Join ‘Bells’ at Walk With Me

When Annabel was a toddler, her parents, Emily and Johnathan, always joked that she acted like a teenager because she always ignored them.


Image courtesy of Julie Griffin Photography LLC, used with permission

“When ‘Bells’ was 18 months old, we could barely wait for the ‘word explosion’ the baby websites told us would be coming soon,” said Johnathan. “It never came.”

Shortly after Annabel’s second birthday, doctors told Emily and Johnathan that she had failed her ABR (auditory brainstem response) test. Their toddler was not ignoring them, but instead had bilateral sensorineural hearing loss.

Emily and Johnathan began looking for services for Annabel and the Children’s Developmental Center at Southwest Human Development was there to help.

A team of Southwest Human Development early childhood specialists visited Annabel and her family in their home to do a full developmental evaluation. From there, a Southwest Human Development speech therapist continued to work with Annabel every week to help improve her language skills and provided her family with tools to continue her growth at home.

“With all of the support that we had from the team at Southwest, she was able to learn to articulate more clearly so she could communicate with us and her friends,” said Emily. “Her frustration level is so much lower and she feels such a sense of independence and pride.”


Image courtesy of Julie Griffin Photography LLC, used with permission

Now that Annabel was able to hear and was better communicating, this opened up a whole new world for her entire family.

“Annabel had gone almost two-and-a-half years without hearing a dog bark, her sister’s giggles or the birds chirping. We got to experience those sounds with her for the very first time,” Emily said.

Specialists from Southwest Human Development also helped the family advocate for Annabel’s education when it was time for her to transition to the public school system.

“It provided a united front for Annabel,” said Emily. “Our therapists and case coordinator attended every meeting with us and helped us organize our goals for Annabel. She ended up being placed at Desert Voices to continue her speech and language services, which was our goal from the beginning. We couldn’t be happier that she is there.”

Meet Annabel and her family at this year’s Walk With Me!