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Silent No More

Message from the President, Missouri Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Silent No More

he spoke to me
yet he was utterly silent
mute, soundless, wordless
he was the most quiet child
(a very powerful quiet)
at the same time, he was the most loud child
(a very powerful quiet loud)
screamed silently at the top of his lungs
beseecher of understanding
in the silence
in the unspoken
i unequivocally heard him
we communicated
soon digits were flying
with valuable expressions
my choo-choo..more cookie..and so on
a viable human sponge, he
loud energetic laughs, encouraged
noisy high-pitched squeals, welcomed
comfortable communication..for a while
until, he desired to ‘say’ so much more
fear and embarrassment enveloped him
words hung from the tips of his lips
releasing would be too difficult (or possibly too easy)
cried for mama with tears and hands
frustrations boiled within
a mini volcano ready to explode
finally, a long-awaited eruption (of a word)
a great relief flowed from all
no longer voiceless in the world
he requested “two” skittles
he, surprised
i, speechless
two smiles
the power of words
the power of silence
both empower the potency of communication

When Charles turned two, he stopped talking. For well over a year, he did not speak a word. A year ago this month, this amazing kid I write about spoke his first words..again. He now speaks in lengthy sentences and his speech becomes more intelligible each day.

A success story. We all have them. Our stories. Some personal, some professional. Some successful, some not so successful. No regrets. The stories make us who we are today, as professionals and fellow human beings. We learn from all of our experiences and interactions with others. Then we continue on our journeys, growing as individuals, affecting those we meet, improving quality of life for others and creating more stories.

So what difference did this one client make for me? I can hardly put into words all that I learned from this now four-year old child and his unstoppable, inspiring mom. Both Charles and his mom motivated and challenged me. I can explain it well by looking at the theme of the 2003 MSHA Convention—-The Three C’s: CEU’s, Collaboration, Compassion. If I did not continue educating myself at conferences, reading and workshops, I do not believe I could have effectively helped this child. So, continuing ed is crucial to my growth as an SLP (plus now it is required! J ). When this child came my way, I knew I would be consulting with trusted colleagues—– collaboration . It was very important for me to ‘run ideas and thoughts’ by others..my SLP friends, his speech-language pathologist in his preschool, an audiologist, student clinicians, a social worker, and many others. But I think most of all, it required compassion , which came easily. To feel for fellow human beings, complete strangers. Genuine compassion not only for the client, but for his family as well. Wow. That’s big when you really think about it.

Happy spring!

Julie Hoffmann, M.A., CCC-SLP
MSHA President
hoffmajj@slu.edu

Cherab would like to thank Julie Hoffmann M.A., CCC-SLP, President of the Missouri Speech Language Hearing Association, for giving us permission to repost from the MSHA website the “silent no more” poem/story of hope about one of her pediatric patients who was diagnosed with a speech disorder/apraxia.

Cherab would also like to thank Tricia Morin, the Mom behind the child in this poem “silent no more”┬áTricia.

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