Better Hearing Speech Month Awards

Better Hearing and Speech Awards

The Nebraska Speech-Language-Hearing Association (NSLHA) has selected Mikayla Loseke and Pam Talbot as its 2019 Better Hearing and Speech Month Award recipients. Congratulations!


2019 Better Hearing and Speech Recipients

Mikayla Loseke

Mikayla is a wonderful 12 year old girl. She presents with neurofibromatosis, an inoperable brain tumor, seizures and blindness. Tumors located on Mikayla’s optic nerve took away her vision at 2 years of age. Due to the fact that Mikayla is blind, she experiences many vocabulary challenges. Although she is allowed many opportunities for tactile experiences, there are some things you need to “see” in order to fully understand. Mikayla has never seen the ocean or a shark so these are foreign concepts to her. Mikayla experiences severe dysarthria. She also experiences seizures, lasting 30 seconds to 3 hours if she experiences a gelastic laughing seizure. Following these seizures, Mikayla may experience several days of fatigue and weakness. She has also had seven different chemo treatments over the last 10 years. This has taken a toll on Mikayla as well. Mikayla was tested at Nebraska School for the blind and the deaf in 2018. At that time, they found her current approximate functional age equivalent to be 5 and ½ years to 5 years 9 months. 

Mikayla is performing well above others who have had similar diagnoses. This is a testament to Mikayla’s hard work and determined attitude. Due to the fact the Mikayla is blind, she is unable to observe visual cues from the clinician in terms of articulation therapy. She must rely fully on auditory cues. Mikayla has done a wonderful job with this. It often takes quite some time to acquire new and correctly produced words; however, she also works hard toward this goal. When someone doesn’t understand what she is attempting to communicate, she will restate it until they understand. MIkayla is determined to get her message across.

Mikayla has experienced a myriad of challenges in her short life. She always comes to therapy ready to work. As mentioned above, due to dysarthria and blindness, it takes quite some time to acquire new, correctly produced phonemes. She works so hard at this. She has an infectious laugh and a kind, caring heart. Mikayla has overcome so many obstacles and is an inspiration to everyone who knows her!

NSLHA VP Membership Michell Ruskamp presents a Better Hearing and Speech Month Award to Mikayla Loseke. Pictured (left to right): Michell Ruskamp, Nicole Reardon, Mikayala Loseke and Katie Loseke.

Pam Talbot

Pam presents with a moderate-severe mixed dysarthria. She currently communicates in short sentences and phrases with mild-moderate wording finding issues and apraxia of speech.

Pam is a trooper! She has been an active participant in speech therapy since her onset in November 2012.  She participated in inpatient therapy, followed by rehabilitation and outpatient therapy.

Pam has a very positive attitude and perseverence to improve her communication skills. She works hard in the therapy room, but practices at home as well. She's every therapist's dream client. Pam requests all therapy lists, takes them home and actually practices. She's like the Energizer bunny. She keeps on going. Pam is a true inspiration. Pam also attends the UNO Reach Out Group for community members. She has been a long time participant in that group as well. She welcomes new members, making them feel appreciated and welcome. In short, she is a wonderful human being who happens to have a communication disorder.