A Clinical Success: Building Communication - Hearing and Speech Agency

A Clinical Success: Building Communication

At 2 years old, Keshawn was a little boy who was bursting with personality, but could not express himself. A rocky start in life, including his mother abandoning him at 7 months, may have contributed to his speech delay. Whatever the root of the problem, however, his foster mother, Deborah Hope, did not wait around to see if he’d outgrow it. She arranged a speech-language evaluation at HASA and then faithfully brought Keshawn to weekly speech therapy sessions for two years.

“Keshawn’s story is an excellent example of what early intervention can do,” says HASA speech pathologist, Kathi Shute, who worked with Keshawn for two years. “When Keshawn came to us,” she explains, “he was imitating single words, but not using them or putting two words together.”  Through play, Kathi built up trust with Keshawn and modeled using simple words to ask for help or identify an object or toy. In time, Keshawn caught on and began to use single words with confidence. So, Kathi modeled adding adjectives. Soon, “car” became “blue car” and Keshawn’s language skills started building. “The first few months were slow going, and Keshawn made very little progress,” recalls Keshawn’s foster mother. “Then, boom! All of a sudden he began to talk.”

Kathi Shute gives credit to Deborah Hope for encouraging Keshawn and reinforcing skills he was learning in his therapy sessions by practicing with him at home. Parents and guardians participate in speech therapy sessions with their children so they can learn how to help build the child’s skills. “Keshawn’s nana (as Deborah is called) made a huge difference in his life. She really invested in him,” says Kathi.

As Keshawn progressed, Kathi was able to focus on his articulation and building his vocabulary. Now that Keshawn has “graduated” from his speech-therapy sessions, Kathi says everyone misses him. “But,” she adds “it’s very satisfying to see that the work you put in has made a difference. By the time Keshawn left here, he had a way to express all of that personality that was just waiting to come out two years ago. At age four, he was hysterical, a real delight. He lit the place up when he came in for his sessions. Now, he can go out and light up the world.”

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