On October 23, 2018, Katrina Silva took her almost five-year-old daughter, Shealynn, to see Dottie, her speech therapist. When Shealynn was one month old, she was diagnosed with Prader-Willi syndrome. This was when the Silvas first found out about the Village.
When Dottie came out of her office door, she had the biggest smile on her face and Shealynn’s favorite game, “Pop-Up Pirate” clutched in her arm. She shook Shealynn’s and her mom’s hands and invited them in, calling Shealynn her “little friend”. Shealynn and her mom were very excited to see and work with Dottie. Shaelynn was especially excited to tell Dottie about her new toy kitty, that she had also named Dottie. It was rainbow-colored with polka-dots. Shealynn’s mom added, “Yep, not two seconds after getting into the car, she said, ‘His name is Dottie’”.
During the appointment, Shealynn’s mom showed Dottie laminated charts with phrases on them and had Shealynn show off to Dottie the improvement she had made in her speech since the last time they met. Dottie used Pop-Up Pirate as both a motivation/reward for Shealynn after she went through each chart and also a fun way to help Shealynn practice speaking her “P’s” and “S’s” clearly (“I would like a blue sword, please.”). After the appointment, Dottie praised Shealynn on the improvements she had made and encouraged her on the areas yet to improve on.
Dottie is a wonderful example of what therapists at Children’s Village are like. They are friendly and personal with the children and enthusiastic when the children come in. They are willing to lend a listening ear when the children have something to tell them. However, they are also professional with their job; they will let the children know the areas that they need to improve on and will encourage and help them, every step of the way, to meet their goals.