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EIU Media Relations

EIU Clinicians Delivering Speech Therapy Programming to 20 Families in Jamaica


Original Story Credit: Jamaica Observer

OCHO RIOS, St Ann — Proud mom Stacy-Ann Henry was elated as she sat and watched her 10-year-old son Devontae Lothian, with help from a speech therapist, pronounce words and letters that had been a struggle in the past.

Since January Henry and her son have been a part of a tele-therapy group formed through a partnership with Mico Care Services and the USA’s Eastern Illinois University (EIU) to help children in Jamaica who have a speech impediment.

Building on the foundation of online sessions, a team of 10 EIU speech-language pathology graduate clinicians and their professor Rebecca Throneburg are now in Jamaica meeting with children for face-to-face sessions and evaluation at the Mico Care Centre office in St Ann’s Bay, St Ann. They are working alongside clinicians from the Mico Care Centre.

“I’m so excited and grateful for the speech therapy because he has been trying much harder to pronounce his letters. Even his teacher has commented on his improvement,” Henry told the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday.

The single mother said she had realised that her son had a speech problem but she was unable to afford therapy.

“Therapists are very expensive and I didn’t have the money to pay them at all. But the support I’m getting from Mico makes me feel like I have another parent helping out. His self-esteem has also grown from what it was because he is saying words with more confidence and that’s the aim,”” said Henry.

An additional 19 families will also be benefiting from the services being provided by the group from EIU.

Professor Throneburg, a speech therapist for 35 years, is excited about the help her team will provide as they gain hands on experience and cultural exchange.

“It is a good thing for us to work with students from different backgrounds. We are excited to be meeting the children and families in person so we can start face-to-face relationships,” she said.

Mico and EIU began working together in 2023 when Throneburg saw an advertising that Mico placed for a speech therapist. She reached out and soon after the tele-therapy speech piloting programme was launched to assist students who have speech-language-literacy delays.

“It can be such a barrier not being able to get your thoughts across and [being deprived of] the social connection with words and communication. If we can help in making things better by creating a base for communication and learning, we are happy to do that to change a person’s life,” said Throneburg.

Speech and language pathologist at Mico Care Centre Britney Aiken said parents often become emotional when they see the results.

“I find it rewarding to see the connection with the child and the parents when they can finally say certain words. It is always great to see the parents get certain knowledge that they can carry over to the home for the progress of the child,” she said.

Over a one-week period, the team of clinicians from EIU will administer speech-language-assessments, literacy screeners and also provide families with practical guidance to assist with their children’s speech progression.

“The families are so grateful because this is a service that is hard to come by here. To also get it free of cost makes it even better,” said Aiken.

Director of the Mico Care Centre Sharon Anderson-Morgan said her aim is to expand the reach of the programme.

“We are providing a service that many Jamaicans cannot access or afford. Most speech therapists operate privately and a session may be $12,000 or more for one parent. They are now getting our sessions for free. We are happy that we can provide that,” she said.

“For us, it is about the families and the life outcome. Speech problems come with stigma and affects the children’s confidence and performance in school. When we can work on that to increase their life outcome we feel good about that,” she said.

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To apply for EIU's world-class speech pathology program, please visit



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