(CMR) Consistent with its service expansion plans, the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority (HSA) has increased the number of Speech and Language Therapists among its cadre of therapy staff at the Bay Town House location.
Faith Gealey-Rochez and Raven Ramoon are now joined by Mariah Freeman and Janelle Syms. The all-Caymanian speech and language team are licensed holders of Master of Science degrees in the field.
The team recently received the silver award in the Best of Cayman Islands 2023 Speech Therapy category.
The speech and language therapists at the HSA assess and treat patients with speech, communication, and swallowing disorders utilizing supportive, patient-centered, and neurodiversity-affirming interventions for patients with both developmental and acquired disorders. Patients range from children requiring early intervention to adults who have complications resulting from illness.
Faith Gealey-Rochez, who joined HSA in 2008, is a child of deaf parents, therefore she intimately knows the significant connection between the ability to communicate and quality of life. Pursuing both Master's and Bachelor of Science degrees in Communication Science and Disorders from Florida State University presented an opportunity for her to be involved in bridging the gap for those most vulnerable.
“I decided to pursue a career in speech pathology at the age of 14, and I’ve never looked back. As a third-generation disability advocate within the Cayman Islands, I am passionate about ensuring that my patients receive the highest quality care that is ethical, culturally responsive, and evidence-based,” Gealey-Rochez stated.
Gealey-Rochez is also a founding member of the Caribbean Speech Hearing Association and is committed to making a meaningful impact. She is presently pursuing certifications in International Leadership Management and Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT Loud) which assists patients with Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions. She is certified in Vital Stim, McNeil Dysphagia Therapy Protocol, Certified Dementia Practitioner, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS – Level One), and Hanen More Than Words.
Raven Ramoon joined the HSA in 2018 and holds a Master's in Speech and Language from the University of Essex and a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Georgia State University.
“My passion for helping, nurturing, and educating people has fueled me to continue to give my best to provide service to the families that I see. God and my life's journey led me to this career,” Ramoon stated.
Ramoon continues to pursue qualifications in pediatric feeding disorders and has assisted in developing this specialty area within the team. Her comprehensive training has focused on serving children and their families with feeding disorders within the following populations: 6-16 month weaning, autism spectrum disorder, children with gastrostomy tubes, school-aged children, children with gastrointestinal reflux and children with severe developmental disorders.
Mariah Freeman’s passion for helping others led to her career choice. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders and a Master of Arts in Speech Pathology from the University of Arkansas and Louisiana Tech University, respectively.
“As a speech therapist, I have the opportunity to develop the speech, language, and communication skills of a diverse group of individuals with varying needs,” Freeman stated.
For Janelle Syms, her passion comes from working with children. Syms indicated that, “There's a great need for speech and language practitioners who are relatable both culturally and socially. It is also important for children to engage with someone who will foster their development by understanding the varying methods and platforms through which they learn. Supporting our children is why I do what I do.”
Syms achieved a Master of Science with distinction in Speech and Language Therapy from the University of Essex, and a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood and Education with honors from Liverpool Hope University in the United Kingdom.
HSA’s Chief Executive Officer, Lizzette Yearwood, noted, “As we expand our services to the community, we are happy to have a team of competent and highly qualified individuals to ensure exceptional service delivery. Their familiarity with the existing cultural diversity on the island is an added benefit, as it helps them to be culturally responsive. I am confident that the team will continue to perform well in meeting the needs of our patients.”
The HSA’s Speech and Language Therapy Department is located at Bay Town House, 36 West Bay Road. To enquire or make an appointment call (345) 244-7675, (345) 244-2730 or email [email protected]. For more information about Speech & Language Therapy, visit hsa.ky.