I Believe in the Wonder of Childhood

Elvy - Lansing, Michigan
Entered on September 8, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65

I Believe in the Wonder of Childhood

As a speech-language pathologist working with young children, my goal is to assist them in becoming effective communicators.

For most children learning to communicate is effortless, but for those I serve, it can be a struggle. How daunting for them and me when the sounds that spill from their mouths are not understood, the words that meet their ears do not make sense to them, their attempts to speak are not smooth, or their world experiences are limited. Sometimes it is necessary to augment their communication attempts with other systems, such as pictures, signs, or technology.

In many of these children, I see curiosity brimming, and wonder exploding to find out what’s in my bag or box, eager to know what we’re going to do today. As I enter their world of play and get to know each little person, I watch for cues to determine how best to shape our encounters.

I believe in the wonder of childhood!

I see them differently when I discover the stories that have shaped their lives…stories that often tell of dealing with stressful or traumatic situations. I yearn to do more than engage them in therapy sessions, but I’m limited by my own life challenges.

How exhilarating when they understand a concept, say a new word, share a novel idea or sentence, or follow the storyline of a picture book. What a profound privilege to facilitate this process!

I believe in the wonder of childhood!

One eventful day, Philip and Sharon, students with downs syndrome, sensed my need for help when I was nine months pregnant, and couldn’t get up off the floor of the therapy room in which we were working. Sharon said, “Help you, Miss Elvy?” They both reached their hands out to me. I smiled sheepishly and said, “Yes, please!” They recognized my need and we connected. No complete sentence was required!

This past school year was my second year of therapy with Amy. When we first started working together, her speech was extremely difficult to understand and her verbal language was limited to single words and two-word phrases. By the end of the school year, Amy’s speech was greatly improved and she was talking up a storm… sharing, explaining, describing. Wow! She had made so much progress that her mother and father were wondering how to get her to talk less!

I believe in the wonder of childhood!

Over the course of my career, I have learned to keep flexibility in my therapy plans, which allow the children to lead. This promotes good outcomes and keeps them engaged. Moreover, I’ve also learned that their worldview can bring a fresh outlook, which enhances the communication objectives selected for them, as well as our time together.

Finally, as I embrace more of the simplicity of their way of processing the world,

the Wonder of Childhood connects with my adult point of view, as we learn and grow together.