Nonverbal doesn’t simply equate to a lack of words. In many cases, it’s a loss of voice, or worse yet, a loss of choice.
Such was the case for Kameron Grenus, a 16-year-old Lakeland School student with Cerebral Palsy. Unfortunately for Kameron and many others with special needs, speech therapy is not covered by medical insurance.
“After an initial assessment with the speech therapist, we submitted the necessary paperwork to the insurance company,” says Kameron’s mom, Dusti Ocampo. “Our request was denied on the basis that it was not medically necessary for Kameron to have a communication device or therapy.”
Dusti then brought Kameron’s need to the Geneva National Foundation, which issued a $600 grant to customize the Proloquo2Go app and provide speech training at Elkhorn’s New Berlin Therapies. The grant also covered a necessary computer key guard.
“Speech therapy has helped Kameron learn to use her communication software so she can better express her needs and wants,” notes Ocampo. “The speech therapist also taught me how to make adjustments so that I can add more choices as Kameron grows up with the software.”
Specifically, Ocampo says, the speech therapy allows Kameron to finally make some decisions on her own -- even if it’s simply to say “yes” or “no.” The difference, she notes, is not in the size – but in the power of those words. “Now it’s her making the choices, and not us making them for her.”