The act of speaking is something that we took for granted until we became parents to Shellye and Christian. Having raised seven other children, we just figured they would start speaking when they were toddlers! But now we have learned how much it takes to produce the sounds that we use in daily communication. Without Belle Children's Services and our speech language pathologist Claudia, we would be lost.
Claudia began seeing our daughter Shellye at age 2. She has Down syndrome and a speech articulation disorder. Since Claudia began working with Shellye, she can now function in a typical first grade classroom. Claudia works patiently with Shellye to obtain compliance and to help clarify her speech. Claudia is also a source of education for us, as parents, on how to help Shellye form words. Shellye was reading a book about throwing a snowball and I repeatedly attempted to get her to say “throw” clearly, but to no avail. Claudia showed Shellye where to place her tongue and with a few attempts Shellye said “throw” clearly enough to be understood.
In addition, Claudia works with our 3-year-old son Christian, who also has Down syndrome and multiple complicated medical diagnoses. Claudia has been able to motivate and work with Christian to develop his speech and learn signs to communicate. This gives us hope that Christian will be able to talk and communicate. We are so grateful for all that Belle and Claudia have done for our family. With Claudia’s continued help, we plan for our children to become independent adults.