WEST PALM BEACH, FL -- Alyssa Estornell is a speech pathologist who diagnoses children between the ages of 3 and 5 with speech and language disorders.
"Over five years a co-worker and I tested almost two thousand children to develop a screening instrument through a grant that we received," she said.
They were able to identify the Spanish speaking youngsters with speech problems.
"And we thought let's not stop there. After we developed the tool we thought these kids are now being diagnosed with a delay or identified with a disorder and they are being placed in therapy but they are being given therapy in English because there are few bilingual or Spanish speaking speech pathologists."
Estornell helped create a program in Spanish that enabled the children to overcome their obstacles, while at the same time teaching them to speak in two languages.
"Well this child will get therapy in Spanish and find when it is time for them to transition to kindergarten they, also have a link to a dual language school so that they don't lose the native language that we are now seeing can actually parallel their second language, which is English."
For the past three years, the pilot program has been in use at the Royal Palm School in Lantana.
"It's really been successful so we are going to continue...allowed to start a second class in that school and so we will continue to add children and we are hoping that in the future we can add some additional school sites."
Through her job Alyssa Estornell is making a difference in young lives.
Copyright 2009 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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