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Magnolia Speech School finishes first...

Magnolia Speech School finishes first year at new campus

By: Anne Summerhays - May 22, 2023

(Photo from Magnolia Speech School Facebook page)

The Mississippi school works to overcome barriers imposed by hearing and language impairments through early identification and intervention.

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM). The designation provides a platform to raise awareness about hearing and speech problems. Magnolia Speech School (MSS) is doing that as well in Mississippi.

MSS believes that barriers imposed by deafness and language impairments can be overcome through early identification and intervention. Located in Madison, Mississippi, the MSS has been working with kids and families affected by speech and hearing disorders.

MSS provides the children facing these challenges with specialized, self-contained classrooms in order to learn language necessary to function in future academic settings. The school designs individual educational programs for each child that emphasize developing communication, cognition, and social skills. The children receive as much individual instruction as possible, according to MSS. With parents and staff working together as a team with mutual trust and respect, the children learn skills to facilitate their eventual transition to mainstream schools.

The school’s ultimate goal is for students to leave MSS prepared for the school of their choice with the verbal skills to succeed.

In December, MSS celebrated the opening of its new state-of-the-art Madison campus. The school is currently finishing up the first year at its new location.

“Magnolia Speech School has changed the lives of students and their families for over 65 years, and we are excited to embark on this next chapter at our new campus,” Magnolia Speech School Executive Director Valerie Linn said at the time.

Bob Herr, a parent at MSS, said that when his son was two or three years old, they were going to a pediatrician and he hadn’t been saying a lot of words.  

“He couldn’t even say mama,” Herr said. “And so we started doing our research and trying to figure out different types of options.” 

Herr said they started looking at sending him to pre-school and considered enrolling him in speech therapy. Through their search, they discovered Magnolia Speech School. After being evaluated, they found out his son was a candidate for the school.

“We started when he was three years old and now, he’s turning six and he’s just doing wonderful,” Herr stated. “He speaks and he talks in sentences, it’s absolutely amazing. When we first started there and now, he can tell us all the planets in the solar system.”

Herr explained that he knows of several people who moved from out of state and who travel long distances across the state for the program.

“It’s really a special place,” Herr continued, adding that if anyone suspects that their child is having an issue, they should take them by the school and have the child evaluated.

“Those people are pros and they see it every day,” Herr said. “They know what to do and how to get the most out of your child. If you have any suspicions or just want a second opinion, I highly recommend just to take your kid out there and have an evaluation by their very well-trained staff.”

The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) reports that: 

  • Nearly 50 million Americans (1 in 7) have hearing loss and many more are at risk.
  • 1 billion youth worldwide are at risk of noise-induced hearing loss (WHO).
  • Four of five people (80%) who could benefit from hearing aids do not get them.
  • The average wait to get treatment for hearing loss is 7 years.

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), a national poll of audiologists and speech-language pathologists shows that most respondents have experienced an increase in referrals for concerns about hearing, speech, and language delays or disorders over the past 2 years, “a time marked by pandemic-related transformations.”

“In addition to more requests for evaluations, our members have seen an increasing number of children with behavioral, social, and language difficulties – as well as more children with hearing loss that has gone undetected,” said 2023 ASHA President Robert Augustine, PhD, CCC-SLP. “However, we want to assure families that if they have concerns about their child’s communication skills, help at any stage can be extremely effective—and they should seek an evaluation as soon as possible.”

For more information about Magnolia Speech School, watch the video below.

About the Author(s)
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Anne Summerhays

Anne Summerhays is a recent graduate of Millsaps College where she majored in Political Science, with minors in Sociology and American Studies. In 2021, she joined Y’all Politics as a Capitol Correspondent. Prior to making that move, she interned for a congressional office in Washington, D.C. and a multi-state government relations and public affairs firm in Jackson, Mississippi. While at Millsaps, Summerhays received a Legislative Fellowship with the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi where she worked with an active member of the Mississippi Legislature for the length of session. She has quickly established trust in the Capitol as a fair, honest, and hardworking young reporter. Her background in political science helps her cut through the noise to find and explain the truth. Email Anne: