Young Hero: Franklin SitesJul 22, 2013 11:02AM ● By Bailey Hemphill
When Frankie was 2, Julie learned that he was in need of speech therapy. “He started out imitating and spoke baby gibberish as any other child would,” she says. “When we first noticed that he was starting to struggle…we knew we needed to seek an experienced professional.” The Omaha Public School system agreed and worked with Julie to help Frankie. “We decided when he turned 3 that he would start attending special education pre-kindergarten and work with a speech pathologist.”
Frankie went on to attend Skinner Magnet Elementary School in the OPS district, where he received weekly visits from the school’s speech pathologist and worked with a teacher Julie believed was very helpful. “Together, they made for an awesome team and taught Frankie so much. He is able to make new sounds and say new words. Not to mention [he had] structure, teamwork, and everything else that comes along with daily educational routines and learning with peers.”
Frankie’s speech milestones and accomplishments in school have made Julie proud, especially since she knows how difficult it is for him to communicate with others. “He has to overcome these obstacles daily, and even though he can’t always succeed, he’s not a quitter, [and] he doesn’t show anger when he gets frustrated…he just keeps going.”
Julie sees her son as a hero because he’s strong and has the ability to face anything thrown his way. From his premature birth (due to complications) to his struggles with his speech, she believes Frankie’s been a fighter since the beginning. Above all, though, she thinks he just makes the world a brighter place. “He’s selfless, kind, loving, and always doing good for others,” she says.
Next year, Frankie will attend St. Philip Neri School, where he will join his brother. He will also remain in OPS’ speech therapy program. Nevertheless, Julie has no doubt that her son will only continue to improve in his education—a thought that makes her confident in his future.
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