$168,700 State Grant Benefits Beacon Special Needs Program

Stephen M. Saland

September 07, 2006

Poughkeepsie - Emma Moore will benefit from diagnostic/medical/therapeutic equipment that will be purchased for Saint Francis Hospital’s Panichi Family Center for Communication and Learning in Beacon through a $168,700 grant announced at a Wednesday press conference by State Sen. Stephen Saland, R-Poughkeepsie.

What’s more, 11-month-old Emma and her parents, Catherine Wishinski and Sean Moore, will no longer have to travel from home in Fishkill to the hospital’s Center for Communication Disorders (CCD) in Poughkeepsie, where the press conference was held, when the Panichi Center, now under construction, is completed early in 2007. The Center will serve as a satellite for the CCD.

"The ability to communicate is an essential tool that many of us take for granted, but without it daily activities can be a constant hardship," said Saland. "Whether a victim of a stroke or a child with a communication disorder, this Center will serve infants to the elderly – detecting and treating speech and hearing disorders.

"Saint Francis alerted me to the regional need for diagnostic, medical and therapeutic equipment to serve patients in Dutchess County. I am pleased to assist the hospital in securing an initiative that will enhance the quality of life for children and adults with communication disorders. This funding will enable the Center for Communication Disorders to purchase equipment that will help diagnose and treat children and adults with communications disorders, so they can acquire the skills needed to learn, work and participate in society."

Hospital President & CEO Bob Savage thanked Saland for "being a great friend to Saint Francis Hospital and healthcare in general." Shawneen Buckley, Director of the Center for Communication Disorders and the Special Needs Preschool Program, thanked Saland for "both having the wisdom and insight to understand the need for state-of-the-art technology in southern Dutchess."

Fundraising continues for the $1.8 million Panichi Family Center for Communication and Learning which is replacing one of five sites located throughout Dutchess County that house the hospital’s Special Needs Preschool Program. About $1.3 million has been raised to date.

The Preschool Program serves about 400 students, aged 3 to 5, annually. The Center for Communications Disorders serves children from newborn through college-age, as well as adults of all ages with speech production, language, fluency, voice, swallowing, auditory processing and balance disorders. Both are the largest provider of specialty services of their type in the Hudson Valley.

Shortly after her birth, Emma was diagnosed with a hearing loss, her mother said. She told of several unsuccessful diagnostic attempts over a three-month span on an Auditory Response Brainstem Response machine. A baby would need to sit completely still and make no noise while being hooked up to wires that connected to the machine.

"Now, the very new ABR machine we will be purchasing, through Sen. Saland’s grant, will enable a patient to move around, make noise, play, nurse, eat – just do what is natural while the machine is running and sending wireless data to the computer nearby," Buckley explained.