What? We can’t hear you! Speak Up!

This summer our Speech & Language program worked hard on giving participants their voices so that others can hear them and also break down the barriers of communicating personal wants and needs.

The Amina Grace Speech and Language program partners with GiGi’s Playhouse nationwide including right here in the Quad Cities. The parents of Amina Grace saw how difficult communication was for their daughter and decided to begin a memorial fund to help other people with Down syndrome get the resources they need. This Amina Grace Memorial Fund helps many playhouses provide this much-needed therapy to their families, as always, free of charge. 

This summer at GiGi’s Playhouse Quad Cities the Amina Grace Foundation and program has really made an impact.  In all sorts of ways!  We had two participants meet all their goals, and many of the rest met at least half of their goals.  

The thing that stood out to me this summer was participants were reaching best of all’s in so many different aspects of speech and language. 

Two participants were working with tablet-based AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) devices. Each student left the summer session being able to use them as their voice in requesting wants and needs in the form of 2-word phrases by navigating the use of 2 or more buttons in the program.  

Two participants were working on low-tech communication boards to express wants and needs. Families find it so satisfying to be able to know what your toddler wants without having to play 20 questions! Both girls did their best of all by being able to choose the desired photo/item from a field of 2!  I can’t wait to bump this up and offer more choices on one board. 

Two more participants had Voice goals.  I rarely have voice goals here at GiGi’s Playhouse as receptive and expressive language, and articulation are what are most desired from families. However, volume was a need for two young women.  Being able to be heard is always the goal for speech/therapy but this time literally hearing the speaker’s voice was the goal!  Best of all for one was to be heard up to 3 feet from the listener.  And the other was originally barely heard from 2-3 inches away and now she is up to 10-12 inches! 

Many goals are based on receptive (how you process what you hear) and expressive (how you output what you want to say) language and overall spoken speech clarity.  All kinds of these skills were addressed, and everyone made progress giving their best of all. 

Social communication and reduction of stuttering also had their turn this summer.  It is amazing how many aspects of language the Amina Grace program touches in the lives of our families.  And the BEST OF ALL personally was knowing that each and every speech participant would head out into the fall having their voices heard –no matter how they use them. 

Submitted by Ms Ann, GiGi’s Playhouse Speech & Language Pathologist

Read more about this program on our website linked here.

It is offered 3 times a year (spring, summer, and fall).

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