EasterSeals Celebrates Hearing & Speech Month

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May 01, 2019

When Valeriya Smith, of Wilmington, learned her son, Edward, had a very rare genetic disorder, there were many questions but often few answers. For comfort and support, she reached out to other families from around the world who also had children with rare disorders. Here at home, she reached out to Easterseals, who brought critically needed services to help Edward meet his developmental milestones.


“The diagnosis brought several emotions. There was no 'quick fix' for the diagnosis. However, the diagnosis gave us a chance to educate ourselves and connect with other families,” Valeriya says. “If your child has a rare disease, use the internet to find similar families around the world as they will be a key source of information and support.”


May is Better Hearing and Speech month. Although more than 5 million children in the United States have a speech, language or hearing disorder, parents are often unsure about what to do when they suspect their child may be affected.


“The early years are critical so access all the therapy help you can. Do not wait and hope that it’s going to be 'just ok' in the end,” Valeriya says. “Find therapists who are engaged, responsive and join the sessions if you can. The therapists will teach you great things that as a parent can be used every day.”


Edward receives speech, physical and occupational therapies. He has mastered several skills with the help of his therapists and parents, including walking and some sign language to communicate. Currently, Edward is focusing on chewing, tolerating different textures of food, and building verbal skills all with his Easterseals speech therapist from the comfort and security of his own home. His Speech-Language Pathologist has also incorporated a communication device that uses pictures and voice output as another way for Edward to express his wants and needs.


“Edward’s speech therapist has a very positive, engaging, and fun approach to her interactions with him.   Edward is friendly, open child so for him the sessions feel like fun.” Valeriya says. “We do not know what the future holds for Edward, but we know he is happy, making progress and enjoying life. That's what every parent wants for their child.”


Families with a concern about their child’s speech or feeding development should contact Easterseals for information on acquiring a full evaluation. Easterseals’ has a team of Master’s level, certified and licensed Speech-Language Pathologists who are available to provide services to children of all ages in our locations in Delaware and Maryland’s eastern shore.


A trusted provider of children’s therapy services for more than 65 years, Easterseals Delaware & Maryland’s Eastern Shore specializes in treating children ages birth through eighteen years with a variety of challenges, including developmental delay, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, speech and language delay, feeding and swallowing difficulties and others. Therapy services are provided for children in the home, at daycare centers, or through center-based play groups.


For 100 years nationally, Easterseals has served as an indispensable resource for individuals with disabilities, veterans, seniors and their families. Easterseals Delaware & Maryland’s Eastern Shore offers a range of services, including children’s therapies, assistive technology, recreational camping, day programs for adults with physical or intellectual disabilities, and respite services for caregivers. To learn more about how your local Easterseals helps children and adults with disabilities, call 1-800-677-3800 or visit www.de.easterseals.com