Karen is an exuberant five-year-old who loves playing with her friends. Every little girl dreams of being a princess someday and Karen is no exception. She loves watching princess cartoons and imagines herself as a member of the royal family. Karen lives with her two parents who have supported her throughout her life.
When she was born, her parents noticed an odd marking on her lip. After the doctors told them to ignore it, her parents paid little attention to it until it began to grow. They quickly took her back to the doctors where they identified the lump as a tumor that needed to be removed.
“When Karen was born, the doctors told us it was a birth mark that would most likely disappear while growing up, but instead it became a small lump. We took her to a specialist who told us it was a tumor. Hearing the word tumor is frightening in itself, but it being in regards to my child, I was absolutely terrified.” – Karen’s Mother
Karen’s tumor required two major surgeries before it was completely removed. This was a lot for a little girl to handle, physically and emotionally. Thankfully the whole tumor was removed, but unfortunately it left her mouth severely physically damaged. This made it hard for Karen to move her mouth and lips, which inhibited her from speaking correctly. Her condition was so specialized that traditional speech therapy techniques provided little to no help. Karen’s doctor had heard of the CompleteSpeech clinic and F.A.S.T. He knew about the unique speech therapy technology offered and highly recommend Karen apply for the sponsorship.
“I knew Karen wasn’t receiving the language help she needed here. I’d heard of the SmartPalate system and knew that would be a better option for Karen’s condition. I also am aware of how expensive this process is for her parents, so the sponsorship is exactly what they needed.” – Karen’s Surgeon
When Karen and her family came to the CompleteSpeech clinic, it was apparent they were in great need of help. In 2016 Karen was selected for a speech therapy sponsorship provided by F.A.S.T. During her initial evaluation, the therapist observed that Karen could only pronounce a few sounds and had difficulty understanding others speech. Karen is working as hard as she can, and slowly but surely, her progress is increasing.
“Working with Karen has not been easy, but after some hard work, she now understands what I’m saying. I know that the rest of the treatment process we have planned for her has the potential to really improve her communication.” – Carla, CompleteSpeech Therapist
Karen is now able to follow instructions and can respond to people by using signs. Although this isn’t improvement on her verbal speech, it shows she can understand the speech of others. She even tries singing to her parents, which is a huge step in the right direction. There’s still a long way to go, but with patience, hard work, motivation, and the help of sponsors, we know Karen will achieve great things.