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Charlie’s Journey to Speech and Language Success

About a year ago, Charles “Charlie” Oshinjirin had difficulty coloring and was not meeting speech and language milestones for a three-year-old.

While Charlie was a great student, he had trouble with pronunciation and forming sentences. He also found it difficult to grab and hold objects like crayons and scissors. Charlie’s mother, Agnes, saw the need to intervene and connected with the school district on schools with more opportunities.

From there, they toured different schools including the Post Avenue School.

“We saw the way the teachers were interacting with the children in the classrooms. It was great to see them working in small groups, the one-to-one work and that the children were happy and enjoying learning,” said Agnes.

In the fall of 2022, Charlie began attending Post Avenue School. From the beginning, Agnes noticed how the team welcomed Charlie with compassion and attention, which gave her the sense that the school would be a good fit.

“The teachers and therapists asked me a lot of questions. They wanted to know everything about Charlie including my concerns for him. It was a completely different approach,” said Agnes.

A few months into schooling, Agnes noticed significant improvements in Charlie. The school even equipped him with learning techniques to practice at home, including the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). Using the PECS system, Charlie was able to form sentences to communicate his wants and needs by lining up picture cards to form phrases like “I want food” versus “food.”

There is a misconception that sign language and picture exchange systems hinder the development of spoken language. The evidence demonstrates that PECS and Augmented Alternative Communication (AAC) systems assist, not replace, spoken language and ultimately help build language skills.Charlie practices his speech and language skills

This was the case for Charlie. After attending Post Avenue for a year, he is now getting ready to graduate, having exhibited notable progress recognized and valued by both his teachers and parents.  After graduation, Charlie will be well prepared to attend school in his home school district.

According to his teacher Concepta “Connie” Neylon-Lorick, Charlie is meeting 90% of his speech goal set at the beginning of the school year. He pronounces the alphabet fully and can spell his name. With the help of his PECS communication system, he can also better communicate his school day to his parents. He was even able to share with his mom his disappointment for not being able to play outdoors because of the smoke on June 7, when New York was under an air quality advisory.

His fine motor skills have also improved after one-to-one support and regular occupational therapy. Charlie now loves to draw and trace as he is now better able to grip crayons and pencils. Moreover, he’s happy.

“When he’s sick and has to miss a day of school, he becomes so disappointed saying he’ll miss Miss Connie and Miss Britney,” mentioned Agnes.

Wishing Charlie and all our young graduates – all the best for a bright future!

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