Josh is a 15-year-old with cerebral palsy who has been seen for speech and feeding therapy for the past 12 months. Josh’s mother initially sought out speech therapy services due to increased concerns with his safety and independence during drinking and eating, along with poor saliva management. The initial evaluation revealed moderate to severe oral motor weakness, as could be expected with Josh’s condition. Josh presented with decreased oral awareness, as well as difficulty with lip closure and lip rounding for speech and feeding. With these findings, and Josh’s ability to tolerate these tasks in the evaluation, we knew an oral placement therapy program would be beneficial for him. READ MORE
Tagged "straw therapy"
Success Story: Josh & Kelly
Posted by Casey Roy on
Sharing the gift of TalkTools with those living on Roatan, Honduras
Posted by Deborah Grauzam on
Kerry Tichi, MS CCC/SLP received a donation from TalkTools a few months ago to use with children and young adults with special needs during her trip to Roatan, Honduras. She writes about her experience and the impact it made on this population.
"It is with much privilege and gratitude that I have been able to share the gift of TalkTools with those living on Roatan, one of the Bay Islands of Honduras. Certified with TalkTools as a Level II Speech/Language Pathologist, I spent one week assessing and putting a basic treatment plan in place, for students who attend CATTLEYA, a small school for children and young adults with special needs. The plan, collaborating with TalkTools President, Luke Blessinger, was to arrive with a suitcase full of TalkTools material, do a brief evaluation on each student, implement a program plan for those students in need of Oral Placement Therapy, and train teachers and parents on the basics of TalkTools and the specifics for each child.
Having lived on Roatan for three years, back in 2014, where my focus was on teaching English to an impoverished community, I had only briefly met a few parents and children with disabilities. For cultural and economical reasons, girls often do not receive as much education as boys in Honduras. As you might imagine, those with handicaps receive even less. Less respect, less dignity, less opportunities…less life. Thankfully, a strong, dedicated group of parents of children with disabilities there, has created more. More awareness, more opportunities, more dignity, more respect, more life.
CATTLEYA is an established NGO on Roatan, Honduras whose mission is to advocate for those with disabilities on the Bay Islands of Honduras. It is associated with the Honduran National Federation of Parents of People with Disabilities (FENAPAPEDISH) and is managed by its dedicated group of volunteer parents of children and young adults with disabilities. The goal of Cattleya is to reach every child, providing guidance and resources, to help achieve their full intellectual capability and integration as a functioning member of society.
CATTLEYA is named in honor of a young girl, Mia Cattleya, born with Down Syndrome who sadly, passed away many years ago due to heart complications. It is also the name of a beautiful orchid, representing life and possibility. It has grown from a small group of concerned mothers in 2010. It operates CEDICA, (Centro Educativo de Desarillo Inclusivo CATTLEYA), a small school for those with disabilities. Currently, the school serves approximately 20 children and young adults ranging in age from 3 to 22 years.
Initially, all students were assessed, ranging in diagnoses from Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, West Syndrome, Autism, Developmental delay to undiagnosed. Additionally, another 10 children were assessed, who heard about my being on island via Facebook, television announcement, and/or word of mouth. By week's end, a TalkTools program plan was put in place for more than half of the children. All of the teachers, a few parents, and a retired SLP on island were trained in proper positioning, the components of standard speech production, the how and why of the chewing, straw, and horn hierarchies, and the criteria needed to advance to the next level. While it was a lot of information given over a little bit of time, we will continue to “talk” via email and video to provide ongoing education. Additionally, a follow-up trip will take place in three months time.
While I knew in my heart I could be of service, never did I imagine to what great extent! With TalkTools help, and assistance of others interested, together we can make a lasting impact on this community. As this outreach grows, paired with trainings in typical speech/language development and intervention strategies, more children on island will be identified and reached. Using our skills and talents, offered in a culturally relevant way, within a locally driven, extremely receptive organization, can greatly assist those, too often marginalized in a 3rd world country like Honduras. Thank you TalkTools for partnering in this venture!"
-Kerry Tichi, MS CCC/SLP
Over the past 2+ years, CEDICA has grown from a two-room space within a clinic to a free standing beautifully renovated building. While they have come far, there is still much work to be done! Current needs include raising funds to:
1-Hire a Special Education Teacher/Administrator to oversee and guide program development.
2-Sponsor children/ young adults with disabilities so that they can afford to attend this school.
3-Provide ongoing Continuing Education for teachers and parents to increase knowledge.
4-Provide ongoing Evaluation and assessment of students and programs
5-Advocate for individuals with disabilities and increase awareness on the Bay Islands.
6-Improve the website to increase exposure, facilitating sustainability.
7-Begin planning for implementation of a vocational program.
In US dollars CATTLEYA's current monthly budget based on planned projections according to the above is $4623.70 and their actual capacity based on 2016 income generated by sponsorship, donations, board activities plus parent contributions is $3063.79. CATTLEYA is short $1559.91 and is basically the reason they have not been able to have a FT Administrator/Special Education teacher, are lacking in specialized training, and have a limited capacity to reach more children and families.
If this resonates with you, contact CATTLEYA to make a donation today!
Kerry can be reached via comments below.
Dashiell Wins The Award For Self-Advocacy
Posted by Deborah Grauzam on
"When our son Dashiell was born in early 2004 with Down syndrome, we immediately began researching possible intervention and therapy options. We realized that in our talkative family, speech would be our priority. When we found an article by Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson, MS, CCC-SLP about her oral-motor therapy, the connections between feeding and speech really made sense to us, especially since we could start working on speech skills before Dashiell was talking. When Dashiell was five months old, I attended Lori Overland, MS, CCC-SLP, C/NDT's class on feeding children with Down syndrome and started doing the feeding and oral-motor therapy exercises at home. When he was a year old, we started working with Sara and other TalkTools therapists whenever the visiting clinics came to our area. Dashiell has been using the exercises at home for almost 10 years. He has worked his way through the feeding exercises, the straw hierarchy, and the bite blocks and is currently working on using the jaw exerciser, button pull, and tongue depressor push ups among other exercises.
The TalkTools program has helped Dashiell immensely. Because of his good muscle tone and habits, his speech is understood by unfamiliar listeners almost all of the time. His strong speech skills have opened many doors for him. He loves telling stories and jokes, and his friends in a typical classroom can understand him. He has made presentations to many classes and groups about what it is like to have Down syndrome and even emceed an event for over 600 people. We are so grateful that Dashiell can express his feelings and ideas. He has a lot of great stuff to say!"