EARTHSPEAK is engaged in building parent speech training programs that complete the job that cleft palate surgery begins.
When we engage with other people in life, we have two primary ways of connecting: We look at each other "face to face" and we use our speech to convey our thoughts and share our being.
Every other minute somewhere in the world a child is born with a clefting condition that might deny him or her one or BOTH of these primary ways of enjoying full membership in "the family of man."
The two common kinds of clefting conditions are cleft lip and cleft palate.
For children born with a cleft lip (like the child shown below), surgery is usually all that is required to completely correct the situation. Speech remediation is rarely necessary.
For children born with a cleft palate condition, however, like Durga (shown below), surgery is only the beginning.
The situation is especially difficult when surgery is delayed (as it often is, particurlarly in developing countries), until speech (or what may pass for speech, even if it is unintelligible to others) has already been established.
Unable to communicate, often shunned even by their own families, millions of children and adults wait without hope, forced to sit on the sidelines in their cultures and communities.
RSF-EARTHSPEAK is engaged in building parent speech training programs that complete the job that cleft palate surgery begins. We train parents and other lay people to become the speech teachers their children need. Parents and other relatives, regardless of their literacy level or formal education, can successfully help their children gain a life where before they suffered only an existence.
EARTHSPEAK has spent 22 years developing these programs and perfecting a unique speech teaching method called CORRECTIVE BABBLING®.
CORRECTIVE BABBLING, in medical terms, is based on the theory that cortical representation of speech sounds in these unfortunate children has been atypical due to the inability of the organs of speech to work together during critical speech sound development periods.
Speech development for normal children begins during the first year of life. Children whose defective palates are not surgically corrected until after their first birthday are denied a critical developmental opportunity.
The CORRECTIVE BABBLING method gives them a second chance at normal oral communication. The method combines the medical principles of cerebral neuroplasticity with conventional speech therapy practices.
Parent-and-child teams attend EARTHSPEAK-financed, week-long "speech camps," where parents are taught how to follow a step-by-step program outlined for them in a training manual in their native language. Most teams complete the program successfully in from four to nine months.
We strive to make our programs self-replicating and self-sustaining. Our vision is to provide legions of trained resources throughout the world.
It is EARTHSPEAK's hope and mission that in the future no child, regardless of social or economic circumstance or geographic location, will be denied the right to join the speaking fellowship of man.