The Children's Institute Blog

Ian's Success Story - Better Speech & Hearing Month

Posted: May 16, 2017 by The Children's Institute

For the Allsup’s, speech therapy is a family affair.

Parents Chris and Kelly both had speech therapy as kids but their son, Ian, who is nearing six years old, is getting a slightly different experience at The Children’s Institute. In short, the old flip cards have been replaced by iPads & speech games. And Ian’s diagnosed phonological processing disorder has improved by leaps and bounds since he started therapy here.

We feature him today as part of May’s Better Speech & Hearing Month.

“I started two years ago with Ian and he was highly unintelligible. Dad had to translate 90 percent of what he was saying to me,” speech-language pathologist Inbal K. Vellucci said. “He really just took off. Now we’re really just cleaning up. You’ll hear him – he sounds great!”

Inbal attributes part of the significant progress to the “cycles approach.” In traditional speech therapy, you pick a number of targets and do 10 trials of each sound per session, she said. It might take weeks before a sound starts being targeted in phrases. Using “cycles,” you pick the same number of targets, but work only on one sound per session. The difference is that you target that sound more than 100 times in a single session.

“We can go from modeled words to spontaneous phrases in one session,” Inbal said. “You make a lot of progress.”

Ian recently sat down with Inbal for therapy and illustrated just how strong his articulation has become.

“Moth, path, Earth, south, faith, Seth, bath, sloth,” he named outloud, following picture prompts from the iPad.

“Nice job!” replied Inbal.

Dad says it was clear pretty early on that Ian would need intervention. At age 2 ½ he began speech therapy.  Ian has always worked hard in sessions and has slowly been gaining more skills. 

“Just this last six months something has really clicked, he’s made huge strides,” Chris said. “The combination of skills and approach he is being taught by Inbal, and learning to read on his own, which has focused on independent and combined letter sounds, has been instrumental in this growth.”

When Ian speaks now, you hear him loud and clear.

“I do a couple routines with this short staff,” said Ian, a kung fu buff, raising a wooden stick above his head after a therapy session. “And it’s pretty hard to do it with nunchuks. There’s even more weapons I haven’t tried yet. I’m a high belt; I’m a green belt, level two.”

Chris said that “Ian is and always has been a very outgoing and friendly kid and has never let communication limitations stop him from doing what he wanted or to hold him back. It is great to see that determination be rewarded with significant improvements he has seen. I think the cycles approach helped and we are very proud of Ian for his determination and hard work.”

“We are also very thankful for Inbal and the whole speech therapy team at the Children’s Institute. Their progressive approach, breadth of resources, and experience with these issues, meant our son had a tailored path of care and the support to reach the objectives. "We could not be happier with the results!”

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