Combat and Communication: Serving Veterans Through Speech Language Pathology

Woman sitting across from a man, indicating something on the table between them with a pen

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, the organization employs 459 speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and offers services to over 158 sites of care throughout the VA Health Care System. As of 2017, VA Speech-Language Pathology had over 374,000 patient encounters.

The VA offers comprehensive speech language pathology services to Veterans and service members who have a wide range of communication and swallowing disorders including:

  • Speech Disorders
  • Language Disorders
  • Cognitive Disorders
  • Voice Disorders
Katie Moss, Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

Katie Moss, Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

Katie Moss, Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at TTUHSC, serves veterans as a speech-language pathologist at the VA. Moss is the first SLP to work for the Lubbock VA Clinic. She helps Veterans overcome communication and swallowing problems, addressing a variety of challenges, including those associated with memory loss and executive functioning.

What Moss experiences with patients at the VA can vary widely, and for many patients she sees, the impacts of their cognitive-communication difficulties can affect their participation in daily activities. Whether it's complicated by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or exposure to toxic chemicals or physical injuries, the ability to express oneself effectively can be compromised. 

Speech and communication are intricately linked to other cognitive functions such as memory, attention and organizational skills. Often, veterans who have experienced traumatic brain injuries or strokes face challenges with these aspects. Moss works with her patients to improve their cognitive abilities, helping them to navigate routine tasks to be successful in daily life.

Moss says for her, it's not just about treating symptoms; it's about restoring independence to those who have given so much for their country.

“Working with veterans is the cherry on top of my work. I have so much respect for them and all they have done,” she says.

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