Meet Carlos López
Carlos is the perfect example of perseverance. He’s a 25-year-old boy who refuses to let his past limit his future. As you can see from his pictures, he’s always wearing a huge smile across his face. As a child, Carlos was a victim to physical abuse by his father. With no way to escape, he was forced to stay in this violent environment his entire childhood. As a result, Carlos’s skull was fractured and his leg was broken. The skull fracture caused Carlos neurological damage and delayed mental development. This affected his speech and made communication very difficult. Not only was he mentally disabled by abuse, Carlos was also left unable to walk and bound to a wheelchair throughout childhood.
Carlos, despite the neurological damage, is very aware of his problem. Not being able to communicate with others was always very frustrating for him.
Former Physical Therapist
As Carlos got older he received physiotherapy for his condition, which helped him walk on his own with the aid of a cane. This helped Carlos feel more independent, but still his speech held him back and made him frustrated. Carlos never was able to receive speech therapy, and although he learned how to speak, his pronunciation was never completely correct. Wanting to feel truly independent, Carlos knew he needed to improve his pronunciation.
The ability to speak is an incredible gift that allows people to express themselves and interact amongst the world. It’s easy to take this gift for granted when you’ve never experienced personal difficulties with speech.
Irene, CompleteSpeech Guatemala General Manager
Out of thousands of applicants, Carlos was one of the few chosen to receive a sponsorship from FAST. Ecstatic for this opportunity, he began speech therapy using the SmartPalate in 2015 with speech sessions conducted by CompleteSpeech. Carlos had difficulty learning to control the movement of his facial muscles, making it hard to pronounce vowels and the /r/ and /s/ sounds. After a year of hard work Carlos accomplished what in traditional therapy would have taken years. He had improved on almost every sound he had been working on. He could control his facial muscles, coordinate the movement of his mouth and tongue, and increased his pronunciation of vowels by 70%.
I could see on the screen where to put my tongue which helped me understand what I needed to do. With lots of practice, I was able to start pronouncing different letters and then words, and then, I realized I could talk!
By the end of 2016 Carlos could pronounce various sounds including his vowels, the /s/ sound and he is close to perfecting the /r/ sound. He’s expected to graduate from speech therapy in the next few months. Although his condition limits him from reaching full development, Carlos has surpassed all expectations set for him. Carlos accomplished this thanks to his hard work and the opportunity provided to him through a generous sponsorship getting him the speech therapy he needed. Finally able to communicate, Carlos now has the independence he’s been striving for. So many obstacles have been put in his way, but not once did Carlos let it stop him from achieving his goal or from smiling.