Thursday, July 16, 2015

Students Benefit From Speech-Language Therapy at St. Cecilia

In 2012, speech-language pathologists from the Center for Hearing & Speech created a therapy program at St. Cecilia School and Academy in the Carondelet neighborhood of St. Louis. The program was based upon a similar pre-literacy language piloted at Hilltop Childhood Development Center from 2010-2013. This program had a successful blueprint already in place to springboard with ease into St. Cecilia’s.

The number of children enrolled in this program increased to 14 in the 2014-2015 school year and Center pathologists estimate the number of children enrolled in speech/language therapy in the 2015-2016 school year to remain at 14 children who will require ongoing or new therapy. Students in the program range in age from five to 10 years. They all reside in St. Louis City around the school and receive financial assistance provided by the Center.

Two of these students are Ervin and Roberto, who, at the beginning of last year, struggled to meet any pre-requisite skills for learning to read, write and spell.

When Ervin first entered the program it was difficult for him to read short words in print and to create new words using a variety of letter combinations. During the Language-to-Literacy program, he learned to associate written letters to the sounds they produced and increased his reading skills significantly.

Roberto had difficulty perceiving the differences between the ending sounds of words, which made the very important literacy skill of rhyming much more difficult for him.  Upon exiting the program he was able identify the ending sounds of words and create some his own rhyming words.

One of the biggest positive changes for both boys, noted at the end of the school year, was their increase in confidence and their willingness to participate and more challenging academic activities.

Joe Kilmade, Principal at St. Cecilia’s, is thrilled with the assistance and outcome of the program. “The Center for Hearing & Speech provides critical and timely intervention for students at St. Cecilia. Dozens of students have benefited from a variety of screening and therapy services. This invaluable support empowers students by building confidence and teaching skills necessary to find success inside and outside the classroom. St. Cecilia is grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Center; we hope our relationship continues for many years to come!”

In 2005 St. Cecilia’s was designated the official church for Catholic Latinos in St. Louis. Because of the large population of Latino children in the school, the Center has worked with 10 students in the pre-literacy program that were unable to communicate at an age-appropriate level in either English or Spanish.

The Center looks forward to the upcoming year working with St. Cecilia’s and seeing the great things the program will bring for years to come.

Speech-Language therapy appointments can be made at the Center for Hearing and Speech by calling 314-968-4710.

The Center for Hearing & Speech is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization that has donated $1.75 million in speech/language, school screening and audiology services every year to residents of metropolitan St. Louis and surrounding communities.  It is a proud member of the United Way of Greater St. Louis and was awarded the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) 2014 TORCH Award. The award is given to charities and businesses that “demonstrate a commitment to customer service through exceptional standards for ethical business practices,” according to the BBB.


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