Tagged "Heather Peterson"


Success Story: Emma & Heather

Posted by Admin TalkTools on

Heather A. Vukelich, MS, CCC-SLP, TalkTools Level 4 Therapist specialized in Down Syndrome, has recorded her adult client Emma along her progression in speech clarity, from 18 to 24. Heather sees clients in her private practice Happy Kids Therapy in Danville, CA. Here is what she writes about Emma.

"Emma is a very intelligent and social young woman with Down syndrome. At the initiation of therapy Emma had severe jaw weakness and extremely limited tongue movement. She worked very hard overcoming both. As you can see Emma's speech clarity increased greatly through her dedication to the program. Other parents often comment on Emma's clarity. They are often very surprised when they learn she started the program when she was 18. Emma is a true testimony to the TalkTools program and her intrinsic motivation.  Emma is an incredible young woman who I am proud to call a good friend."

- Heather Vukelich 

TalkTools | Emma & Heather TalkTools | Emma & Heather

Video 1: Emma's first therapy session at 18

Video 2: Post jaw work / lip rounding at 19

Video 3: /t/ and vowels post tongue work at 23

Video 4: Generalizing /t, d, n, l/ & counting at 24

Video 5: Celebrating her success and working on /sh/ and /t/ at 24

Video 6: Emma's last therapy session at 24

Congrats Emma on your perseverance and clear speech!


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Success Story | Diane

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

In celebration of 30 years of successful therapy, we asked you to share your success stories with us at the last ASHA Convention and the response was amazing! Here is Diane Felton’s inspiring testimonial.

“I’m Diane Felton. I’m a speech therapist in Durham, North Carolina. I first met Sara through a patient who was referred to me because the local therapist who has been seeing him said she did not believe in oral motor therapy. So I was fortunate enough to pick him up, and when I was asked about taking him on, I decided to look into TalkTools, and everything that I saw in the program made sense to me. So I agreed to take him on and was fortunate enough to have Sara as a co-treator really throughout the whole process of treating this patient. He was a seventeen-year-old who has been in a car accident, suffered a traumatic brain injury and was non-verbal. He was able to type using a communication typewriter kind of thing that he called “typer,” but he had no speech other than one word which is “ma.” He had been in therapy for two and a half years at that point, which was what caused his mom to kind of go out and look for something else, something she felt like he wasn’t getting in the therapy. She was frustrated and he was frustrated.

“They started the program with Sara and worked at home for six months just on building his strength. He couldn’t blow out a candle, he had really severe verbal apraxia ... so a lot of the initial steps focused on getting his strength back for speech, then later he started working on the apraxia piece which is kind of where I came in and worked with Sara’s guidance on getting him some sounds. It has been seven years since I started seeing this patient and he is completely verbal. He gave up his communication device about two years ago and he is doing great. We are still working on prosody, that’s the main thing that is keeping him from being a pretty normal speaker, he is also a little bit slow still, but he is intelligible to me almost 100% of the time. Occasionally I need him to clarify, but even unfamiliar listeners understand him most of the time. It was a really great experience working with Sara and getting to know this program.

“I have had other patients who have had great success. I saw a three-year-old who was focused on communication devices because she had no speech and basically everyone had decided that she was not going to talk. She had a diagnosis of autism, she was also a twenty-four week premie, one of triplets, and she had no speech. I used the TalkTools program with her and she had a very hard time getting the oral motor planning down, but TalkTools really helped her. It was about a month for her to get the word “up” and her mom asked if every word was going to take that long, but within three months she had a pretty good vocabulary, and a year later she was pretty much completely verbal and only was really working on speeding up her rate of speech which is still slow but she has done great.

“I have had lots of other patients who have done exceedingly well. Sara coming into my life was one of the greatest things that ever happened to me. I have loved the TalkTools program. I have been just so thrilled to be able to help people who come sort of as their last ditch effort and just kind of not sure if they should continue to even try, and TalkTools program has worked for them. So thank you Sara.” ~ Diane Felton, MA, CCC-SLP

We are incredibly appreciative of those who shared their stories, let us know if you have a story to tell.
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Success Story | Beth and Heather

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

In celebration of 30 years of successful therapy, we asked you to share your success stories with us at the last ASHA Convention and the response was amazing! Here are Beth Marafiote and Heather Peterson's inspiring testimonials.

“My name is Beth Marafiote and I live in Parker, Colorado. I discovered TalkTools and Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson many many years ago after going to many different other people’s workshops on how to help oral motor. They helped a little bit but not much. I discovered her. She revolutionized the way I do therapy. I feel like her products have made me the best therapist. Well, that’s a little exaggeration, but so much better. I am forever ever grateful because I view these products as the miracle of speech therapy.” Beth Marafiote, MA, CCC-SLP

“Hi, my name is Heather. TalkTools has completely changed my life. I think we all start in the same place, where we are gathering information. When I was newer into my career, I found Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson’s first course and I took a video course (the “Level 1” course) and it was really after that that I decided: “Wow, look at all this information that I just learned! I have never heard this before, this totally makes sense to me. I think I’m going to try it!” And so I had a child - actually, it was not a child, it was a teenager - walk in and he had Dandy-Walker Syndrome, he wore a bandana, and he drooled constantly. His mother came in and said: “You know, I would really like to work on this drooling. I want his mouth to close, I want his tongue to be in his mouth, and I really want him to try to use his mouth for speech.” I just remember, I think the weekend before I have been to that course and I just thought: “Ok, I’m going to try this. I’m going to use the Bite Tubes, and I’m going to just order that,” because it was the one thing that I grasped: the jaw was so important. So we used those on him and that mom was amazing. We used those on him for about six months and we were able to close his jaw and his lips, and there was no more saliva. We took off that bandana. For so many of us, we know that perception is so important. Not only had we changed his oral function, but we changed the perception of everybody looking at him and that is really important. That is just one awesome example of what TalkTools has done. If you think about a fourteen-year-old, he was not spontaneously developing, that was something that the mom really did. So that’s a really true testimony to TalkTools. Since then, it has opened up my eyes and I started using it and I really have changed my practice. I predominantly now work with children with Down Syndrome and I watch it every day. Parents comment every day that this is changing the lives and the faces and the structures and the articulation and feeding development of the children. I have really my career I have to thank Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson for creating and I am keeping on with the oral motor movement even when it wasn’t such a hot topic, because clinically - man - it is just so incredible. So thank you TalkTools, thank you Sara, and thank you to everybody in the oral motor community who has come before.” Heather Peterson, MS, CCC-SLP

We are incredibly appreciative of those who shared their stories, let us know if you have a story to tell.

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Success Story | Cora Rose

Posted by Admin TalkTools on

Miss Cora Rose, a TalkTools® client since an infant, will be featured in a 60-second Super Bowl commercial tomorrow night!

She has been modeling for a shoe company called Livie and Luca under the "Changing the Face of Beauty" movement (pictures below) ... And now is featured in a SunTrust commercial "Hold Your Breath" (video below), kicking off a movement to help millions of Americans move from financial stress to financial confidence. It's a huge win for people with special needs.

Cora, her family and her TalkTools® therapist Heather (Peterson) Vukelich are part of an organization called the Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area. Heather works inside the doors of the organization, and Cora and her family are members. The organization's mission is "to empower, inspire and support people with Down syndrome, their families and the community that serves them, while fostering awareness and acceptance in all areas of life".

TalkTools | Cora Rose  TalkTools | Cora Rose TalkTools | Cora Rose

Photo credit: Livie & Luca's Spring 2016 Catalog shoot

Read her story in her mom and therapist's words:

"I’m thrilled to be able to be a part of Cora’s ride :)   She and her mother Kerri are truly a blessing to me, and have taught me SO much.  That’s the best part of a job as a therapist… You start out thinking you are helping others, when in reality it’s the children and families that teach us the most about ourselves and life :)

Cora is a 4 year old little girl who is constantly breaking the mold and diving deep into the hearts of the people around her.  Cora started TalkTools® when she was an infant with the support of her mother, Kerri.  It’s Kerri’s consistency and tenacity that has made all the difference for Cora and her speech and facial development through the years.  Starting TalkTools® at such a young age not only has helped to facilitate more normalized speech and feeding development, but it’s also ensured that million dollar smile of hers!  Both Cora and Kerri have worked hard to achieve all of the sounds in her repertoire and her oral movements to support those sounds.  The most beautiful reward of all is hearing Cora’s little voice and the funny phrases she likes to use to amuse the people around her. Some of Cora’s favorite phrases these days are “Hi Honey!” (thanks to grandma), “ Have a good day!,” “Not a good idea!,” and “Oh boys!"

Cora is an absolute blessing to those around her and is unexpectedly broadening her reach to SO many with the incredible opportunities that have been sharing her with the world through the “Changing the Face of Beauty” movement, the Livie and Luca shoe company,  and now Suntrust Bank.   As with all people with differing abilities, Cora continues to teach us joy, acceptance, the benefits of hard work, and of course what life is really about: LOVE!"

   - Heather (Peterson) Vukelich, MS SLP-CCC (Danville, CA)

"Two years ago, Cora was part of a promotional campaign for Easter Seals of the Bay Area (she was receiving early intervention services through them at the time). The photographer commented that she was a natural with the camera and suggested I look into modeling. My main motivation for pursuing this with her was to hopefully change common misconceptions about what it looks like to have Down syndrome. I feel like the more exposure people have to individuals of all abilities, the more accepting they will be. Some companies have committed to be more inclusive in their advertising as shown by Cora's catalog work for the children's shoe company Livie & Luca. Not only have they included children of all abilities but they have supported organizations that assist children with special needs.

As far as the Super Bowl commercial, Cora went on an audition through her modeling agency and won them over!  On set, the crew was enamored with her and impressed at how quickly they got the shot.  She has a very agreeable nature, seems to enjoy having her picture taken, and follows directions really well.  She has a natural ability to connect with people. Her joy is contagious! I applaud SunTrust for the inclusive nature of their ad and for recognizing the beauty and value of every individual."

   - Kerri Slocum

And ... Here's the commercial:

TalkTools | Cora Rose TalkTools | Cora Rose

Photo credit: SunTrust 2016

Hopefully, Cora's story will inspire other parents to advocate for their child the way Kerri does, and companies to keep including individuals with special needs.

 


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