HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Three preschoolers graduated from the The Luke Lee Listening, Language and Learning Lab, also known as “The L,” on Wednesday, July 30, in the Atrium of Smith Hall on Marshall University’s Huntington campus.
After several years of working to improve their speaking and hearing abilities, these three children graduated with something much more important than a diploma, according to program director Dr. Jodi Cottrell.
“Although we do award our graduates a diploma, they will leave here with something much more exciting: the ability to speak and hear,” Cottrell said. “Many of these children have been in this program for almost their whole lives. I have one that started when she was 6 months old, one when she was 15 months and another when she was two and they are now 5, 5, and 6 respectively.”
The L was the first preschool program in West Virginia providing listening and spoken language outcomes to children with hearing loss.
Since 2006, it has provided services to infants, toddlers and preschoolers to achieve a listening and spoken language outcome. Cottrell said this allows them to mainstream into their schools with age-level listening and spoken language skills, which allows them to communicate with their peers.
“The parents have dedicated an enormous amount of time to bringing their children here and have spent countless hours working with them at home,” Cottrell said. “We want these kids to leave here with a sense of accomplishment and the opportunity for continued success throughout their lives.”
For six years, the preschool has held a graduation ceremony to celebrate these children and the work accomplished through intensive auditory-verbal education. The preschool program is composed of four days a week with three days of classroom activities from 8:30 a.m. to noon Monday through Wednesday.
Members of the 2014 “L” Graduating Class:
Clara Johnson, 5 years old
Parents: Amanda and E.J. Johnson
Clara started at the L when she was 15 months old. Clara began attending the preschool in January 2011 at age two and travels 53 miles to the L four days a week to learn to listen and talk as well as her twin sister.
Ella Quisenberry, 5 years old, Danville, West Virginia
Parents: Jerry and Melanie Quisenberry
Ella started coming to therapy at the L when she was six months old and started in the preschool at age two in January 2011. Her parents chose the L because it is the only program that provides listening and spoken language therapy and education in the state.
Rylee Collins, 6 years old, Greenup, Kentucky
Parent: Mary Collins
Rylee started in the Parent Infant Program (PIP) at the L in January 2011 at just two years old and then started in the preschool in May 2011 at age three. Greenup County Schools pays for her tuition and provides her transportation to be in the program four days a week.
For more information on programs offered through “The L,” contact Cottrell at 304-696-3455. To learn more about services provided through the Marshall University Speech and Hearing Center, visit www.marshall.edu/cohp online.