Susan Hammon, Centennial Park AZ

You made a difference in a life of a child and I Thank You from the bottom of my heart.
Dear Kerstin Oquist,

I wanted to take a moment and thank you for all your efforts in helping my son Logan achieve verbal communication.

When I think back at the time we met, my son Logan was 3 years old and had no verbal communication. You worked with him for 2 summers and 2 school years (2001-2003) in the special needs preschool without achieving much progress in speech acquisition, during which time we relied on American Sign Language as a bridge for Logan to communicate with others.

You did not give up on Logan. By the second school year, you had concluded his speech problem might be one of apraxia of speech. After you shared this idea with me, I did some research and found a conference for us to attend in Phoenix, Arizona (over 400 miles away) to try to find some answers and direction. In January 2003, we both attended the PHX AZ Differential Diagnosis and Treatment of Childhood Apraxia of Speech -Presented by The Bruce & Patricia Hendricks Foundation and the Childhood Apraxia of Speech of North America. The presenter was Dr. Strand of the Mayo Clinic. The conference was amazing. Finally we had a glimpse of what Logan’s speech challenges might be classified. We were on our way to learn specific motor planning speech therapy he would need to make progress in acquiring speech.

The next 6 years Logan met with you for speech therapy at least twice a week in the school setting and privately at your home practice in his journey to acquire verbal communication. During this time, you coordinated with the Speech Therapists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for the most consistent Apraxia of Speech therapy.

Logan is now 19 years old and graduated from High School. He is a verbal communicator. His speech is understood by most people. He would not be where he is today without his amazing team of educators, speech therapists, family and friends and their efforts to help him achieve verbal communication.

Thank you for your persistence, your knowledge and most of all your passion for Logan’s success. You have followed his progress even when he transitioned out of your school system. You made a difference in a life of a child and I Thank You from the bottom of my heart.

Logan’s Mom Susan, September 19, 2017

Danielle Hyer, St George UT

Kerstin was able to unlock a world to my son that seemed impossible
Kerstin changed my son's life. Our family has been blessed enough to be able to home school our children, and our oldest son learned to read without any real effort. So, we were stumped when our second son struggled with just learning his letter sounds. In fact, we worked with him for over two years with no progress. We were searching for a solution, and we found Kerstin when my son was 7 years old.

Due to Kerstin's unique personality and abilities, she was able to unlock a world to my son that seemed impossible. After just a few sessions of working with her, my son's confidence in his abilities exploded. His mind become a flowerbed for reading. Kerstin just planted the seeds and required my son to do the rest of the work. She provided him with every tool he needed, and instructed him in how to use those tools. But, she never did anything for him that he could do for himself.

Through small and simple things, they were able to accomplish great thing together. In less than 3/4 of a year my son went from not being able to understand letter sounds to being able to read and fully comprehend any text that was placed before him. In addition to being a very capable reader, he can spell like a champ.

Nicole Kerby, Lehi UT

“I always loved how she made me feel smart, like I could do anything I wanted to!”
My son spent the first year and a half of his life unable to hear properly due to constant fluid on his ears and multiple ear infections. Due to this he was very delayed in his speech development.  I was very concerned that at the age of 2 he still wasn’t communicating well and everything he said appeared as mumbling. I had him tested for programs at the school to see if they could help, but each time he was tested I was told he didn’t qualify for help. The school district assured me that as he grew his speech would improve. Sadly this wasn’t the case.

Over the next few years he started talking more but still couldn’t pronounce and enunciate his words. People couldn’t understand him and I began to grow frustrated and very discouraged. I felt completely helpless and didn’t know how to help my son. I sent him to Kindergarten but I soon realized he was going to need a lot of extra help with his speech and reading. That is when my mom directed me to a friend and neighbor Kerstin Oquist. After Kerstin tested him, she explained why everyone else said he was fine. She told us exactly what was wrong, and the best news was that she could help my son.

We live in Northern Utah and we took my son to Kerstin on any breaks we had during the school year. She was great to work with our schedule. When the summer came we took him down once a month. He would work with her sometimes two times a day for the duration while we were visiting the area. One thing that I felt was particularly of help to my son was that she would explain how the sounds were formed in the mouth. She helped us to learn the methods she used and we were able to repeat the exercises at home.

We worked with Kerstin for just over two years. She not only gave us the instruction and tools to help our son at home. She also gave me the understanding to be able to go into my son’s teachers at his school and explain to them how he learned differently from other kids. Mrs. Oquist knew how my son learned and how to explain things to him on his level.

When I asked my son what his favorite thing was about working with Kerstin he said, “I always loved how she made me feel smart, like I could do anything I wanted too!” Now my son is reading on grade level. Something that I worried he would never be able to achieve. He speaks very clearly and well enough for all to understand. He is one of the best readers in his class, and has some of the best pronunciation because of the techniques and tools that Mrs. Oquist taught him during the time he spent with her.

I wholeheartedly recommend Kerstin Oquist to anyone who is seeking help from a speech pathologist. She has truly helped change the life and future of my son. I believe that he learned more than just how to speak clearly; he built self-esteem and confidence that has remained with him.