Posts with tag: "speech pathologist"
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
By Hayes Photography
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My husband and I rescued Julius (then, “Cotton”) 5 years ago from Lollypop Farm. He looked nothing like himself. Long, matted hair, underweight frame, and the saddest eyes. Julius’ humanesque eyes made me fall in love instantly. He spoke about his fear and pain through his eyes. Previously abused and neglected, it took a bit of time for Julius to approach people, to not flinch when someone reached out a hand too quickly, and to learn how to fetch. Over a year, we helped him transform back into the dog he is today. When comparing pictures from the day we brought him home and from a year later, the physical changes are undeniable...especially in his eyes. 

Those who interact with Julius always make the same comment: “He is so calm”. Not a common characteristic of Golden-doodles; I have to believe his past shaped that part of him. His calmness is the reason we pursued therapy dog certification. Therapy dogs in schools are well supported by the research, citing benefits such as reducing anxiety, facilitating communication, and improving reading confidence. From every student interaction with Julius comes the opportunity to share his story, and in sharing his story I believe he has taught students some valuable life lessons that just cannot be captured in the research.

1. Be sure to make time to play.

2. Always get excited when someone you love walks into the room.

3. Essentials to being happy: eating, exercise, playing, cuddling, napping

4. Joy is found in the simplest things.

5. You are allowed to feel sad when someone you care about leaves. It is okay to wait for them to 

    come back.

6. Forgive quickly and fully.

7. Trust can always be regained with a little patience and a lot of love. There are no lost causes. 

8. Second chances change lives. 

I feel so much joy and fulfillment when watching students’ faces light up the moment Julius walks into a class, or hearing “I so needed this!” after spending a few quiet moments with him. Julius’ presence at Schroeder is just as therapeutic to me as it is to the students. He loves many things: rolling in the grass, playing with tennis balls, going for walks. But one of his favorite things is being surrounded by a group of people who are giving him all their attention and love. In those moments, there is no past or future. There is no judgement. Race, religion, gender, not exist. It is only the presence of love that matters.


Hannah Formella

Speech Pathologist Teacher

Webster Schroeder High School



Dog Therapist

Webster Schroeder High School

It was so much fun working on this portrait with Hannah and Julius! The smiles on the student's faces when Julius arrived made it so clear why dog therapy is such a valuable resource in our schools. 

Let us know what you think and make sure to say hi to this dynamic duo!


Tuesday, March 10, 2020
By Hayes Photography
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By the time our third child came around, my husband and I thought we knew all there was to know about raising a baby. And we were right…until 15 months later, when we found out Leah was profoundly deaf. 


As a hearing parent of a deaf child, I came face-to-face with a world that was incredibly foreign to me. I was flooded with questions and decisions that I had not been previously equipped to answer. Do we learn sign language or attend a special school? Do we use hearing aids or the new cochlear implants? She was our child, the same family, the same last name, a sibling, a granddaughter, a niece… but this was something new and different. Every choice we made impacted her life: sign language, speech therapy, cochlear implants, exposure to the” hearing world” through sports, community and her education. Our family and extended family were very involved,  Leah not only “fit in”, but brought us together as we watched her learn sign language and eventually learned to speak so clearly that a stranger wouldn’t even know she was deaf. Each decision we made shaped her into the person she would become.


Reflecting back, I’m not sure I would do anything differently, but perhaps I would have done it better. I would have kept up on my sign language skills and practiced more as a family. As Leah talked more clearly, we all became lazy in our signing, assuming she understood everything. I would have exposed her to more Deaf culture instead of her having to learn that side of herself through her college friends. I wouldn’t have expected her to conform to our “hearing world” so much, but instead let her deafness be part of who she was and embrace it.  


Family means the world to me and, happily, we get to experience this again with two of our five grandchildren who are deaf. Watching the choices Leah and her husband Shaun make with Jonah and Lucy is refreshing. Will they do things differently than their own hearing parents? 


Really, the core of any language is love. And regardless of any choices we made, love transcended both worlds, hearing and deaf. 


Julie Provenzano

Speech Pathologist Teacher

Schlegel Road Elementary