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FLASHA Foundation On

 

Our Mission:

To promote research, education and quality of practice in speech, language, voice, swallowing, cognitive, hearing, balance and related disorders across the lifespan through charitable contributions.

A FACE WITH MANY STORIES

CHARLIE’S STORY:

Charlie is one of our patients at FH Sports Medicine and Rehab in Orlando. He suffered a cerebellar CVA, he uses an electric wheelchair and has to communicate his needs through an electronic device. As you might imagine, Charlie’s family struggles financially since Charlie can’t work and his wife can’t either as she needs to care for him. One afternoon in therapy, I asked him what he would do if he could choose the "perfect day." He typed in his device that he had not been to Disney for years and would like to spend the day there with his wife and daughters. When he finished typing, he sat and cried. This dream would never come true for Charlie; he knew it was just too expensive. Well, I shared Charlie's dream with our staff. Everyone got involved raising money to surprise him with his “dream day.” Funds were raised to buy Disney tickets for the family. There was enough leftover to give them spending money and a massage for Charlie’s wife. When Charlie heard about the gifts, he cried and cried with joy. I felt blessed to be able to help Charlie communicate his dream and see it come true.

Diane Krygier, CCC/SLP, Florida Hospital, Orlando.

A LITTLE GIRL WITH A SMILE:

I remember a young girl that brought tears to my eyes, although that happened a thousand times, when she was able to smile again. She had had only half side of her face working since she was three months old. She could only do a half of a smile, only half of her face would move to speak, only one eye would close and cry. I worked with her for a short time, but soon determined that her facial nerve had no potential of improvement. She went for surgery to have a nerve graft. When the surgeon said she was ready she can back so she could “learn” how to use her face, her lips, her eye and forehead for the first time. She was ten years old at that time, she was going into a period of her life where being able to smile and to fit in was important. She was faithful doing home exercises, so faithful that she started moving her lips and she didn’t tell anyone. One day she laughed in the office and I saw her weak side smiling!! I was hysterical, I called mom to see, as we were laughing and crying the little girl said: “I knew that, I have seen it before.” That was when I realized that she was scared, smiling was new to her. After she saw our happiness and joy she saw that it was good and she could show it to everyone.

Celia Santini, PhD, CCC/SLP, Florida Hospital, Orlando and FLASHA Foundation Board Member.

YOU HAD TO TEACH MY CHILD TO TALK!

I am rewarded each and every day by the successes of my patients and the pride a parent displays at their child’s progress. We do not need a “thank you” to feel great about what we do; however, when you do receive some form of gratitude you are reminded of why you have chosen this profession; plus, it sure does make you smile.

I am sure I am not the only Speech-Language Pathologist who has had a parent say, half jokingly, “You had to teach my child to talk. Now he won’t stop talking and TALKING BACK too!” Undoubtedly the best feeling is when you receive a “thank you” directly from the child. One young child wrote to me “Thank you for teaching me how to talk and how to make friends in school. I asked 2 friends to come over to play and they said YES!”

The power of communication is truly amazing!

Stacie Rubin Smith, M.S., CCC-SLP
Therapy Manager, South Miami Hospital Child Development Center and Department of Rehabilitation Services
FLASHA Foundation Board Member

BREAKING A COMMUNICATION BARRIER

Mr. R was 68 years old when he had a stroke that left him completely paralyzed and nonverbal. I evaluated him using adapted measures and discovered that he could absolutely read, spell and write sentences. At that time it was hard to get funding, but his wife managed to get funding for a computer. He had minimal intentional movement in his palm and minor movement of his thumb. We developed a switch that was effective for him to use for communication. Mr. R became very proficient on his laptop and was able to tell his wife things that were happening with care takers that she was not aware. We had broken the barrier of communication for him. Yeah!

But the funniest story was when five of us women (OT, PT and ST) were working with him on the mat and he got into a hysterical laughter. l asked him what was so funny and he typed: “This is great, I have five women working on me!” and he gave all of us a cute smile and continued to laugh as we all joined him in laughter. It was such a good feeling to know that we were able to break his communication barrier. I love my profession, it is so rewarding!!!

Liz Cruise, CCC/SLP Palm Beach Gardens, FL

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