Devon’s Story

Oct 20, 2022 | Stories

Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs) help students develop their communication skills. But often, and core to our mission, CHAT SLPs serve another person a student’s life – to advocate for their needs and help them to be their own best advocates.

This was the case with Devon.

Devon has selective mutism, which is a commonly misunderstood and under diagnosed condition for people with anxiety. People with selective mutism struggle to speak outwardly and comfortably to certain social settings, while communicating easily in on or more other settings.

This disorder presents differently for each individual and in each social setting, and is difficult for teachers, friends, and even families to understand. Because Devon was a straight-A student, some of his teachers did not believe he could even have a disorder, and insisted he was just being obstinate.

When faced with a lower grade because of his inability to complete a required group presentation, Devon’s anxiety rose and his confidence plummeted. That is when the CHAT SLP working with Devon stepped in to educated his teacher and advocate for a make-up assignment. The CHAT SLP also went even further to update Devon’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) on file with the school to allow alternatives for oral presentations.

Children of any age are still figuring out how to navigate the world around them. For children with speech and language disorders, tasks that come naturally to others can be especially difficult. CHAT is committed to being advocates for the children we serve, while helping them find their own voices and preparing them to be their own advocates in life.