Meet Sonia Tambriz
With her contagious laughter, Sonia is a bright light to everyone around her. All it takes is one look and she will make your heart smile. Even though her 22 years of life haven’t been perfect, she refuses to be anything less than optimistic. Sonia has persevered through many trials in her life, which have earned her the nickname “the fighter.” As an infant she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, which causes many challenges for her and her family. Although her family tried very hard to support Sonia and provide the care she needed, their financial situation prevented them from doing so. At 9 years old, Sonia was admitted into Virgen Del Socorro to receive the care she needed.
Sonia is a girl who emanates joy all the time. Since she came to our home we’ve seen her progress with her ability to communicate, but it was always difficult for us to understand her. As a result of her condition her speech is affected, causing difficulty in achieving her goals.
Caregiver at Virgen del Socorro
As a result of Sonia’s cerebral palsy, she has several physical disabilities including partial paralysis, which confines her to a wheelchair. Her paralysis heavily impacts her speech causing misarticulation. Being aware of her limitations, Sonia was scared to speak in social situations , fearing she might be judged for her speech.
I love talking to people but they couldn’t understand what I was saying to them. At school my classmates sometimes preferred not to work with me because they didn’t understand me. That hurt me a lot.
During one of his trips to Guatemala the CEO of CompleteSpeech, Dave Larsen, met Sonia at the Virgen del Socorro home. He could see her joyful spirit and her earnest desire to improve her speech. After learning more of her story, Dave felt the need to help Sonia. She was one of the first selected to receive a sponsorship from FAST to begin speech therapy through CompleteSpeech at Obras Sociales Del Santo Hermano Pedro.
When Sonia told me she would be sponsored by FAST to start receiving speech therapy, I was very excited for her. I know what she’s gone through, and seeing her progress with her speech is a joy for us all.
Sonia’s paralysis caused many obstacles at the beginning of therapy. She had trouble controlling the movement of her tongue and couldn’t pronounce a majority of sounds. What made the biggest difference for Sonia was the live visual feedback from the SmartPalate. She was able to understand and see what she needed to do in a way she had never experienced before After lots of practice Sonia gained more control of her tongue and began improving her articulation.
When I started working with Sonia, it was very difficult to understand what she was saying. But after 6 months of treatment with the SmartPalate, her speech improved by 50%. She learned very fast and although she sometimes failed she never lost her enthusiasm to continue.
Carla, CompleteSpeech Therapist
At the end of 2016, Sonia’s speech had improved drastically. People could understand what she was saying, and Sonia was given the confidence she needed to interact with others. Sonia has defied all expectations. All her hard work has finally paid off. If this wasn’t a big enough accomplishment, Sonia is now currently attending college and is studying business administration. No wonder her friends call her “the fighter.”
No one imagined that someday I would be a college student. At one point, I came to think the same thing. Thanks to the people who sponsored me I can speak better and be understood. I know now that I can do anything that I set my mind to.