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United Way partner helps toddler find his voice

October 22, 2018

By Emily Wasek, Fellow, Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center


Speech-language therapy at Jacksonville Speech and Hearing Center helped Amir better communicate his thoughts. Photo credit: Jacksonville Speech and Hearing Center.



In 2017, Amir’s family noticed he wasn’t speaking on the appropriate age level for a three-year-old. Frustrated with the inability to communicate his thoughts, Amir frequently misbehaved, making it difficult for his mother to manage him. Hoping to help Amir better communicate, his mother sought assistance from Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center.

Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center, one of more than 70 United Way-funded partners, provides the highest quality professional and compassionate care to all individuals with speech, hearing and/or language disorders in Northeast Florida, regardless of ability to pay. Among its many services, the Center has pioneered several early intervention programs aimed at ensuring preschool-aged children are able to communicate effectively to achieve academic success.

Within a year of receiving speech-language therapy and positive behavior support from two of Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center’s speech-language pathologists, Ciara Johnson and Christine Pearson, Amir required very little redirection and engaged with his clinicians independently.

“Amir is talking more than before,” his mom said. “His expressive vocabulary has increased, and he is now able to tell me about his day.”

Today, Amir is just like any other happy and healthy little boy. He loves to play with cars and superheroes, and enjoys eating candy and snacks. He is an excellent dancer and is always showing his therapists new moves.

With the support of United Way, agencies like Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center are able to help families and individuals in Northeast Florida have hope and reach their full potential.

To learn how you can join United Way in the fight for community change, visit unitedwaynefl.org/get-involved.