The Children's Institute Blog

SLP Darcy Leoni Profile – Better Speech & Hearing Month

Posted: May 30, 2017 by The Children's Institute

Speech-language pathologist Darcy Leoni likes the diversity of work that comes with her position.

“I feel like I’m a Jack-of-all-trades. If I had to pick one area of expertise [I’d say] apraxia, autism and feeding are the things I do the most,” Darcy said. “I kind of like the fact that I can mix it up a bit.”

Before coming to work at The Children’s Institute in 1997, Darcy – who got her undergraduate degree in speech and audiology at West Virginia University and her master’s degree in speech at Clarion University – worked in pediatric rehabilitation and hospital settings. Here, she says, she’s more accountable for results.

“Here, you have to know so much more,” she said. “Your knowledge base is so much broader. You have to stay current. That’s what I love about working here.”

At The Children’s Institute’s Norwin Hills satellite, where she works, Darcy also is carving a niche for herself and the practice with Smart Palate, a custom-molded mouthpiece that reads tongue placement to aid in speech training. She’s seen about five or six kids on the software-aided system since Smart Palate came to The Children’s Institute about a year ago; each child was able to achieve proper tongue placement within just three sessions.

“The technology – it’s skyrocketing. It’s continuing to grow and advance all the time,” said Darcy, who has been a practicing SLT since 1995. “This type of biofeedback technology wasn’t even in existence when I started as a therapist.”

That’s not the only area where Darcy has seen changes during her career; AAC devices have grown and been transformed in leaps and bounds.

“Average communication devices today are flexible, they’re portable, they have Internet connections. They’re not just communication tools, they’re working tools,” she said. “It’s more readily accessible, too. The price of devices had gone down as the technology has grown.”

Those various areas of interest and growth have kept Darcy busy. And that’s the way she wants it.

“I like the diversity of doing different things,” she said.

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