Wyatt Strom recognized by NSLHA and Governor Dave Heineman

Written May 21st, 2014
Wyatt Strom and Governor Heineman at proclamation ceremony in Lincoln.

Wyatt Strom and Governor Heineman at proclamation ceremony in Lincoln.

The Nebraska Speech-Language-Hearing Association (NSLHA) is proud to recognize Wyatt Strom of Verdigre, Joan Burney of Lincoln and Matthew Cedar of Wilcox as the 2014 Better Speech and Hearing Month representatives. They were selected on the basis of their representation in the areas of speech, hearing and swallowing, and their efforts to overcome these difficulties.

The Nebraska Speech-Language-Hearing Association hosted a proclamation ceremony with Governor Heineman on Wednesday, May 14, at 11:00 a.m. in the Warner Chamber at the State Capitol in Lincoln. The ceremony honored the three recipients. A luncheon followed at the Cornhusker Marriott.

Wyatt was nominated by his speech teacher, Colleen Chase. Attending the ceremony with Wyatt were his mother and grandmother, Lisa Wessendorf and Glenna Soucek, his school interpreter Julie Knust, and Colleen Chase. Wyatt was diagnosed with Charge syndrome at a young age and has severe bilateral hearing loss. He has undergone 12 surgeries, including a cochlear implant. He lacks a vestibular nerve, so balancing is difficult. As a 17-yearold sophomore at Verdigre Public Schools, Wyatt has learned to communicate with peers and faculty in ways that best work for him. He uses sign language, gestures, and photos on his iPad, depending on what kind of communication the situation warrants.

Within the past year, Wyatt’s parents and teachers have seen significant improvement in both his communicative efforts and confidence. He has become more comfortable with saying longer phrases and initiating conversation through pictures. Wyatt’s lack of a vestibular nerve makes P.E. class a challenge, but Wyatt’s confidence and willingness to try new approaches have helped him succeed. Wyatt’s newfound confidence has helped him project a positive outlook for classmates. This year Wyatt was chosen to attend Close Up in Washington D.C., through the Northeast Regional Program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Wyatt is a true testament to how speech-language services can have a positive impact.

Wyatt is the son of Lisa and Jason Wessendorf of Verdigre and Chad and Audra Strom of Verdel. His grandparents are Marvin and Glenna Soucek of Verdigre, Dan and Linda Strom of Lynch, Ron and Sandi Wessendorf of Bloomfield and the late Dan Pavlik.

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