Hear-Say Spotlight

April 2024 Edition

DB+

By:  Susan Antonellis,
Editor in Chief

Extraordinary according to the dictionary means unusual, remarkable, outstanding, astonishing. I am sure we all know someone that can be described with at least one of those adjectives. Someone can have an unusual personality or perform outstanding things. However, why can’t we all be considered extraordinary being ourselves. We should strive to excel, be special and do something out of the “ORDINARY.” What if we made that “norm”, “usual”, “status quo.” This issue and all our Hear-say Spotlight issues this year will feature special people—not necessarily ordinary or extraordinary, but just special.
Eventually—lets strive for SPECIAL to be ordinary. Enjoy the read. Don’t forget to exhibit your creativity and unusual skills—our Poster Contest is upon us-check our website for details. It is a favorite during National Speech-Language-Hearing Month. Happy Spring to all.

HEAR-SAY Editor in Chief – Susan Antonellis
     Design and Layout – Pat Luft
             Contributors for this edition – Jennifer Mensch
Next Edition: May 2024
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By: Jennifer Mensch, LISHA Assistant Registrar

They say it takes a village to raise a child and for my son Thomas that could not be truer. Born in 1996, the first year of Thomas’s life was both joyful and challenging. He developed physically at the usual pace; however he was delayed in other areas.  He could not maintain eye contact, he often drooled beyond what was typical for his age and had difficulty using both hands in unison. However, the most distressing behavior was his silence.  Unsure where to turn, a friend urgently directed us to the Early Intervention Program.  After a flurry of evaluations, Thomas was given 10 hours of weekly home sessions for Speech Therapy, Special Education training, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Psychological services. And so began our family’s journey with Autism. In the late 1990s, Autism was not as well-known and understood as it is today and there was much to be learned by both Thomas and our family alike. Through the years that followed we worked diligently with dedicated teachers, teaching assistants, speech therapists, physical therapists, psychologists, doctors, and coaches. Together, with his devoted family and friends, Thomas was able to thrive and reach his fullest potential. He developed phenomenal communication skills, excelled in art, graduated high school, was travel trained and secured employment. He also joined the Special Olympic Swim Team and has been a proud member for nearly 20 years. In 2022 Thomas was chosen to represent New York at the USA Special Olympic Summer Games in Orlando, Florida. On June 5, 2022, the boy who used to close his eyes and plug his ears when in large crowds joyfully entered a stadium waving and smiling. At the competition he shattered his personal best time records winning a Gold and a Silver medal in the process. However, the real victory was that he could enter the stadium, aquatic center and award ceremony with his head held high, confident and proud. It really does take a village to raise a child, and we are thankful to all those who supported and encouraged Thomas along his journey!

       Nothing to Cure

Me:   Hey God.
God:   Hey John.
Me:   Cure autism.
God:   No.
Me:  Why?
God:   There is nothing to cure.
Me:   HUH?
God:   Autistic people aren’t broken. They aren’t sick. They are just people singing a beautiful song with lyrics that are foreign to you.
Me:   But sometimes I don’t                  understand what song my son                            is singing.
God:   That’s okay. Forget the lyrics and just sit back and enjoy the melody.
Me:   I don’t like to see him struggle.
God:   All flowers struggle just before they blossom.
Me:   If you can’t cure autism, what will you do?
God:   I’ll have you help me cure something else.
Me:   What’s that?
God:   Ignorance.

“Different, Not Less” by Temple Grandin: Temple Grandin, a renowned autism advocate and professor, penned this powerful poem. It challenges society’s preconceived notions about autism, emphasizing that while individuals on the spectrum may perceive the world differently, they possess unique strengths and talents:

Different, Not Less I’m not like you, and that’s okay, my mind works in a different way. Sometimes I struggle, sometimes I thrive, But in my heart, I’m truly alive. I see the world through different eyes, colors, and sounds, they mesmerize. A world of patterns, details, and more, A symphony that others often ignore. I may not speak your language well, but my thoughts and dreams, they surely tell of a passion burning deep inside, A spirit you cannot deny. So, embrace my differences, don’t cast me away, for in my uniqueness, I proudly say That though I may be different, not like the rest, I am not less, I am simply blessed.

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EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS:  MORE THAN JUST ATTENTION!
Presenter: Tera Sumpter, M.A., CCC-SLP, is the founder of Seeds of Learning, LLC, a private practice with offices in Lakewood and Independence, Ohio, which specializes in executive function, reading, and other pediatric learning disabilities.

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