Each year, Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center identifies one success story from each department to highlight. This year the Speech department has selected Elizabeth and her son CJ. Read below to learn about your story.

Like any new mother, Elizabeth Picklo was excited about the upcoming birth of her son. She had lots of hopes and dreams for him – all the typical thoughts and plans: watching him play and grow, go off to school, make friends, start driving and dating, etc. And, (CJ) was born two months early, Elizabeth still felt happy and confident when he was released from NICU after only three weeks.

However, over time, Elizabeth, began to notice that CJ wasn’t reaching various communication milestones… he wasn’t speaking at all. CJ’s pediatrician recommended hospital-based evaluation and therapy, but with a wait list of over a year, she felt they would lose crucial development time for CJ.

That’s when Elizabeth discovered CHSC through an online search and she was thrilled to find out they could get an appointment within weeks.

Elizabeth brought CJ to the CHSC South Euclid office for an evaluation. As she recalls, it was an emotional day. “It was heartbreaking when we had to answer ‘no’ to all of the questions about what he was capable of doing. The reality of what we were discovering hit me hard. I felt like all the hopes and dreams I had for him were disappearing – what kind of life was ahead for him?”

After CJ’s evaluation, he began working with a CHSC Speech Language Pathologist. They started slowly, working on signs and single words. An active, engaged child, CJ responded well to the therapy sessions. As his mom is quick to admit – CJ “did the work.”

He began to build vocabulary and was making progress. Elizabeth noticed significant changes in CJ. Not only was he talking – but talking a lot! She says, “He talks a blue streak about what he did at school and other activities. It is wonderful to see him so vibrant, happy and confident.”

Elizabeth is so grateful to CHSC for the help they’ve received as they navigated each stage with CJ. Elizabeth says, “From Margie and Joy at the front desk, to Rachel, Megan, the Speech staff – everyone at CHSC feels like they are a part of our ‘team’ – like family!”

CJ is now 5 years old and is working hard to prepare for Kindergarten. Elizabeth knows he’ll be ready when the time comes.

She says, “We wouldn’t be where we are today with CJ’s progress if it weren’t for CHSC. They have not only given him the skills he needs to succeed – they have given me back my hopes and dreams for him.”

To help Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center continue providing much needed therapies to families like this, please donate at: www.chsc.org/bigwheel


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