Way donors is giving the Marysville man a voice again.

“It helps him get across what he wants to communicate without struggling and getting frustrated,” says his wife, Theresa. “And you don’t have to guess what he is saying when he’s trying to tell you something.”

The 62-year old Hall is a patient at Memorial Hospital’s Speech & Language Therapy Department, a United Way Funded Partner. He’s been in and out of therapy since the Fall of 2009, when the stroke left him unable to verbalize his thoughts.

“What he hears and understands is great,” said Danielle Pittman, Hall’s Speech Language Pathologist at the Hospital. “He knows what he wants to say, but can’t find the right words all the time. He would have some therapy. Then his insurance wouldn’t cover any additional sessions, so he’d have to wait until the next year to start again. It became apparent that he wasn’t going to recover his ability to talk.”

So in April, Pittman outfitted Mr. Hall with a new Augmentative and Alternative Communication Device. Like a tablet computer, the AAC device allows him to form an unlimited number of phrases and words at the touch of a finger. Then a speaker in the device voices his thoughts for all to hear.

“He knows where his vocabulary page is and can create a full sentence from that,” says Pittman.

Marty Hall’s new AAC Device says it all. The Marysville stroke victim expresses his gratitude to United Way donors for the communication device he received in April through Memorial Hospital’s Speech & Language Therapy Department.
His wife appreciates being able to know what he’s trying to say from across the room.

“If you want to go to the mall, he can take this with him and communicate with clerks and other people,” she said.

United Way dollars bridged the $625 gap between what Medicare covered and what was beyond the Hall’s ability to pay for the device. In fact, United Way has allocated $5,200 to Memorial Hospital for Speech & Language Therapy services this year. Three patients have already received assistance.

“Having the United Way funding there is beneficial to us because we can do our jobs better,” Pittman said. “We know that we can still provide the services we want to recommend, even if the client has financial limitations.”

May is “Better Speech and Hearing Month.” The Hospital provides free screenings for young children, accessing different sounds a child should be able to make, their ability to follow directions and repeat sentences. A screening allows parents the opportunity to express any concerns they may have that their child’s development is not on the same page as their peers and to determine if a full evaluation is needed. Screenings can be scheduled by calling (937) 578-2362.

As for the Halls, they are still learning more about their AAC device every week, and are appreciative for the help they’ve received.

“Thank you very much,” said Mrs. Hall. “I hope the public continues to donate to United Way to make help available for people who need it.”

United Way works to bring neighbors and resources together to improve lives in Union County. United Way of Union County has raised more than $17 million for local needs since it was established in 1958. More than just a fundraiser, United Way collaborates with local businesses, government, and non-profit organizations to solve pressing social service issues large and small.

For more information, please visit www.unitedwayofunioncounty.org.
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