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When talkative means TalkActive

“When we first met,” speech-language therapist Rosanna Henares Angeles recalls, “I could sense David [not his real name] wanted to say so much, but all he could produce was ‘dadada.’”

Rosanna  left her lucrative advertising career and began studying speech pathology because her own son, Vigo, couldn’t find a good speech therapist living in the Philippines. She graduated Cum Laude in B.S. Speech Pathology and now helps other children with speech and behavioral issues.

Rosanna provides s professional, friendly and interactive environment at the TalkActive Therapy Center Philippines, which is largely due to her own experience as a parent, therapist and professional. She has since turned into a full-time mom to her children, one of whom needed intensive physical, occupational and speech therapy. Her personal experience led her to be an advocate of early intervention. 
Some children may experience difficulties paying attention when their sensory needs are not met. Some crave hard work such as climbing ropes, doing the wheelbarrow, jumping on trampolines before they can calm down and provide adequate focus to the task of learning.
This does not mean, however, that these children aren’t intelligent. It only means that the information fed to their brains from their senses are not properly organized or processed.
Now David and her son can talk up a storm — they have turned talkative. She once asked David where he went to school and he answered, “TalkActive!” This puts a smile on her face. Rossana’s changing the world, and now has a place for her patients to call home.
ORGANIZATIONAL SETUP. Offering speech-language therapy, TalkActive Therapy Center opened in May 2017. It also offers occupational therapy for children who need help achieving independence doing their life’s occupations like eating, bathing, dressing, going to the toilet and writing.
TalkActive Therapy Center can help with these basic concerns. Offering speech-language therapy and occupational therapy, it has 14 therapists, 13 females and one male, all called “Teacher,” followed by his/her nickname.
They are all speech-language therapists (SLPs) and occupational therapists (OTs) with solid credentials. They are either graduates of the grueling courses of B.S. Speech Pathology or B.S. Occupational Therapy at either the University of the Philippines College of Allied Medical Professions (CAMP), UP-CAMP at the UP-Manila campus or University of Sto. Tomas.
For the second year, Team TalkActive tackled Team Building/Eating/Outing where they screamed, laughed and dared at the Tree Top Adventure at Camp John Hay in Baguio City.
The children undergo special trainings such as when Acroyoga expert and co-founder of Shambhala Barcelona yogawear Amanda Quiambao visited Manila and held a short yoga session at TalkActive Therapy Center.
And the center is growing exponentially.  In the 2016 Christmas party, they were four in staff. In 2017, they were 12.  That means the 2017 Christmas party was thrice as fun. Talk about being all TalkActive!
TalkActive Therapy Center opens to a non-complicated reception area with just talk balloons made of wood and with some items required by a TalkActive person. If lucky, Rosanna will over the counter meeting a prospective student and companion with a sweet and warm smile, ready to answer any concern. Nothing could be more welcoming.
Parents, whether the mother or the father, or the guardians, have a role to do in the therapy. The direct source of love and caring for the student, their involvement is required indirectly like providing positive motivation and reinforcement specially in the home setting.  
Although the mother usually accompanies the student, fathers are encouraged active participation. As George Elliot thinks, “It’s a father’s duty to give his sons a fine chance.”
“I see mothers and sons often. But once in a while, a father and son will make their presence felt. This father’s commitment inspires and seeing his eyes light up when the teacher gives feedback is wonderful to witness,” according to Red Wisdom.
INSIDE OUT. TalkActive Therapy Center is a child-friendly play learning area that has slip-proof foamed floors, no sharp edges and all-rounded corners. The climbing wall has lively colored steps, and a safety-proofed slide ends in a cream-colored tub lined with light green upholstery half-filled with multi-colored plastic balls.
To deliver results, teachers use a mix of science and art to make the student understand and learn. A typical interaction goes like this:
Teacher Nana: David, when you say L, where do you put your tongue?
David: Put it up.
Teacher Nana: Good. Don’t forget to practice your L, okay?
David: Yes Teacher. Look...LANGAW.
Teacher Ana tried to increase a student’s sitting span. She brushed his body to satisfy sensory needs.
Student recites the alphabet then blurts out “L is for LAGOT!”
Instant rapport between the student and teacher is aimed at and created. Students are allowed privacy so their names and photos are not public stuff. If there is a need to post for an important reason, permission of a parent or guardian is required. They are conscientious to protect identities.
Therapy session is weekly as agreed upon with the student’s parent/s or guardian. And it does not go on forever. When the student’s objective is achieved such as a repertoire of 7-word sentences, asking and answering questions and telling stories, therapy ends unless extended mutually.
A parent’s main concern such as stuttering is evaluated. Teacher Eya and a male student quickly found a point of shared interest: drawing. His father reports that he worked on his gift during the whole Christmas break and was so excited to start his session last January. He is making wonderful progress now.
Gadgets such as iPads are not allowed at TalkActive Therapy Center as they have the ability to unfocus a student’s ability to the learning task on hand. If a student arrives early and has to wait for his session to start, he has to make do with what is allowed such as clay.
SUPPORT SYSTEM. Scarlet Snow, daughter of Dr. Hayden Kho and Dr. Vicki Belo, Rosanna’s aunt, recently gifted the TalkActive Therapy Center with a table/easel with a yellow top and red legs. Teacher Kaye wants to turn it into a Sensory Table. They will show it to precocious Scarlet when she visits. “When will that be?” Aunt Rosanna inquires. She tempts, “The sand table and swings await you, dear Scarlet!”
Rosanna gets full support for her life-defining endeavor from the Henares and Angeles families. Even Renaissance Man Larry Henares gets involved in motivating the teachers. He made their day by treating the Wednesday therapists to candies last Halloween, but ended up eating all the chocomallows!
Rosanna and her teachers’ attitude towards what she calls her vocation is summed up in the words she shares with her teachers: “Give them your gift! Make sure that each time they walk out your door, they should be a little more ready to face the world.”
Rosanna shares, “Usually we have mixed feelings about saying goodbye. Mostly they are happy thoughts because once you couldn’t communicate and now you can. We will always love you, David!”
And Vigo, who is 17, now has gained a workable degree of independence of action and self-assurance. He’s on his way to adulthood.
For inquiries, the TalkActive Therapy Center is at 903A Timog St. Barangka Drive, Mandaluyong City (just over the bridge from Rockwell Makati). Contact them through landline 6350133 and mobile 09556894686.

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