The following testimonials have been provided by Small Steps in Speech grant recipients.
I am writing this to say thank you so very much for giving the gift of speech therapy to our family with this phenomenal grant! With this grant we received, we were able to continue our expensive journey through intense speech therapy! Kellan has Childhood Apraxia of Speech and it requires 4-5 a week of speech therapy just to hope for intelligibility. Thanks to this fantastic grant, and Kellan’s hard work, we have seen dramatic results! Since we received the grant, Kellan has gone from 1 word/syllable words to 6 word sentences and 3 syllable words! It’s the most amazing thing to hear. And I cannot believe just how far he has come in the last 6 months! Obviously this therapy is crucial and we couldn’t have done what we needed without your kindness and the gift of the grant! We have a long road ahead but this helped so much! We are so grateful for the help! We needed it and we know others do as well!
Thanks again! From our thankful family!
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for the grant that was awarded to my son through the Small Steps in Speech program. Jeffrey is 4 years old and he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of three. He struggles with social language and extreme food aversions. The sessions that you provided allowed him to make tremendous gains in both areas. It was especially helpful that the grant time frame began in the summer, as the limited speech therapy that he receives in school is cut down to only a few weeks and I was fearful he would experience regression.
Thank you for Ms. Charney, The Board of Directors, Staff, Volunteers and Donors who make it possible for children like my son to gain a growing confidence in his abilities and provide their families with a way to help. Thank you for Sgt. Marc J. Small, and all the heroes like him whose noble acts serve as an inspiration to all of us.
We would never have come this far without your assistance and generosity. We are forever grateful and truly honored to have been given this opportunity.
Christine (Jeffrey’s mom)
Our son Daniel was diagnosed with Apraxia of Speech and receptive and expressive language delays in June 2015 and a that time was placed in a special education program where he receives speech, occupational and social work services weekly. Daniel is a very sweet boy who loves school, but is not able to attend mainstream classes due to his delayed speech development.
In order to try to continue to improve his speech communication, Daniel’s Pediatric Neurologist, recommended he receive an additional 3 hours of speech therapy per week.
Our current Employer-Based Medical insurance only covers 60 therapy sessions in a calendar year. Once these 60 visits are consumed, we must pay for the therapy out of pocket at a rate of $105 per session. This is an unaccounted, additional expense of nearly $10,000 which was not possible within our current household budget.
Small Steps in Speech provided a monetary grant that allowed Daniel to attend 10 extra speech therapy sessions in 2016. Daniel is showing constant improvement in his ability to communicate verbally using receptive and expressive language as a result of multiple speech therapy sessions he attends each week. We truly appreciate this generous grant we received from Small Steps in Speech as we try to locate every dollar available to cover the costs of this necessary speech therapy.
Our deepest and sincere Thanks to all the members of the wonderful organization.
William and Ekaterina (Daniel’s parents)
Ryan and Casey’s mom
Austin made great progress while in therapy. He not only increased his fluency greatly in therapy with me, he also improved while talking to unfamiliar people in our clinic. Austin became confident while speaking at home and at school. When he did have days of increased stuttering, he was able to reflect and understand what vulnerabilities he may have had that contributed to his dysfluency. Austin spontaneously used appropriate breath groups, pull-outs, and cancellations while speaking. When he finished his 16 visits, he was more than 95% fluent in conversational speech.
Austin’s family is bilingual, and many extended family members speak only Spanish. Austin’s stuttering in Spanish was severe, in spite of his nearly-fluent English. He was much less comfortable and confident speaking Spanish, as he was never expected by his family to speak Spanish (although he understood it well) due to his stuttering. Austin was taking Spanish in school, and spent a month in a Spanish-speaking country over the summer with relatives. These experiences and lots of practice increased Austin’s knowledge of Spanish vocabulary, grammar, and syntax.
Therapy sessions were conducted in Spanish for several months. It remained a very difficulty task for Austin to manage his dysfluencies in Spanish. This will be an area in which he will need continual work. However, Austin now has the tools he needs to increase his fluency in Spanish. Because of this determination and the dedication of his family, I have no doubt that Austin will continue to progress.
Allison is a nine-year-old girl with a personality that sparkles. She is caring and considerate of her family and is truly a social butterfly. She demonstrates poor speech intelligibility and pragmatic judgment skills; as well as, scattered weakness in receptive and expressive language skills. Small Steps in Speech is making it possible for Allison to continue receiving supplemental speech-language therapy and make progress towards her communication and academic goals.
Thank you SO much for allowing XX to attend Camp Shout Out for his second summer. Because of his family’s limited means he would not have been able to attend without a scholarship from Small Steps in Speech.
Attending Camp Shout Out has been a life changing event for XX. Included in this packet are letters and writings by XX that testify on how the experience at Camp Shout Out has impacted his life.
In 2012, XX was able to establish his own communication goals in order to work on becoming a more effective speaker and confident learner. XX jumped into new tasks with energy and eagerness and was willing to work through tasks that were difficult and/or frustrating when prior to his Camp experience he might have given up or removed himself the activity. He has been able to pay closer attention to his fluency and has been observed moving through significant stuttering blocks in order to get his message across. His biggest gain at Camp was his level of communication confidence. Throughout the session he noted to engage in conversation with peers, improve his eye contact and volume, and on one occasion even was brave enough to address the entire camp group.
One of the most powerful memories I have about XX at Camp Shout Out was on the high ropes course. In 2011, he attempted to climb up the 30-foot pole across the high ropes; he made it up to the platform but then began crying loudly and uncontrollably. He needed to come down and did not attempt the ropes course again that session. In 2012, XX confidently climbed the pole and completed the ropes course smiling all the way. When he got back to the ground he was so proud of himself, but also took the time to encourage other campers who were frightened by the challenge.
The life skills that XX has learned at Camp Shout Out are skills he will take with him into school and home. None of this would have been possible for XX without the scholarship provided to him by Small Steps in Speech.
With Much Gratitude,
Julie Raynor, MA CCC-SLP
Camp Shout Out Co-Director
I want to express my gratitude for approving my son, Cason, for a grant! Words cannot really express the emotions I felt when I read the letter of approval. I cried when I read the letter to my husband.
For families like mine that are told we “make too much” for Medicaid assistance, yet we cannot afford the high costs of health insurance through an employer, we are left with few options of providing health care for our children.
In March, when I was faced with the difficult decision of removing Cason from speech therapy due to inability to pay, Cason and I were both crushed. It was at a time that we were really starting to see progress in his speech. Cason also thoroughly enjoyed going to speech. He couldn’t wait for his next session. I promised Cason that “Mommy will take you back to speech”. Though I did not know at the time how that would be possible, I wanted to believe it. As the weeks passed, Cason would continue to ask if it was speech day and when he would return. No parent ever wants, nor should, tell his or her child they cannot afford to provide a needed service.
Yesterday when I told Cason that he would be returning to speech, he jumped and yelled, “Yes!”. It is the generosity of your organization that gives children to reach their potential.
Again, please know that my family and I are so truly grateful for your kindness!
On behalf of myself, the SPARK Center and the entire Boston Medical Center (BMC) community, it is my sincere pleasure to thank you and Small Steps in Speech for your generous gift of $1928 towards speech therapy classes at SPARK.
As you know, BMC is New England’s largest safety-net hospital. Approximately 75% of BMC patients are insured by government-funded programs and more then half of BMC’s patients are at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. Approximately 70% of BMC’s patients are racial or ethnic minorities and 30% do not speak English as a primary language.
Part of the BMC Pediatric Department, the SPARK Center is an innovative, comprehensive care center that focuses on our most vulnerable citizens – medically complex, low income, ethnic minority, urban children and babies, Fifty percent of SPARK kids are under five years old, 42% have experienced abuse and/or neglect, and 85% have special learning challenges.
As previously discussed, Child X, who will receive the therapy that your award provides, has faced very serious and very tragic circumstances, made even worse by the consideration that she is not yet five years old. Your generous gift will provide her with critical skills that will help her to build the foundation she needs to live a successful and happy life.
I can speak for the entire SPARK staff when I tell you that we’re extremely excited by our new partnership with Small Steps in Speech. We look forward to working with you.
Thank you for your abiding commitment to these vulnerable children.
Martha Vibbert, PhD
Boston Medical Center
Words cannot express how grateful we are that you have chosen us for such a generous grant. I truly feel like I have won the lottery. When a diagnosis of autism happens to a middle class family the helpless, desperate feeling that you have is heartwrenching. We once thought we had “GREAT” health insurance- until a diagnosis of autism pretty much shuts us out. The therapy you have granted us will help us so much and I just wanted to thank you and your wonderful organization. Our Izzy will be able to make huge strides thanks to you and would love to keep you updated on the progress you have helped us achieve. What a wonderful way to remember Staff Sgt. Marc Small. You have all truly blessed us!
Dear Small Steps in Speech and Ms. Amanda Charney:
I am writing this letter to thank you for giving my son the opportunity of acquiring language and speech. He will be able to communicate his basic needs and achieve his potential through this grant. As I write this letter, I think that Small Steps in Speech and Ms. Charney have a great heart and interest in helping children to acquire speech and language. Small Steps in Speech and Ms. Charney, you are helping children as well as families as they can start communicating in a more efficient way. Children can develop language, cognition, and play skills. I am very thankful and happy that my son has been given this opportunity. You are helping my son enormously and we will always keep you in our prayers and hearts. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!
New York, New York
Submitted by Kyra’s speech therapist
The Small Steps in Speech Grant has helped Kyra and our family in many ways. It has allowed us to continue her private speech therapy which had been on a month-by-month basis due to our family’s limited funds. Now we can look forward to continuing her private speech therapy for a longer period. The grant has also allowed us to refocus our energies on her treatment and resolution and move toward the future. Small Steps in Speech has graciously stepped forward and helped where private insurance and the school systems left a gap. We truly appreciated the warmth, understanding, and professionalism along the way. We feel blessed to have learned of your grant and the opportunity you have shared with us. Thank you Small Steps in Speech for helping Kyra!
Submitted by Kyra’s parents
Colorado Springs, CO
Dear Small Steps in Speech Team,
I wanted to thank you so much for the kind grant for my son, Finley. This has helped our family tremendously. His speech sessions with the therapist have really helped him. We hope to continue with her in 2012. He is saying so many more words and communicating much better. I know continued speech therapy and interventions will continue to help him. Y’all are a huge blessing to our family and we wanted to thank you and tell you Merry Christmas.
I’m writing to tell you how much my family and I appreciate the grant that we received for my son, Julien, last spring. Since receiving the grant Julien has been able to attend speech every week for one session a week instead of twice a month previous to the grant. This has been a great help to Julien making progress in his speech as well as other areas such as reading and writing. He is now attending third grade here on the Oregon coast. …His teachers in both classrooms have been very impressed by Julien’s progress in speech within the last 8 months. I too have noticed a significant improvement in his ability to communicate since attending private speech therapy more often. My family and I greatly appreciate this grant and we hope that Small Steps can continue to help others as much as it has helped out us. Thank you very much from all of us.
Submitted by Julien’s family
For Tomas it has meant an opportunity to receive individualized therapy, which is focusing intensely on a small handful of goals. Over the past 6 months, Tomas has made tremendous gains with both his expressive and receptive language. He is now making spontaneous requests and more consistently comprehending orally presented information. His family found such an asset and opportunity when they discovered SSIS.
For Joseph, he discovered words! He came to therapy almost completely nonverbal now Joseph is using words daily, many which are completely clear. SSIS awarded Joseph the opportunity for a customized therapy program which fits his specific needs.
Both these boys are enrolled in the school system and receive services through the schools; however, it just wasn’t enough! Lucky for Tomas and Joseph SSIS stepped in to award these young boys with a gift of service something that their families will be forever thankful for. As the provider, I am grateful for the opportunity to work with these young children and also make an impression with their future.
Submitted by Tomas and Joseph’s speech therapist
Dear Board of Directors of Small Steps in Speech,
Time and time again, we have heard from those who love us that we can count on them for support. By now, many have heard of the many trials children on the Autism spectrum battle on a daily basis, and of the hardship families endure both emotionally as well as financially. The 80% divorce rate figure among couples with children on the Autism spectrum that has been widely reported has not gone unnoticed by friends and family and we know that they pray for our Celina and for our family constantly. Nonetheless, there are needs that can’t be addressed by love alone.
Speech has been the cornerstone therapy for all of our Celina’s successes. The Autism diagnosis came at the age of 23 months for our 6 year old daughter, and even then, we knew that the diagnosis would not define Celina, but rather the prognosis would be shaped by our determination to retrieve her from the Autism that had taken her from us. All treatment comes at a price, and for our family, the grant from Small Steps in Speech is truly life altering. It is a great relief to not have to think about what we can give, versus what our Celina needs, and what she needs, is to continue her Speech therapy.
We’ve gone from two to three words used to request the most basic of needs, to having the honor of being able to get to know our daughter. With every passing day, aided by her Speech therapy, we see emerging a witty, girly, diva personality, who can now voice her wants, needs, preferences, and love. Just last week, we witnessed Celina’s first unprompted question! She pointed to a flower, and asked “Mommy, what’s that?” Mom responded, “A flower”. She giggled and asked again, “what’s that?” Mom said, “It’s a daisy”, and Celina replied, “Daisies are beautiful, Mommy.”
On June 14th of this year, we celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary, and it was our daughter who gave us the most amazing gift that day. On our way home from her first day of summer school, Mom asked Celina if she wanted to speak with her Dad on the phone, and when she took the phone, she proceeded to have a REAL, unprompted, unrehearsed conversation with Dad. She told him that she’d had a lot of fun, and that her new friend had made poor choices in school that day, and that she (of course) had only made good ones. Oh, and that she wanted chocolate cake for dessert.
Thank you and God Bless you, Board of Directors of Small Steps in Speech. Slowly but surely we are getting back the giggly, bright-eyed daughter we thought we’d lost. With your help, our Celina continues to find her voice one Glorious, Small, Step at a time.
Noah’s speech therapist
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Let us honor the memory of Staff Sgt. Marc J. Small. His memory will live on in the voices of the children Small Steps in Speech organization helps forever more.
The letter of approval of a grant for an iPad2 for our beautiful son, Dylan, is an answer to our prayers! Please, please accept our deepest gratitude. I cannot express in words how much I know that this will help Dylan further his communication. Dylan is such an amazing boy. I believe he is destined to do so much good I this world. Thank you so much for believing in him, just as we do. I am amazed by the generosity in your hearts. I cannot tell you how much this is going to positively affect this amazing boy.
I wish you could meet Dylan. I know I am looking through parent’s eyes, but he is the most incredible boy. He is so full of love, co compassionate to others, so happy; yet so full of tears in his eyes when he is unable to communicate his pain or his desire to play a game with another peer. Dylan often will grab a toy car and play by himself or try to mask his pain when we can’t understand where it “hurts.”
I hope you don’t mind that I have placed your letter of acceptance in his memory book we had started at his birth. I want him to possibly understand later in life how people can be so kind and selfless even to someone they have never met.
Bless you all. Bless the memory of Staff Sgt. Marc J. Small.
Dylan’s proud parents.
Small Steps in Speech has contributed greatly to the development of speech for my client. Because of his disability, he was not producing any speech or functional speech sounds. The grant provided for my client allowed him to begin to receive the oral motor speech therapy needed to begin initiation of speech sounds, and an understanding of the function of speech production. Without this help, my client would still be struggling to begin to find his voice. Although it is still a long journey ahead, his parents now have hope that one day soon they too will hear their child’s words. Speech is the window to a person’s soul, and Small Steps in Speech has opened the window for my client.
Speech Pathologist/Myofunctional Therapist
Thank you so much for giving my son the opportunity to continue his speech therapy. The grant was very helpful to attend speech therapy session:; during the summer months, since the school is out. Since he started working with Ms Lynsey I have noticed improvement in his behavior, not just his language abilities. He is not as angry as he used to be whenever he is trying to express himself.
It is very unfortunate that our health system doesn’t recognize the needs of kids like Justin, but we very fortune because of people like you. Because of your help Justin is getting better every day and I can’t wait for him to go back to school so his teacher can see how much of progress he has made over the summer months with your help.
Thank you so much for everything you do.
God Bless you and your Families.
April 10, 2014
I’d like to sincerely thank you for awarding David a grant to pay for speech. We have seen amazing progress in a very short time! When we began the grant period, David had a 6 month span between his receptive and expressive language. Three months into the grant period, that gap has closed and his receptive and expressive skills continue to increase too! This is really a double blessing because many with special needs plateau and don’t advance so quickly. Not only has there been considerable improvement in language, but we are seeing marked advances in other areas of his life. He is beginning to read phonetically. Others are understanding him. He is becoming more self sufficient and participating better in group activities. I hear new expressions David has picked up from movies and stories such as “Hip hip hooray” and “never mind”. He is beginning to form sentences using the correct verbs in the right sequence.
The grant money has also allowed our family to “breathe” a little easier. Our health insurance continues to be expensive with no compensation for speech unless a high deductible is met. We thank you again for your generosity! It has truly been a gift. The grant not only provides financial assistance but also contributes to an individual’s chance to advance. Thank you for blessing our family!
Excerpt from follow up letter:
I wanted to share with you the wonderful sentence that David spoke a few days ago. His dad was arriving home and our flogs, KD and Sammy, were excited. He said, “Mom, KD and Sammy are excited Dad is home!” We were so excited and praised David immediately for such a wonderful sentence! He continues to improve consistently in his speech. We have waited so long for this! Thank you once again for allowing us to receive this grant!
To the Generous Team at Small Steps in Speech,
…I am the mother of one of your grant recipients. My son, Jonathan, was awarded a grant at a time that was pivotal in his speech.
As a 3 year-old, Jonathan’s preschool teacher and his pediatrician was very concerned that he wouldn’t be able to start school at 5 years old because his speech and communication skills were so delayed. We were, and continue to be, thankful for the monetary gift you provided to our family so that Jonathan could complete his course of treatment with Julie. Your generosity came at a time that was crucial in his progress. I am happy to say that he will be graduating from kindergarten next week and has done exceptionally well both on an academic and social level.
Although we know it is not an expectation, we have recently been blessed and we want to “repay” the money you provided to us with some additional funds so you may provide the gift of speech to another child in need. We know the importance this therapy holds first hand, and we would never want a child to forego treatment due to financial challenges.
Please know that we are an extraordinarily grateful family who truly benefited on so many levels from the gift of your organization.
Dear Small Steps in Speech:
I just want to thank you for awarding a grant to my son. Lucas was born with a cleft lip and palate and has undergone multiple surgeries to correct those problems. Because of his cleft his speech has also been affected and Lucas has been in and out of speech as the structure of his mouth has changed. Lucas had been seeing a private speech therapist that we loved but because of a high deductible insurance plan and my husband‘s employment ending, we decided to have Lucas take a break from speech. After several months, we started to notice that Lucas was beginning to have difficulty with new sounds, problems he had never had before, and his overall speech was becoming sloppy. I felt the need to get him back into speech therapy, but with our financial situation couldn’t do so. I decided to apply for the SSIS grant and we were fortunate enough to be recipients. Lucas is now back in speech and is making strides toward better speech and better sounds. I am so grateful for SSIS and making this possible for my son.
Frankly, it was little easier to write the application request for PROMPT therapy than this testimony, because now I have a 5 year old interrupting me with constant chatter in the background!!
What a difference PROMPT speech therapy has made in our lives! This time last year we were working on fluency with an AAC (which is now collecting dust). Today she is working on sight words, articulation, and writing. Improving Jordyn’s motor planning has not only helped intelligibility, it has spurred a language explosion. She speaks in sentences now and sings songs. I have precious videos of her singing in front of our family.
From the time we took Jordyn to her initial PROMPT evaluation – I was super impressed with the PROMPT approach. First off, our clinic only takes kids if they think they can help. As a mother, the integrity of that policy spoke volumes. About 20 minutes into the initial PROMPT evaluation, her evaluator, Ginny, prompted Jordyn for a sound, and she made the correct sound. Jordyn couldn’t do that before, and I will never forget that. I was convinced! Jordyn has oral motor planning problems and her therapist, KaraLynne, trains her how to make the correct sounds. Something different about PROMPT than other speech therapies, is her therapist always gives us “homework.” Her homework consists of fun ways to incorporate what she learned in the previous session in everyday life. What I notice, as her mother, is the synergistic effect this therapy has in conjunction with all other efforts. For example, as she gains control of movements and her speech intelligibly increases, she gains confidence and speaks more positively impacting other aspects of her improvement.
Looking back at the grant application videos, about 9 months ago, she could only answer questions in one or two words phrases. Now, she can talk about what she wants and answer questions. As she becomes more and more intelligible, her confidence increases. As her mother, one of the moments I will always remember is when Jordyn came home from school, and sang “God is so Good.” Jordyn is able to express her ideas and share her opinion.
“Small Steps in Speech” and PROMPT therapy has been life changing. Jordyn will go to kindergarten next year. She will be in a class with her typically developing peers. Although she will probably still need some speech therapy next year, she has a voice to share her feelings and ideas.
I cannot thank “Small Steps in Speech” enough for helping us obtain PROMPT therapy for Jordyn!! As her mom, please let me express my gratitude for the voice in my house distracting me from this letter. Because of this therapy, my little girl has a voice in this world. Her future is bright!
Thank you so much Small Steps in Speech for awarding Izzy with the LAMP Words for Life communication app. Having access to this app on her personal Ipad has given her the ability to use the app and communicate with her family and friends on a daily basis that she would not otherwise have. As Izzy continues to grow in her knowledge and independent use of vocabulary and grammar on this app during speech therapy, it is helping her when communication breakdowns occur in her every day life with family and friends. Her mother stated that Izzy will go to her Ipad app and try to find the words to say when others are unable to understand the message she is trying to communicate. Izzy has also learned that she is able to talk about important people or topics that are meaningful to her by being able to use these words with a touch of a button. Having access to using this communication app has improved her ability to socialize with family and friends. She is now able to use names of important people and be part of the group when talking with others. She has come so far already and has only a positive direction to go with using her LAMP Words for Life app to fully express herself. Thank you again for this grant. It is changing a life!
Words cannot describe the peace of mind that was given to me (and my family) when we received the grant from Small Steps In Speech. My son, Peyton, struggled with speech early in life and was diagnosed with Childhood Apraxia of Speech at around 2.5 years old. Insurance did not cover any therapy sessions and the cost was starting to become a burden.
With the sessions the grant was able to cover, Peyton’s speech has exploded. He is understood by family and strangers alike. Peyton is almost 5 now and to see him finally able to express himself with clear words and sentences is such a blessing. He has really started to come into his own and interact with his peers. I fully believe Peyton will be at the same level of speech and communication with other kids by the time he starts kindergarten. Not only did Small Steps in Speech give us the therapy we needed, but it also aided in giving me the tools to help Peyton continue his successful journey with speech.
Thanks so much for everything you have done for our family!
Jade (Peyton’s mom)
Dear Small Steps in Speech,
We would just like to thank you for the grant for Sierra. She has been attending speech therapy now for about two months and loves it! Her speech has improved greatly throughout these past few weeks and she is able to communicate more clearly when is talking to people. She loves to talk so she enjoys being understood.
I am so thankful to Small Steps in Speech. Every time I take her to speech therapy, I feel incredibly blessed to be a recipient of this grant.
Thank you for helping Sierra improve her speech.
Jen (Sierra’s Mom)
Our son Weston was diagnosed with Apraxia of Speech when he was 3 years old. He was completely unintelligible at the time of his diagnosis. We, with the advice from his speech therapist, made the decision to not put Weston in Pre-K during the 2014-2015 school year because we knew he was not capable of learning phonetics and did not want to add additional stress to him. With lots of hard work, Weston has had great success in Kindergarten this year. He is reading at top level in his class and excelling at all his other subjects. This success would not have been possible without the financial support of Small Steps in Speech. Thank you for investing in Weston’s future!
Just a year ago, Weston was approximately 30% intelligible to the familiar listener. Therapy consisted of targeting sounds at word level and working hard to improve motor planning difficulties secondary to a diagnosis of apraxia of speech. Weston has made significant gains since then. Today, Weston is approximately 70% intelligible to the familiar listener. Therapy consists of production of sounds in connected speech and motor planning has improved greatly. Weston’s confidence and awareness continue to improve weekly. Weston’s success comes from hard work on his part and a dedicated family who attends therapy appointments faithfully and works hard at home. Thank you Small Steps for your support of Weston and his family.
Elin (Weston’s therapist)
To Small Steps in Speech,
I can not thank you enough for the grant that you provided for my son Harmon. This grant allowed him to stay in therapy after our insurance ran out and he has made tremendous progress. He has gone from having no words a year ago to now saying up to 15 words and has become so much more social and happy from the skills he has obtained from his therapy. This grant was a huge help to Harmon and our family and made a major difference for us.
Thank you again for your kindness for our son.
Elizabeth (Harmon’s mom)
I want to express my sincere gratitude for this financial grant which will allow my child to achieve her goals in speech therapy. Currently she is excelling at speech therapy at Medley Mesaric Therapy Associates. Since she is on the autism spectrum, basic communication was very limited and not understood by others. Now she is able to communicate with basic fluency with speech staff and even the family! Previously my child was not able to communicate with any members of the family but now she is able to form full sentences.
I am truly grateful that your organization has been able to help my family connect our child to a wonderful speech therapist. Without the grant from Small Steps in Speech I would not have been able to see my child grown and excel in speech. Now she is on her way to communicating more! Again my family and I cannot thank you enough for your generous contribution.
Dear Small Steps in Speech Staff
Hello! Where to begin? How can we ever adequately express our gratitude for our very generous grant we received for Romie’s speech therapy? Learning of her Apraxia diagnosis was obviously devastating and came with a daunting sense of worry. Would she ever be able to speak intelligibly? Will she be able to get a job someday? Would she ever become so frustrated, she’d give up and no longer try to speak? Will she be bullied someday for sounding different? But on top of those worries came the overwhelming worry of how will we be able afford the therapy that she so desperately needs, that amounts to a small fortune? We were very blessed as we found an amazing speech therapist here in Denver that not only has Apraxia experience/training but also has a daughter with it. She has been an invaluable resource to us and thankfully she informed us about your amazing organization. We will never forget the feeling of receiving word that we had received our grant. We actually cried tears of joy and relief.
It is pretty overwhelming to think about the truly wonderful people out there that donate to organizations like yours that make these grants possible for people like us. It is truly heartwarming and we feel so incredibly blessed to be on the receiving end of this incredible generosity. We vow that someday when we’re back to two incomes and out of the financial woes that come with one income and speech therapy, we will give back! We will definitely want to return this generosity and help other families like us and please know that as Romie gets older, we will inform her about your organization and how you made this wonderful difference in what has been a very difficult time in our lives. We will strongly encourage her to give back someday too when she is able.
We are elated and so very proud to report that Romie has made and continues to make amazing progress thanks to her intensive speech therapy. She still has a very long road ahead of her with learning to pronounce words and sounds correctly and she still really struggles with using correct language BUT she is much easier to understand. While it is still a habit of ours to interpret for her when speaking to unfamiliar listeners, we are finding it more and more unnecessary as she is getting that much more intelligible! She is able to carry on a conversation with us and that has given us more joy than words can express. She was able to tell us about a dream she had recently about seeing Cinderella and getting a hug and kiss from her! She frequently tells us what she wants for her 4th birthday and even her 5th! She can tell us in simple terms what she is learning at school. None of this would be possible if it wasn’t for her amazing speech therapist, Laura Smith. And Laura Smith wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for people like you! You guys are literally helping to give our daughter a voice! How can we ever express the gratitude we feel? Please just know that we feel so much joy, relief and gratitude. I have tears in my eyes now as I think about it. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! We are eternally grateful!
Katie, Martin, Romie & Baby Ryan
Small Steps In Speech,
We want to say “THANK YOU” from the bottom of our hearts for awarding us with the Small Steps in Speech Grant. Over the course of the last few months we have heard “NO” many times and quite frankly our faith was beginning to waver. We are tirelessly seeking out any and all opportunities to further Kinley’s development. We have applied for numerous grants, appeals, federal programs, state programs and various forms of assistance to no avail. Your grant was our 1st success story.
We wanted to send you a family photo so that you could personally see the family that your generosity will so greatly benefit. Kinley is a happy, loving, healthy 2 1/2 year old. She loves books, puzzles, Dora and her family. It is our hope that through our hard work and generous people like you that Kinley will one day reach the potential that life holds for her.
It is with the deepest appreciation that we thank you for your act of kindness. It will not be forgotten.
Kyle, April & Kinley
Dear Small Steps in Speech,
Our family will forever be thankful for the speech therapy grant we received for our three year old son Graham. In May of 2015 we took Graham to Pittsburgh for an evaluation with David Hammer. At that time he was diagnosed with moderate to severe childhood apraxia of speech. He had been in speech therapy for over a year at that point and was making no progress. He had a handful of words and signs he used for communication. After his evaluation, David Hammer helped get us set up with one of CASANA’s Apraxia boot camp therapists Pam H. What a blessing she has been to our family. Immediately she began seeing Graham three times a week for thirty minutes of individual therapy. We have good insurance but it only covers 20 speech visits a year at 80%. The cost of therapy was quickly adding up but Graham was finally starting to make progress and we were determined to do whatever we could to help him. That is where the Small Steps in Speech grant came in to help us! Our grant provided 20 sessions about six weeks of speech and took a large financial burden off of our family! It not only provided financial help but also hope that with the right therapy Graham would be able to find his voice. I am so excited to report that since our grant began in January, Graham has had an explosion of speech! His vocabulary has expanded, he is now speaking in 5-8 word sentences and his intelligibility has improved significantly! With his speech has also come self-confidence and he is making friends and starting to talk to people he comes in contact with on a daily basis. Thank you Small Steps in Speech for helping us make sure that Graham was able to receive the speech therapy he desperately needed! Graham’s future is bright and we owe a part of that to you!
Lance, Holly and Graham B.
Gretchen is a 4 1/2 year old and was diagnosed with Childhood Apraxia of Speech when she was 2 1/2. At the time she had around 5 sounds and was in the process of learning some signs to make communication easier. She was very frustrated but also very smart. She knew what she wanted and would figure out how to get it without having to talk. Since Apraxia only affects the muscles of her mouth, tongue and jaw and not anything cognitive she understands EVERYTHING! But when she is not able to effectively express herself it has lead to some very frustrating times. We were in conventional speech therapy at this time and didn’t realize that was another type of speech therapy that could possibly help her more effectively. It was called P.R.O.M.P.T. speech therapy. P.R.O.M.P.T. stands for Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets. With this therapy the therapist uses touch cues to the patient’s articulators to manually guide them through a targeted word. We thought this was actually what Gretchen needed but the therapy was not covered by insurance and we would need to figure out how to pay for it. The Small Steps in Speech grant was instrumental in allowing Gretchen to receive this therapy. With this grant she was able to receive this therapy 1 or 2, sometimes 3 times per week for 11 weeks. This had made a noticeable difference in her talking and communicating. She is not only attempting more words and sentences but she is more understandable to the people that are around her all the time. Because of this she is also less frustrated. She also is attempting to say her name, which admittedly is a VERY difficult name to say with her diagnosis. I am not sure that a stranger would understand her saying her name but her family does and we are SO thankful!
Gretchen has a long way to go with learning to conquer Apraxia but with the help of the SSIS grant she most definitely is making Small (HUGE) Steps in her Speech!
Dear Small Steps in Speech Board of Directors,
Thank you for the grant. I really appreciate it. It has help my daughter’s speech improve from what it was eight months ago. My insurance limits the number of speech therapy sessions, and without this grant my daughter would not have been able to continue with speech therapy. Working with her therapist, my daughter has been able to produce new sounds and become more consistent with the sounds she knows. I have seen a lot of progress with her speech. I know that without the grant, my daughter would not have progressed as far as she has.
Again, thank you Small Steps in Speech. May God Bless this wonderful organization!
Candice (Holly’s mom)
Dear Small Steps in Speech,
My son, Adam, was a recipient of a grant to help cover the cost of his speech therapy. Adam began speech therapy at Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center at the age of 13 months. It was a very slow process. We had great therapists who were very experienced. They found great ways to help us communicate with Adam, and at 2 ½ years old helped start us on our way to using an Augmentive Communication Device so we could understand Adam’s wants and needs. We also began using sign language to help boost Adam’s language skills and our understanding of his wants and needs.
When Adam was four years old one of his trusted speech therapists gave us devastating news. She told us in the kindest, gentlest way possible that she was afraid she had exhausted all of her skills in working with Adam. She was the most highly trained person at the large hospital to work with Adam, but she felt that we were wasting Adam’s precious time to continue with her. She advised us to seek out a PROMPT therapist. Adam used American Sign Language in short sentences to communicate, but the only sound he could make was “Ny-Ny” and “Mama”. Other than those sounds he was silent and he would only use his sounds with a great deal of encouragement and effort.
I set out immediately researching PROMPT and found we were lucky enough to have a very good PROMPT therapist within driving distance of our home. However, our insurance would not cover the therapy because she was not in-network. We felt desperate so we went ahead and scheduled an evaluation. In the two hours we were there just for the evaluation I could tell PROMPT was going to be the answer to our prayers. We began treatment immediately and began hearing actual sounds from Adam that we had never heard before. He has continued PROMPT and continued to make steady progress gaining the ability to produce more sounds which eventually turned into syllables and now words. Last year at the age of 6 Adam began speaking out loud in sentences. This year we have discovered with great delight that many times strangers such as waitresses and other parents at the park will understand Adam and respond back appropriately. In fact he even ordered his own meal at a local restaurant this week. Adam has come further than I ever imagined. There was a point that I worried he would never speak. Now I know he will, because he is. He still has a long road ahead of him as he is learning each individual sound and how to connect different sounds together accurately.
We owe so much thanks and gratitude to Small Steps in Speech for supporting Adam’s progress. It is difficult to manage all of the therapy alone and when you add in the insurance complication and denials is can sometimes seem like too much to handle. It was a weight lifted off my shoulders when we received the letter indicating that Adam was a grant recipient. Thank you SSIS so very much for helping Adam find his voice!
In addition, it was through the SSIS grant program that I became aware of CASANA. Although Adam was diagnosed with Apraxia early on, we had not connected with CASANA until we found SSIS. Adam has so many other medical diagnosis taking my time and research that I had overlooked what a wonderful resource CASANA could be. Since then our family has become very involved in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Walk for Children with Apraxia. This year I am a member of the planning committee for the walk which I am very excited about. This opportunity has allowed me to connect with other local parents who are traveling down the same road we are with their child(ren). This connection is more valuable than words can express.
Thank you Small Steps in Speech for all that you are doing. You are truly making a difference!
Molly (Adam’s mom)
Thank you so much for allowing my son, Cole, to receive additional speech therapy. He was chosen for a SSIS grant in Fall 2015. At that time, he had very few sounds and no spoken words. Since then, he has definitely found his voice. He has improved so much with the help of this additional speech therapy. Thank you to your entire organization for helping children like Cole!
Sarah (Cole’s mom)
Dear Small Steps in Speech,
We are writing to thank you for the opportunity that your grant provided for our son, Zachary. Not only did this grant honor the memory of Staff Sgt Marc J. Small, it allowed our son to attend a speech/social skills therapy group that was not covered by our insurance. This “Friendship Group” included conversing about many topics, books, short videos and worked to improve speech through crafts and play. Zachary is on the autism spectrum and struggles with ADHD so the one on one and group focus on his speech, table work skills and play skills was key. We have definitely seen progress in several areas including his ability to converse more clearly using full sentences, as well as improve on his ability to participate in group activities, stay on task and ask friends to play. As we entered the clinic each week, it was great to see him talkative and happy as he walked down the hall toward the room where he would join his friends and practice these skills. We saw some of these skills carry over into his regular kindergarten school day!
Zachary still has a lot of work to do as he will enter first grade in a few weeks but we are very proud of the progress he has made and are thankful for his attendance at the therapy group. It was such a relief not to have a financial burden as we seek to give our son what he needs to help him shine! Thank you for playing a vital role this past school year in Zachary’s growth!
Joe and Tisha (Zachary’s parents)
Dear Board Members,
I received a generous grant for speech and language sessions for my son Tyler. Tyler is a non-verbal child that communicates primarily with an iPad using the app Proloquo2go. He is diagnosed with several autism and apraxia.
I would like to update you on Tyler’s progress. He is making huge progress in his speech sessions. He has begun to string sentences together on his iPad, such as “I want ____ please”. He has started to form two words together vocally. He is indicating “yes” or “no” for something he is asked. He is labeling actions on his iPad when shown different actions. He is labeling body parts, which will help in the future for him to tell me what part of his body is hurting him. He has even said “good” once or twice when asked “how are you?” The programming is his Proloquo2go app is being added to constantly, allowing him to learn more speech. Tyler’s overall approximation of words is expanding for him each day.
The speech therapy being at home has been such a lifesaver. The therapist is able to use his natural environment to promote his vocal words, which Tyler works better for someone in this setting. For example when he is on the swing he has said the words “go up”. He is more relaxed at home and willing to work and connect to his therapist. In addition, Tyler’s maladaptive behaviors continue to decrease because he feels he can communicate his needs.
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. With your help it has allowed Tyler to continue his speech therapy and progress. I know it’s going to take a long time for him but just as the name of your company says “small steps”.
Tracy (Tyler’s mom)
Ethan was diagnosed with autism when he was 4 years old. At that time he was unable to express himself and would only echo others’ speech. All I wanted was to hear how his day went at school. Now four years later, after much ABA and speech therapy, Ethan is not only able to tell me about his day but he now expresses his dreams of becoming a movie director. He can look deeply into my eyes and tell me he loves me. Now he can hilarious jokes that crack up the whole room. As he was able to express himself more and more, I watched his tantrums dwindle. I am so grateful to every professional along the way that gave Ethan a chance and believed in him.
We have made so much progress, but we are still far from our final goals. Ethan still struggles with expressing himself properly. Past, present and future tense are difficult. Before and after concepts are foreign and he’s often misunderstood by his peers.
I have been continuing his much needed speech therapy out of pocket after our insurance denied our claims. In reading the insurance handbook I found out that “developmental disabilities” are exclusion criteria for Speech, Physical or Occupational Therapy. I was frustrated to tears. It has been a financial burden but we have done what’s needed for our son. That’s why I am so grateful to Small Steps in Speech for this grant opportunity. We have six months to breathe. To not worry about how we will pay for this essential therapy. Words cannot properly express our gratitude for this tremendous gift. Thank you to everyone at SSIS for your dedication to this future generation. What you do makes a difference.
To Whom It May Concern:
I wanted to take this time to thank you. Over 2 years ago our son was diagnosed with ASD. He had no communication skills including receptive language.
Over the years of various therapy schooling etc. we saw some progress but not to the level we had hoped…and then we found Speech-in-Motion! Unfortunately the price was out of our budget. And then we discovered Small Steps in Speech. Your organization was able to make this unique therapy possible. Tina Rocco of Speech-in-Motion was like finding the missing piece to our son’s therapy. Brody has never bonded with a therapist so quickly nor have we seen such progress in such a short amount of time. In just the few months he has been working with Tina we have noticed huge progress.
For the first time in a long time we feel hope, hope that someday we will be able to have a conversation with our son.
There are no real words that can describe our gratitude. Thank you for all you do.
Robyn (Brody’s mom)
Dear Small Steps in Speech:
Organizations like yours are such a blessing for children that need therapies to help them communicate with everyone around them. We want to thank you for your assistance for helping our daughter with her speech therapies. Sophia has Down Syndrome, which already presents speech challenges. Your assistance came during a much needed time, as she had other health issues with her vocal cords that caused her speech to regress. Through your help, Sophia has gone from close to non-verbal to expressing herself using her words and imitating others.
Unfortunately speech therapy is not covered by many insurance companies and Small Steps in Speech helps so much to fill this gap in coverage with their generosity.
Thanks from the bottom of our hearts,
Brian, Valeria & Sophia
“We are so thankful to have received a grant for Chase through Small Steps in Speech. Every week when I ring the door bell, I hear the pitter-patter of Chase’s little feet running to greet me with a big, bright smile. Together, Chase and I work on reading stories, making predictions, answering basic questions and sharing our thoughts and ideas. Chase works very hard to practice his “speech sounds” and is always excited to show me his progress week to week. This sweet boy has a lot to say and I’m so happy that this grant helped to give him a voice. I feel so lucky to have met Chase and his loving family and am so grateful that they were able to receive this grant to fund speech therapy services. He has incredible potential and a strong desire to learn. Chase continues to amaze me with all of his progress and reminds me why I love being a speech-language pathologist. Thank you Small Steps for everything that you do; you are making a huge difference in the lives of incredibly special children.