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Giving children a voice: Children's Hospital enrolling for language intervention study

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A local mother is saying a big thank you to a medical team that's helped give her daughter something to really talk about.

It's all part of a breakthrough study to help kids improve speech, language, and even their grades in school. The trial is the first of it's kind in the country for kids ages five to 12 at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. It's still enrolling kids who have trouble speaking, hearing, and learning. It could provide not only free therapy for families but a free iPad and most importantly, it could help kids who never before have been able to share what they love with those they love the most.

The words and thoughts little Sidona is now able to share her family couldn't be happier to hear.

Just a few years ago her mother Natalie Busch shared, "Sidona wasn't tested at birth, so it was two years before we got a test and we realized that she was deaf."

Eventually Sidona got special implants to restore that hearing but soon she began to experience what the team of speech and language researchers discovered happens to many kids: their brains take in the words but they can't share them with others.

Jareen Meinzen-Derr, research epidemiologist at Cincinnati Children's, said, "So that's a gap in their language that doesn't match where there cognitive skills are."

So the team decided to do something to help those kids and perhaps many others in a big way. They launched what's called the Language Intervention Study. Here's how it works: In addition to 24 weeks of free speech and language therapy, the kids are given a free iPad as part of the study. Then using a special language app, the kids ages five to 12 are taught to see a word, say a word, and use it properly in a sentence.

For kids such as Sidona, who was part of the pilot language intervention study, researchers not only found so much more success, but eventually the kids in the study got so good they didn't need the iPad.

Rosie Sheldon, a speech language pathologist for children with developmental disabilities, said, "Sometimes you see kids that have been struggling with these langauge concepts for years, and all of the sudden it just clicks."

The study is now open to families with hearing, speech, and language concerns. If parents want to call with questions they can do so at 513-803-1901, or CLICK HERE FOR AN EMAIL AND MORE INFORMATION.

If people qualify they are paid for time and travel, and the therapy and the iPad are free.

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