Mikayla Jane Treynor is a rehabilitative speech language pathologist specializing in treating patients with dysphagia and swallowing disorders. Currently, Ms. Treynor works in a variety of hospital and skilled nursing facilities including Genesis Rehab, Select Rehab and Health Call, and she has spent much of the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic helping rehabilitate patients following breathing intubation. Her interest in a health care career began at the age of 17, after her grandmother suffered a stroke. Her experience in the hospital and seeing the care provided to her grandmother inspired her to want to work with stroke survivors, and after an educational counselor suggested speech pathology as a complementary path, Ms. Treynor enrolled at Grand Valley State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in allied health sciences with an emphasis in speech language pathology and a minor in psychology. She continued her education at the graduate level at Cleveland State University, completing a master’s degree in 2014.
Much of Ms. Treynor’s career has focused on working with patients in psychiatric and behavioral care units to develop independent eating and swallowing abilities. She sees a diverse caseload of adult and pediatric patients, many of whom have been referred to her by other specialists as a part of an integrated, long-term treatment plan. In addition to hands-on clinical and rehabilitative work with patients, she handles patient assessment and diagnosis of swallow function and additional cognitive and neurological support needs. When working with stroke patients and patients who have extensive physical trauma from accidents and medical interventions, Ms. Treynor’s treatment process also includes complementary skills such as memory, thought organization, and safety awareness, as well as impulse and motor control. She considers her pediatric patients to be the highlight of her career, and takes pride in seeing the visible progress that some of her youngest patients have made under her care.
When referred to her, the majority of Ms. Treynor’s pediatric patients have low to no verbal communication skills, and many have complex medical histories and coexisting conditions that require highly specialized treatment plans. While treating pediatric dysphagia is a part of her work with these patients, she also works to help them use assistive communication devices and to educate families and care teams on how to best support each child in further developing their communication skills. As a part of her commitment to her profession, Ms. Treynor is a member of the American Speech and Hearing Association and is a clinical mentor to pre-professional speech and language pathologists, as well as high school students exploring an interest in the field. She is responsible for supervising graduate-level clinicians taking on their first patients, and advises others entering the field to do their best to find humor and joy in what can often be challenging situations. As she continues to develop as a professional, Ms. Treynor hopes to focus exclusively on pediatric care, with a special interest in working in neonatal intensive care settings.
Outside her therapeutic work, Ms. Treynor is passionate about animal rights and rehabilitation, and is a volunteer for Bark Nation, a Michigan-based dogfighting rescue organization. Run by a public prosecutor, Bark Nation works with law enforcement to locate and prosecute participants in dogfighting rings and the puppy mills and training facilities that traffic animals into the trade. The organization provides medical care, socialization, and rehabilitative training to rescued dogs with the hope of eventually adopting each dog into a stable, permanent home.