When you first meet Ethan, a recent graduate of the Columbus Speech & Hearing TLC Preschool program, he will march right up to you and tell you exactly what he wants, whether it’s a bottle of water, some raisins, a snuggle with his sister Leah or to borrow a toy from his older brother, Avner. But Ethan’s life wasn’t always so simple and straightforward. At the age of 2, Ethan still spoke in grunts and gestures and still had yet to utter the words “mommy” or “daddy.” His parents knew to bring him to Columbus Speech & Hearing to be evaluated because as the third child, they knew this was much more than a sibling late-talker issue: Ethan’s older brother and sister had both experienced speech and language delays and this time, they were going to get Ethan the help he needed as early as possible. After Ethan was evaluated and identified with a speech delay, he was paired with a speech therapist and was also enrolled him in one of the Center’s preschool programs. Ethan’s mother lights up when she talk about their time in TLC. “Ms. Stacey and Ms. Lori are two of the most phenomenal teachers that I have ever met. They take their jobs very seriously and they speak to these children as if they are adults, and as a result, Ethan’s manners and his resulting independence are remarkable. They focus on doing everything right. They don’t let a single child fall behind in his or her goals. Ethan has learned to say what he wants and needs. He has been given the tools to step forward and he just beams.” Ms. Stacey, one of his teachers, agrees. “When Ethan began in TLC, his bright ideas and thoughts were in his head, but he was so frustrated because he didn’t have a way to express himself other than in gestures and behavior. By the end of the schoolyear, rather than throwing a toy, it was a joy to watch him say to a friend, “Do you want to play with me?” This fall, Ethan will celebrate two milestones: he will turn three years old and will begin attending school with his brother and sister with no additional supports.
*First Published in Columbus Speech & Hearing’s 2012 Annual Report