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SPEECH CENTER EYES ADDING TWO STAFFERS DEMAND FOR SERVICES GROWS AT RAPID PACE

LOCKPORT -- The demand for services at the Niagara County Speech and Hearing Center is growing at such a rapid pace that its director is suggesting the addition of two more staff members.

John J. M. Reardon made the suggestion to the County Board of Health, which will study the figures before its considers making a recommendation to the Niagara County Legislature.

"Many of our professional staff are working overtime in order to work with additional cases from our waiting list," Reardon said. "But the amount of overtime they work has only a minimal impact on reducing the waiting list."

Reardon said that as of mid-March a total of 66 children and adults totaling 177 sessions are waiting to enter the programs. In addition, he said, there are 67 patients waiting for speech and language evaluations and 23 children waiting for special education evaluations that are booked through May.

The director said the addition of a speech pathologist and a special education teacher, both full time, would meet his department's "most immediate needs."

"The need for services," Reardon said, "involves all of our clinical programs for preschool children, school-age children, adolescents and adults."

Reardon said that since all of the treatment programs are referred by physicians, all his department services are fully reimbursable through insurance or private payments. Thus, he said, the positions would be self-supporting, except for the overhead.

Reardon has received support for his quest for the additional staff personnel from Dr. Mohammad Zohur, medical director for the county Health Department.

The Health Board said it would review data supplied by Reardon before deciding whether to recommend added personnel.

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