Anushka Anil Parakh, B.D.S., Goes the Distance for Children with Speech-Language Difficulties
SLP Student Aims To Provide Dental Care And Speech Services For Children With Special Needs
Belgaum, India, may seem like a long way from Valhalla, New York, but it was a journey Anushka Anil Parakh, B.D.S., was willing to take to expand her skills as a dental clinician and to incorporate humanitarian work into her practice.
“While interning at the VK Institute of Dental Sciences in Belgaum, I worked with many patients with Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorder and ADHD,” says Dr. Parakh, Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) Class of 2024 in the School of Health Sciences and Practice. “One of their chief difficulties was a lack of interaction due to hindered speech and communication. Many had trouble with basic functions like swallowing, oral rinsing and communicating. I was intrigued by speech-language pathology and wanted to learn ways to help.” It was then that she found her passion.
Dr. Parakh learned about New York Medical College’s (NYMC) SLP program, one of the very few in the country that is medically oriented and has a specialization track in pediatric dysphagia. She was sold. “This program allows me to incorporate my clinical skills with a new body of knowledge. I believe a clinician is as good as their ability to look beyond — to find solutions that offer the best possible outcomes when it comes to integrating communication with oral care.”
Dr. Parakh shares her enthusiasm to inspire others —colleagues, other students and dentists — to work with children with special needs and to broaden their own clinical horizons. “That’s why I became a social media ambassador for NYMC,” she explains.
NYMC’s Social Media Ambassador Program represents students from various schools, offering the opportunity to chronicle their experiences, share perspectives and exchange information with those from all over the world. “Not many people around me, especially back home, are aware of the correlation between pediatric dentistry and speech pathology,” notes Dr. Parakh. “Being a social media ambassador can help me raise awareness about its scope and its ability to change so many lives.”
Indeed, India is a world away, but Dr. Parakh has found her place at NYMC to hone her professional skills and realize her dream of one day opening a comprehensive center for dental care and speech services for children with special needs. As for her interests outside of her studies? “I love to paint, dance, meditate, cook and watch Bollywood movies — to remind me of home.”