Helping a Nine-Year-Old Communicate

Kameron Faison

Nine-year-old Palmyra native Kameron Faison and his family are grateful to the students and faculty at LVC’s Center for Speech, Language, and Hearing Disorders, a free, on-campus clinic for children and adults with communication disorders.

“I knew Kameron was going to be autistic a little before having him so I was already obsessing over whether or not he was hitting his milestones. I didn’t realize at the time speech would be an issue, but quickly knew it would be when the baby babble lasted longer than expected,” said Kameron’s mom, Kassandra Lopez. “He started attempting to say words around five years old. Since then, he has improved but still has trouble forming sentences and even answering questions.”

His mother became aware of LVC’s program through a flyer sent home from school.

LVC graduate students, led by Tina Messner ’21, M’23, created a treatment plan and had Kameron work with an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device, giving him an effective method to communicate his thoughts and feelings. An AAC is an electronic device that has thousands of terms that can assist those with speech impediments. Since the prices of these devices are so extravagant, the Faison family did not think that Kameron would ever get the chance to use one. With the help of the student and staff, Kameron has borrowed a device from the center to practice using it in his day-to-day life. This tool allows Kameron to communicate with others in a whole new way.

“These students have been so amazing,” Lopez said. “Seeing them connect with Kameron and find fun ways to help him express himself has been a treat to watch.”

His friends, family, and teachers watched Kameron become more social after participating in LVC’s program. His mother also noticed that he is not as shy around others anymore and is trying his best to communicate using the techniques he learned during his program.

When LVC students and faculty realized how successful Kameron could be with his own device, Dr. Helga McCullough, assistant professor of speech-language pathology, supervised Messner independently and successfully complete a funding application. Kameron received a device fully covered by his insurance.

“It was such a joy to see Kameron expand his expressive communication skills and open up in his interactions with Tina,” said Dr. McCullough. “Also, not many student clinicians have the opportunity to actually apply for funding for a device for a client. Tina did a wonderful job.”

Lopez shared the changes she has seen in her son and said, “Kameron has become more social. He isn’t so shy around others anymore—he really makes an effort. Even though it is hard for others to understand him, it’s sweet to see that he’s trying.”

— Natalie Santangelo ’23, Marketing & Communications Student Assistant

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