PART 2: “Making an Impact in the Midst of a Pandemic”
Dear Variety Friends,
100 KIDS HAVE RECEIVED THEIR NEW VOICES!
In the midst of the pandemic, Variety has provided 100 communication devices (so far) to kids who are nonverbal or have a communication disorder through our special delivery process!
Check out some of the highlights so far, and share in what a communication device means for the kids and their families.
Kozmo, age 5 from Dauphin County:
After delivering Kozmo’s new voice to him, Karen, his Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) from the Capital Area Intermediate Unit told us,
“He had been using 80-85 words on a device at school, so when he saw HIS words on his device, he started jumping up and down with joy, as dad showed it to him for the first time. You can’t see it, but he has a big smile underneath his mask.”
Karen also noted, “What if you couldn’t talk anywhere you went throughout your day and could only point to things? Communication is everything. Every parent wants to communicate with their child.”
After receiving the device, the family went straight home, where Kozmo started to use it right away, saying, “Mom, grandma, and cookie.”
Kozmo’s mom called the device “a God-send in the midst of the pandemic,” as she can move from a mind reader to truly knowing what her child likes. For example, she recently learned that Kozmo likes blueberries through device!
Emmanuel, age 6 from Westmoreland County:
Margaret, Emmanuel’s SLP from the Allegheny Intermediate Unit 3 was thrilled to deliver his new communication device to the family’s home!
Emmanuel’s family later wrote saying, “He loves his device! I am so excited to see how he will grow with it.” Margaret has already received multiple videos of him talking about all of his favorite animals using his new voice!
Levi, age 4 from Dauphin County:
His SLP Kate (from the Capital Area Intermediate Unit) explained how much the device meant to him in school, “Levi picked up using a communication device (with LAMP) in the classroom, and every day, he used the device to ask for a hug! He’s just SO excited to communicate.”
Before he received his device, Levi’s grandmother, Sharia told us, “I can’t wait to see his face light up when he uses it!”
Then, we received another message from Sharia after Levi got his new voice, “He was very excited to connect with something familiar and supportive from his physical school setting. ‘Go get your words’ and ‘Use your voice’ are becoming welcome phrases at home, and our family can’t adequately express in words our gratitude.”
Maci, age 8 from Dauphin County:
Maci also received her communication device during the pandemic. Her mom, Lindsey helped her make this incredible sign as a thanks. If the sign wasn’t enough to make us feel the love, Lindsey and Pam (Maci’s SLP from Upper Dauphin Area School District) wrote this beautiful poem,
To give the gift of a voice
The gift to be heard
The gift to say my choice
The power of a word
Now I don’t have to wait
I have the power to participate
A chance for others to see
The special person that is in me.
It’s exciting to say that a majority of our families receiving devices during the pandemic plan to have virtual therapy sessions and/or trainings with the child’s Speech Language Pathologist (SLP)!
Thank you for sharing in our joy and celebrating these extraordinary kids!
Take good care,
Charles P. LaVallee
Chief Executive Officer
Variety – the Children’s Charity