By Mary (Galer) Herschelman
Together, they have 13 years of combined experience treating speech, comprehension, cognitive and swallowing disorders in infants, children and adults, as part of the speech therapy program at TeamWork Rehab, located inside Hillsboro Area Hospital.
This summer, Hillsboro native Lauren Fuller joined the staff at TeamWork Rehab, which also includes Dana Holshouser of Hillsboro. Both are speech language pathologists, and offer services at all three TeamWork Rehab locations in Hillsboro, Litchfield and Nokomis.
Speech therapists are experts in working with individuals who are experiencing articulation delays, expressive or receptive language delays, communication deficits, stuttering issues or social deficits.
Born and raised in Hillsboro, Holshouser graduated from Hillsboro High School in 2002 and earned her undergraduate degree from IllinoisStateUniversity. She received her master's degree from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, and has been part of the TeamWork Rehab family for the past four years. Prior to work- ing with TeamWork Rehab, she worked in the Nokomis schools. Holshouser resides in Hillsboro, with her husband, Tyson, and their four-year-old daughter, Hazel.
"I became intrigued by speech therapy when my stepdad (Ron Wygal) was battling a brain tumor, and he had to have speech therapy," Holshouser said. "From kids to adults, I really enjoy the medical side of it."
She specializes in swallow studies, voice strengthening, communication difficulties after a stroke and strategies to improve memory issues.
"Being a part of the therapy process and helping patients is something I really enjoy," she said. "I know how hard it is and what a commitment it takes to get back to doing the things they used to do. I love being a part of that process."
Fuller joined the TeamWork Rehab team over the summer, after working in the Hillsboro schools. She was also born and raised in Hillsboro, and currently resides there with her husband, Michael. Fuller earned her bachelor's degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and her master's degree from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville.
"What got me interested in speech therapy was the chance to work with children who have Autism, and may struggle in their interactions with others," Fuller said. "I knew a boy with Autism and I saw him struggle to fit in."
She picked SIUC because of its Center for Autism Disorders. After graduation from college, Fuller worked in long term care before making the transition to working with children in the public school system. She spent two years in the Springfield public school system, and was a speech therapist at Coffeen Elementary School after that.
Not all children meet the criteria for speech therapy services within the public school system, but they may still qualify for pediatric speech therapy to improve, resolve or prevent further progression of a child's disorder. In addition, outpatient speech therapy can be a great addition to the services a student already receives at school.
Children ages birth to three may qualify for the state's Early Intervention program, however, outpatient speech therapy may be used as a supplement to that program.
TeamWork Rehab encourages parents and caregivers to continuously seek additional options for their children to ensure a child's needs are met. Speech therapy is available Monday through Friday, and evening hours are also available as needed. Parents are invited to participate in the speech therapy sessions as well to help with learning new skills.
For more information or to schedule a speech therapy screen- ing, contact TeamWork Rehab at (217) 532-4160.
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