Kids who don't speak can learn to communicate

Kids who don't speak can learn to communicate
Posted at 10:44 PM, May 23, 2017
and last updated 2018-06-19 15:01:01-04

People who don't speak can still learn to communicate thanks to a Waco clinic and the therapy and technology it provides.

Hagan Rachuig only speaks a few words, but the 7-year-old understands many of them. That's because he doesn't communicate verbally so he must learn to communicate visually.

"We need something to augment which means to help speech," said speech pathologist Nadine Welch.

Rachuig is getting the help he needs at Baylor's Speech, Language and Hearing Clinic.

"Ideally, and for most individuals, we'd develop verbal speech and get it good enough that we could communicate just like you and I are right now," Welch said.

Speech pathologist Nadine Welch says to reach that goal, she put Rachuig through phases of training starting with having him choose between a couple symbols on a Velcro board. Then, Welch said Rachuig moved on to symbols with words in a Velcro book.

"So once I had the symbol in my hand, I quickly exchanged it for the cookie to try to train that behavior. When you give me this, you get what you want," Welch said.

Finally, Welch said Rachuig started choosing between symbols with words on a grid.

"We hope his speech will develop further, but if not, we hope to lead up to the next step would be going to some sort of voice output device," Welch said.

It's technology and training that Welch said will help Rachuig speak more words so more people can understand him.

"No more are the days that, because of disability, it keeps you from doing something that the student sitting next to you is doing," Welch said.

Welch said Rachuig's family did not want to reveal why he cannot speak.

For more information on the clinic, just head to its website.

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