All of our health care staff volunteer their time—many take a day off from their practice to volunteer at The Clinic. Others are retired and give up a day of retirement activities. Many have been volunteering for a number of years. All are dedicated to providing quality care to our patients despite our often limited resources. Most come every month, but a few specialties are staffed every 3-4 months. By following the links below, you can learn more about each health care department, the staff, and needs of the department.
$100-200 to pay for one hearing aid for one child
$50-200 to pay for one hearing aid repair for one child
Used hearing aids
Hearing aid batteries—any size, preferably # 13 and # 675
Vanessa Gildenstern, MD,
June O'Haver, RN
Diagnostic testing, to determine if a child has a hearing loss, is done in a sound-proof room in a trailer donated by the Midtown Tucson SERTOMA Club. Some children may benefit from hearing aids or from medical intervention. Families are counseled regarding proper use and care of newly fitted hearing aids, communication options and realistic expectations for their child’s speech-language development. The otolaryngologist removes ear wax, diagnoses tympanic problems and middle ear disorders such as fluid. He recommends prescription filled by family’s medical doctor or Mexican otolaryngologist or refers the patient for a Clinic-provided prescription when available.
When diagnosed with a hearing loss, children are fitted with hearing aids. Patients are seen from birth to age 18 years. Counseling on appropriate use and care of hearing aids is provided with referral to other professionals in The Clinic as needed. Children are seen every 8 months to maintain proper functioning of their hearing aids; this includes cleaning and repairing the devices as well as providing new ear molds and hearing aids when necessary.
Augmentative/Alternative Communication focuses on helping those children who, due to the severity or complexity of their communication disorders, need extra help over the long term. These children typically have developmental disabilities which severely limit their ability to speak. Some will achieve the ability to speak in sentences while most will approximate only words or short phrases and some may be unable to say even a single word. Using a combination of speech therapy, picture-based communication boards, and communication devices, we work to maximize each child’s ability to communicate in any way possible. Some will learn to combine spoken language with use of communication devices. Others will point to printed words or images on a touchscreen using a hand or foot, while still others with profound physical disabilities will learn to use a head switch to scan across messages on a tablet computer. Mothers and fathers participate in every therapy session and take activities and strategies home.
We have three Spanish-speaking speech-language pathologists, one from Tucson and two from Nogales, Sonora, who help to ensure that children receive follow-up in their own schools. Our Tucson provider is familiar with a range of communication devices, while the clinicians from Mexico are fluent in Spanish sign language and share this with parents, teachers, and their colleagues from the U.S. Our occupational therapist specializes in evaluation and therapy for children with complex developmental disorders; such as, cerebral palsy; she has worked for years with augmentative communication devices. We are also fortunate to have a dedicated, bilingual future occupational therapist who carries out group activities, and a young father from Sonora who records his voice in our teen boys’ communication devices and helps to set up appointments for follow-up in Tucson.
Hydrocortisone 1% ointment
Sunblock (broad-spectrum, SPF 30 or higher) cream or lotion
Sun hats (child-size)
Dermatology provides the latest medications and technology available for the specialized treatment of all skin diseases and disorders in infants and children. These include alopecia, atopic dermatitis, congenital and acquired nevi/moles, cutis marmorata telangiectatica congenita, dermatophytosis, epidermal nevus, epidermylosis bullosa, hemangioma, incontentia pigmenti, lupus, mastocytosis, nail dystrophy and nail disorders, nevus sebaceous, pityriasis rosea, port wine stain, psoriasis, rashes secondary to underlying pathologies and syndromes, scabies, seborrhea, urticaria, vitiligo, xanthogranuloma, and xeroderma pigmentosum.
Janis Wolfe Gasch, AuD; Department Head
Julie Peterson, AuD/CCC-A
John Kelly, MD
Kristi Hesse, AuD
Gregory Swigle, AuD
Mary Rose Durkin, AuD
John Cobb, AuD
Rebecca McKinney, AuD
Nick Ramirez, BA
Used iPad2 and above—your device can be a child’s voice
$150-500 to purchase other devices; such as durable devices with large keys for children with movement problems or little ones starting to communicate
$20-200 to purchase speech software
$30-50 to purchase “kid-proof” cases for iPads; type depends on whether built-in battery-free amplifiers are needed for noisy classrooms
Children’s craft supplies
Sharon Hendrickson-Pfiel, CCC/SLP, Department Head
Erika Ibarra, patóloga de lenguaje
Estela Ibarra, patóloga de lenguaje
Gabe Gibbons, SLPA
Christine Small, OT
Julie Diaz, BS