Helping Emily express her dreams
From the time she figured out her mouth could make sounds, Emily Booker didn’t stop talking. The problem was no one could understand what this bubbly two-year-old had to say. Today, after a year of speech therapy at ErinoakKids, Emily’s improvement has been “unbelievable”.
“Although Emily loved to talk, she never really moved out of the baby babble phase,” her mom Kathryn Will explains. “She would wait for a response, but we couldn’t give her one because we had no clue what she said.”
Kathryn’s family doctor referred Emily to ErinoakKids for speech therapy, where she began working with Speech Language Pathologist, Inga Manuel. And that’s when things changed. Inga began teaching Emily how to move her mouth to make the proper sounds, retraining how her brain and mouth connect. For example, Emily called Kathryn “Buddy” instead of “Mommy”. Inga helped Emily to move her lips, tongue and face in a different way so she could say “Mommy”.
That, along with working therapy into normal conversation at home, has been the biggest factor in Emily’s speech improvement.
“Emily is a completely different little girl from the one I met a year ago,” explains Inga. “She was always a hard worker who loved to play, but today she can tell us exactly what she is thinking and feeling – and she definitely isn’t shy about it!”
Emily loves going to speech therapy. “It’s like winning the lottery on Thursday mornings when Grandma is coming to take her to see Inga!” says Kathryn. After a session, she can’t wait to tell her mom about it. “Emily will say, ‘Mommy, Inga wants me to say it like this.’ She has been a life changer for us.”
Emily has always had an active imagination and dreams for the future. Whether it’s to grow up to be a pirate, a princess, or working with animals (all ambitions Emily has talked about), the first step is being able to communicate her dreams. And now she is happy to tell you all about them!
With Emily starting school in September 2014, the timing is perfect, says her mom. “She still has a lot to work on. The difference is, now it’s all achievable.”