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Monday, July 09, 2012 - Early intervention for speech delays puts West Knoxville girl “right where she needs to be”
  The road to Amelia’s success was a family affair which included parents Dana and Michael Powers, along with big brother, Newlan (pictured with Amelia).
When her daughter Amelia was just a year old, Dana Powers of West Knoxville began to worry that Amelia wasn’t meeting a few important developmental milestones.

She wasn’t walking, and she didn’t say any words a typical baby says, like mama or juice. “She was not talking at all, she would just point and say, ‘Uh uh,’” Powers said.

Amelia’s walking problems were attributed to poor eye coordination, which was corrected with surgery. But as she grew, Amelia’s words still did not come. By her second birthday in May 2011, the toddler had less than 20 words anyone could understand, said Powers.

“I don’t know if she wouldn’t talk, or she couldn’t, but she just wouldn’t say words,” said Powers. “If she wanted something, and you asked her to use her words for it, she would just forget it. She wasn’t persistent.”

Powers had Amelia’s hearing tested first, and it was fine. She was evaluated by the Tennessee Early Intervention Services program, and workers there suggested she have her speech checked by Methodist Therapy in Oak Ridge.

So Powers drove Amelia to Oak Ridge, and the toddler began speech therapy in July 2011 with speech-language pathologist Patti Carnes. Carnes worked with Amelia once a week, and sent home assignments for the family – which included husband, Michael and son, Newlon - to work on as well.

 “Patti was always good to send words and flashcards home to work on,” said Powers. “We put flash card pictures on items around the home, and Amelia would go around and name them. We did all kinds of things.”

After just a few months of speech therapy, Amelia began using more and more words. One day the family was driving past a Chick-Fil-A restaurant, and Amelia said clearly, “Moo cow eat.”

“I just started crying,” said Powers, “because that was huge. She got it.”

Today Powers said Amelia is like a different child, Powers said.

“It’s been like a miracle, she talks better than even some of he friends,” she said. “She talks nonstop. She questions everything, talking to people in the grocery store. We’ve done a complete about-face, and the root of it was Patti. We definitely reinforced what they did at speech, but she was the guide who told us what to do.

Amelia graduated from speech therapy in April.

“She misses it. She says, ‘When are we going to see Miss Patti?’” Powers said. “At three years old, her speech is great. Amelia is right where she needs to be.

“We just had a total great experience. It was well worth the commute. We were very pleased with Methodist Therapy, and I would recommend it to anyone.”