Learning takes good communications skills

August 30, 2009

For Jason Kluska, communicating with others hasn't been easy.

He's worked hard to overcome a severe speech and language disorder.

Today, he enthusiastically shows a visitor his collection of NASCAR race car models.

"This is the 88 National Guard one," says Jason.

When Jason was little, his mother first noticed his speaking and listening skills weren't the same as other kids his age.

His teachers noticed it too.

Kim Kluska, his mother, remembers, "He was not talking to any of the children, he was not talking to any of the teachers, and they were very concerned."

Kim Kluska took Jason to a speech-language pathologist right away.

Carol Walck, M.S., Jason's certified speech-language therapist, says, "That's a big plus for the child, because the earlier you can start services, the better it is for the child, and the more progress you can make."

A pathologist can assess a child's strengths and needs - and help them adjust through the years.

Walck says, "You achieve certain goals, but then you start seeing that as the child has been improving, expectations for that child have also increased, so you have more things to start addressing."

After 12 years of therapy, Jason's skills and confidence are much higher.

And he is gearing up for the future.

"Going to North Carolina and get a job at Hendricks Motorsports, and work on some race cars," he says.

Often, children quit speech therapy in middle school.

However, Walck says continuing on is critical to help them prepare for college and future jobs.

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