Meet a Speech Therapist: Alexis Bryan

Alexis Bryan

Did you know that speech-language therapy can improve patient health outcomes and lower hospital costs with shorter stays? It can also help patients of all ages: from early intervention (birth to age 3) to school settings to hospitals and assisted living facilities. 

“I assess and treat patients across the lifespan who have a variety of speech, language, communication, and swallowing disorders,” said Alexis Bryan, MS, Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) at APD.

     Related article: How Speech-Language Therapy Can Help with Hearing Loss

The ultimate goal is to improve communication but Bryan notes “Communication is not always verbal; there are different ways to communicate.” She provides an example: “A patient who suffered from a stroke may understand language, but have a hard time expressing their own ideas when they speak. It is my responsibility to help find and facilitate alternative communicate methods, such as using gestures or visual aids.”

Bryan’s inpatient work at APD Rehabilitation Services is currently focused on the geriatric population, and divided between cognitive-linguistic therapy and dysphagia (swallowing disorder) therapy. She’ll start with an initial assessment to determine the area of challenge for each patient. As an outpatient therapist, she evaluates and treats both pediatric and adult patients.

She works with an interdisciplinary team that includes OT, PT, providers, and nursing staff. Soon, she’ll be working alongside radiologists doing modified barium swallow studies with dysphagia patients. And she provides education to patients as well as their care providers and their families.

“A patient who is suspected to have dysphagia will need a clinical swallow evaluation, safe swallow strategies, and follow-ups to determine if they are tolerating their diet, following precautions — such as sitting fully upright when eating or drinking — and participating in excellent oral care,” Bryan said. “It’s a collaborative role — I not only work closely with other practitioners to deliver the best care possible, but also with the patient and their family to develop individualized treatment plans focused on their goals.”

Bryan recently joined the Rehabilitation Services team at APD. She received a master’s in communications disorders from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts and completed her internship at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center.

“My goals as an SLP are broad and vary across patient and setting,” Bryan said. “Ultimately, my intentions are to provide patient-centered care through direct therapeutic intervention and education in order to provide patients with strategies and resources needed to strengthen their communication.”