Callier Helped Put Client on Path to Her Dreams

Center Provided Cochlear Implant Services and Speech-Language Therapy

Oct. 30, 2008

Kate Kitsumritphol is like most college freshmen. She’s busy going to classes, studying for exams and adjusting to life 1,400 miles from home. But unlike most of her classmates, Kate received some extra help from the UT Dallas Callier Center for Communication Disorders.

Shortly before Kate’s first birthday, doctors discovered she had profound hearing loss. She was living overseas at the time, but her parents  brought her back to Texas, where they believed she would have more opportunities for school and speech-language therapy.

As a very young child, Kate used a hearing aid, which allowed her to hear speech sounds so that she could develop spoken language, but it did not let her hear all of the sounds necessary for optimal speech communication. Her parents agreed that a cochlear implant might be a better option.

In 1995, Kate visited the Callier Center for a pre-surgical evaluation. The audiologists at Callier conducted thorough hearing and speech-language evaluations to determine whether Kate was a candidate for a cochlear implant. The audiologists also provided her family with information about the benefits a cochlear implant might provide their child.

The audiologists determined that Kate was a candidate for a cochlear implant, and in January 1996, Dr. Peter Roland, otolaryngologist with UT Southwestern Medical Center, performed the surgery.

“Everything sounded so clear that I couldn’t believe my ears,” said Kate. “Unlike with the hearing aid, there was no static at all; it was if my ears had been fully opened for the first time.”

After the surgery, Kate started school at Arapaho Elementary, where she also received speech therapy. She found that her cochlear implant gave her more confidence communicating with her teachers and classmates, and with a lot of hard work and determination, Kate excelled academically.

Because of her success in the classroom, Kate was accepted to be a member of the class of 2012 at Stanford University. She wanted to make the adjustment to life at Stanford “as smooth and painless” as possible, so she decided to visit the Callier Center and pursue additional therapy services to help with her speech intelligibility.

Berkley Williams, speech-language pathologist, worked closely with Kate by helping her improve the way she facilitates communication with other people. “Our goal was to make Kate’s speech sound more natural, fluent and intelligible, said Williams. “Part of Kate’s therapy was to walk around the Callier Center and talk to people. The people provided feedback about what they could and could not understand.”

Kate was committed to her therapy and practiced the new communication techniques at home. Williams also videotaped Kate throughout the therapy so that she could see and hear how she was communicating.

Williams met with Kate for a total of 12, 45-minute sessions. Kate received assistance from the Callier Care Fund, which helped to subsidize the cost of treatment services.

“I am forever grateful to all the people who made my surgery possible,” said Kate. “The therapy I received at Callier has given me the confidence I needed to make a successful transition to college life.”


Media Contacts: Debra Brown, UT Dallas, (214) 905-3049, debra@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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Callier Center

The Callier Center is a member of the Dallas Cochlear Implant Program, a collaboration between The University of Texas at Dallas, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and Children’s Medical Center.

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