After graduating with a degree in liberal arts, I took on a job across the country as a live-in nanny for a family with four boys. At the time, they were 14, 12, 6, and 4 years-old. The 4 year-old, Jake, had a repaired cleft lip and palate, and he had significant speech errors. I didn’t realize how much help I was getting from his family until my third day, when Jake and I were alone for the first time. He started saying, “Lee cah!”  I had no idea what he was saying but he kept repeating it and was expecting a response from me.  Guessing wasn’t working and he really didn’t like when I pretended to understand him. After five (very long) minutes, he ran upstairs to show me what he was talking about: a police car. He found a toy car to show me that he saw a police car going by the house.

I took Jake to his preschool program at Arizona State and speech at his local elementary school. We practiced articulation cards at home.  I saw the difference that improvements in his speech made for him socially and with his behavior and was hooked. I applied to graduate schools that spring and that was all I wrote!

Posted by: Mary, Speech-Language Pathologist

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