3 years old
Kevin (not his real name) was a typical 3 year old boy when tragedy struck on March 27, 2013. He was outside riding his tricycle with his older brothers. His mom was inside the home doing dishes when Kevin’s brother came in and said Kevin is in the pool. In an instance all their lives changed. When Mom came outside her little boy was at the bottom of the pool. To this day they don’t know if they head injury was sustained before or after he fell in the pool.
At 4:30 that afternoon Kevin arrived at the emergency room. He was placed on a ventilator and eventually a tracheotomy tube. Kevin’s parents are devoted to him and committed to understanding the rehabilitation needs — which range from learning how to swallow around therapy to learn how to communicate with visual cues, swallow and a host of other re-learning issues.
Kevin has touched all of his therapists, each response is a victory and the need for re-evaluation is constant to be sure the therapy is appropriate. Allergic reactions to some of the drugs are just one of the setbacks Kevin and his family have had to endure.
Stan loves basketball and the Longhorns. He was born premature and with Down’s Syndrome. Stan had his first open heart surgery at the age of six weeks. In addition to the Down’s Syndrome, Stan has a history of hypothyroidism, ADHD and sleep apnea — all of which affect his ability to learn and grow.
Stan receives speech, occupational, and physical therapy and has met all of the goals set out in his care plan allowing the therapists to up the bar. When I have started working with him on the speech therapy, he was able to identify pictures but was unable to express his needs and was unintelligible to people outside his family. With therapy he quickly acquired new speech sounds and began using them in words and short phrases. He has learned how to combine words and ask for objects and make comments. He increased his vocabulary to include descriptive terms, pronouns, and prepositions. Now Stan is able to clearly and confidently respond when someone asks his name. He can ask for his favorite things (iPad, puzzles, cookies and chicken) using complete sentences. He can respond to basic questions and is even learning to ask questions to meet his needs (Where’s Mommy?) Stan is a joy to work with and there are so many more milestones he can make going forward.
Mitchell loves anything with dragons and dinosaurs. He dreams of being a paleontologist or a police officer. He has a baby brother whom he adores. Mitchell has a history of ear infections and seasonal allergies and was referred for speech therapy because his speech was unintelligible to people unfamiliar to him.
As a result he does not speak to people outside the family because he is not understood. This was one reason that his family home was the ideal setting for the speech therapy sessions which began in February 2014. At the time of the initial evaluation, he had a severe articulation/phonological disorder characterized by the presence of “stopping” “syllable reductions, “fronting”, “assimilations” and “final consonant deletions.” By the re-evaluation in August, he had mastered our short term goals of decreasing the phonological processes of fronting and syllable reductions. By October 2014 he was able to decrease the stopping in his connected speech. His mom reports that she “can’t get him to shut up” and he currently speaks to everyone at school and his kindergarten teacher didn’t even know he had a history of a speech problem.
These are true accounts. The names have been changed to protect the identities of these patients.