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Eli overcomes obstacles to achieve new language goals

  • When Eli was still a newborn, his parents knew something was different with their baby’s communication. After a few missed diagnoses, Eli’s parents finally received the confirmation they had suspected all along: their son was deaf.
    Eli was diagnosed with the most severe type of Usher Syndrome, a condition that affects his hearing, vision and balance. At 2 ½ years old, he had cochlear implant surgery.

    Immediately after his diagnosis, Eli started speech and physical therapy at Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute to prepare for his new language capabilities and help with his balance. When he first arrived more than seven years ago, he was just two years old and had no verbal ability. For the first year, he received speech therapy three days a week. He also had activities and games that his parents could do at home to further Eli’s progress.

    We felt fortunate to have two different therapists with different perspectives at Courage Kenny,” said Christy, Eli’s mom. “They listened to our concerns, and together we found the right support. The therapists really become family.

    Vicki Markhart, along with Gretchen Philpot, both speech-language pathologists, have worked with Eli since he arrived at Courage Kenny and now Vicki meets with him once a week.

    “Right now we are working on his pronunciation of the letter ‘n,’ said Markhart. “Eli has really come a long way since day one and it has been wonderful watching him develop his language over the years.”

    Eli’s mom also proudly shares her son’s progress: “Eli is now hearing just under mid-range for his age and is just under the low range for verbal ability. Considering where we started, I think it is pretty incredible how much Eli has already achieved.” 

  • Eli in speech therapy