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For Immediate Release

Easterseals Celebrates Better Hearing and Speech Month

May 2, 2022

Sloane and mom“Big things come in small packages” is a phrase that comes to mind when three-year-old Sloane Rhoades, of Wilmington, enters the room. She may be small due to her disability but she has a big spirit and a bigger voice thanks to Easterseals speech and feeding therapy services.
 
“Sloane has come a long way. Easterseals has done so much to help her. I wouldn’t have known what to do without them,” Sloane’s mom, Leanne Matikonis, says. “Sloane gets stronger every day. She is tiny but amazing!”
 
When Sloane was born at only three pounds, Leanne and her husband Brandon Rhoades were most concerned about her gaining weight. Easterseals feeding therapy helped the family navigate what was best for Sloane and continue to help in this area as she is introduced to new foods.
 
“Feeding was definitely the focus at the beginning because I was very anxious about her gaining weight. Getting her to eat anything by mouth was a success,” Leanne says. “The therapists aren’t just here for her. They are here for me too.”
 
May is Better Hearing and Speech month, which seeks to create awareness of communication disorders and the importance of treatment to improve quality of life. Although more than 5 million children in the United States have a speech, language or hearing disorder, parents are often unsure about what to do when they suspect their child may be affected. Feeding therapy can be an important aspect of the services that speech therapists can offer to help infants and children who have feeding difficulties such as sucking, chewing, feeding or swallowing.   
 
In speech therapy, Sloane is learning to communicate through spoken words, pictures, and sign language. She also uses an augmentative communication device to express herself. She is learning to stand on her own in Physical Therapy and learning cause-and-effect through play in Occupational Therapy.
 
“I love all the therapists. Each one has unique traits,” Leanne says. “I am quite fond of everyone who has come into our lives through Easterseals.”
 
Families with a concern about their child’s speech or feeding development should contact Easterseals for information on acquiring a full evaluation. Easterseals’ has a team of Master’s level, certified and licensed Speech-Language Pathologists who are available to provide services to children of all ages in our locations in Delaware and Maryland’s eastern shore.

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