We are delighted to bring to you this live webinar with Kiera Berggren, a research speech-language pathologist (SLP) in the Department of Neurology at Virginia Commonwealth University. Berggren was previously part of the FSHD Clinical Trial Research Network (CTRN) site at the University of Utah and moved to our newest CTRN member site at VCU. She is well-versed in FSHD and presented at the 2018 FSHD Connect conference in Las Vegas. She will take your questions during the live Q&A portion of the webinar.
Many neuromuscular diseases result in changes to the musculature that helps us speak and swallow. In FSHD, muscles of the face and mouth are affected by the disease. The webinar will discuss normal swallow and changes in swallow for persons with FSHD. Additionally, it will discuss how a visit with a speech-language pathologist might help with general strategies for improving safety of swallow. The webinar will also review potential changes in speech and voice for persons with FSHD and options available for improving communication and/or the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).
Prior to working as an SLP, Berggren had trained as a chemist and worked as a research technician in several different labs. She started her second career as an SLP in rehabilitation following acquired neurological injuries such as stroke and traumatic brain injury. She quickly discovered a passion for working with individuals with neurodegenerative diseases and currently provides swallow, communication, and cognitive support to patients and families in multidisciplinary clinics for ALS and the MDA. Marrying her current career and her research background has allowed her to also be active in research in several neuromuscular diseases including myotonic dystrophy, FSHD, ALS, and others where she has been looking at orofacial strength, swallow function, and changes in speech.