BUSINESS NEWS UPDATE: Parkwood Clinic
Parkwood Clinic in Tigard is a speech-language pathology clinic for children and adults with speech, language and learning differences
Like many other small businesses, Parkwood Clinic had to pivot with the emergence of Covid-19. The pediatric, speech-language pathology clinic, had the health of clinicians and families to consider.
"The day they shut down the NBA, we made the decision to transition our outpatient visits to tele-health sessions. We moved exclusively to 'Parkwood Teletherapy' in mid-March and the results have been better than expected," said Parkwood Clinic Executive Director Ashley Rose Carter.
From an early age, Carter, a West Linn native, knew she wanted to pursue a degree in speech-language pathology. She received her master's degree from the University of Washington and worked in several pediatric settings before moving back to Portland to be closer to family. She opened the Parkwood Clinic (named after the street she grew up on) January 2013 with a clear mission: to showcase the impact outstanding individualized services can have in increasing communication and learning opportunities for children. Carter wanted to utilize her advanced training in speech and language disorders to reduce barriers for families from all backgrounds. To further this mission, Parkwood Clinic accepts insurance so others could access individualized, high-quality, skilled services, not just those who could afford to pay privately.
"When the clinic first opened, we had a small room in downtown Willamette, people would wait in their cars because we didn't have a waiting room. There was such a need for the services we were providing our waitlist grew quickly," Carter said.
Seven years later, Parkwood Clinic's team of 16 clinicians and areas of specialty have grown into two comfortably-appointed, convenient locations, one at Bridgeport Village and the other in Southwest Portland.
Parkwood supports children, and their families, with a range of speech and language disorders. The range of services at Parkwood help people of all ages through data-driven therapy sessions. Children from birth to five years old may struggle to make early developing sounds, combine words, or understand language. The clinic also serves elementary age students who have difficulty developing language and literacy skills, and Parkwood also supports adults working on varying communication challenges such as stuttering. At Parkwood, areas of specialty include childhood apraxia of speech, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), executive functioning, children who are deaf or hard of hearing, Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy, sensory-based feeding therapy, language processing and reading intervention. Repetition is key to progress and children's sessions tailored to be fun and enjoyable.
"Our families love the individualized therapy. The feedback we receive about our data tracking and graphing of progress is always positive and parents appreciate that we strive to find out what motivates their child," Carter, a mother of two small children, said. "Our clients make the
most progress when we take that extra step to get to know the child's support system so we can team together with their siblings and caregivers to generalize skills and achieve the greatest outcomes outside the clinic."
Carter, who used to provide treatment and assessment for Clackamas Education Service District Early Childhood's program, acknowledges the new school districts' distance learning guidelines, are leaving many children with Individualized Education Plans (IEP) & 504 service plans without access to the speech services they rely upon.
"We want families to know this level of intervention is an option for them," Carter said. "Therapy is most effective when children have access to both the educational and medical model."
Parkwood follows a medical model of intervention with sessions delivered by a licensed speech-language pathologist in a 1:1 setting. The child is seen in the clinic, home, preschool or private school for sessions 30-45 minutes in length and most sessions occur 1-2 times per week.
Parkwood accepts a variety of insurance panels including the Oregon Health Plan.
"This was an important element of the clinic," Carter emphasized. "High-quality, private-practice services are often only available at a cash price. Parkwood has always accepted insurance; it levels the playing field and allows families from all backgrounds to get the high-quality services they deserve."
Today, Parkwood continues to assess and treat new clients via telehealth and even offers free speech and language screenings for the community.
"We can't thank our families enough for growing and adapting with us. Together we raised the bar on the expectations of what speech therapy can be in addition to the capabilities of teletherapy," she said.
Parkwood Clinic plans to reopen their Bridgeport Village clinic for in-person visits with appropriate precautions.
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