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Callier Advocates Celebrate Center’s Impact
Eighth Annual Luncheon Raises $333,000 for Patients in Need
May 6, 2019
Tiffin Hanna, featured speaker at the Callier Cares Luncheon, described how Callier Center programs have helped her daughter improve her communication skills.
For more than 50 years, The University of Texas at Dallas’ Callier Center for Communication Disorders has given children and adults with speech, language and hearing disorders the ability to connect, including 4-year-old Harper Hanna, who is nonverbal but is now learning to communicate her needs and wants to her mother.
At the eighth annual Callier Cares Luncheon, where more than 350 supporters raised approximately $333,000 to benefit patients in need, featured speaker Tiffin Hanna shared her journey to find help for her daughter.
Harper has Angelman syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes developmental delays, seizures, a lack of motor control, feeding issues and severe speech impairment.
“The few programs here that we have been a part of measure leaps and bounds above others when it comes to successful results and the education behind them. For everyone at the Callier Center, thank you for improving the quality of our daughter’s life.”
She had refused to eat solid foods or drink from a cup and received most of her nutrition through bottle and tube feedings. Hanna had taken Harper to see multiple therapists and had her try many feeding therapy programs, but nothing worked. Last summer, Hanna discovered Callier’s Supportive Treatment of Eating in Preschoolers (STEPS) program, which provides therapy for children with feeding disorders and hands-on training for their parents. After six weeks, Harper graduated from STEPS and now enjoys eating solid foods.
After STEPS, Harper joined Callier’s Communication Connection program for children who are nonverbal. Through this therapy, Harper is learning how to express herself using Pragmatic Organization Dynamic Display, an assistive device in a paper flipbook format containing symbols that she touches to communicate her needs and wants.
“The few programs here that we have been a part of measure leaps and bounds above others when it comes to successful results and the education behind them,” Hanna said. “For everyone at the Callier Center, thank you for improving the quality of our daughter’s life.”
The luncheon began with a video that features Callier friends and Foundation for the Callier Center trustees who highlight Callier’s three-part mission to transform the lives of children and adults with communication disorders through treatment, training and research.
Luncheon chair Beth Layton, underwriting chair Nancy Carter and honorary chairs Sharon and Mike McCullough led the effort to raise resources through the Callier Care Fund. Ruth and Ken Altshuler established the fund to ensure that children and adults could receive clinical care for communication disorders, regardless of their income level or insurance coverage.
Callier Care Award
The Callier Center presented the Ruth and Ken Altshuler Callier Care Award to Brent Christopher, president of Children’s Medical Center Foundation, which supports Children’s Health. The annual award recognizes an individual or group who has contributed significantly to the betterment of the community and to advancing the care of patients with communication disorders.
“Words aren’t sufficient to describe how honored and frankly how intimidated I am to receive an award bearing their names,” Christopher said. “But the fact that it’s connected to a fund that helps people facing hearing, speech and language disorders without regard to the ZIP code where they live and without regard to the size of their bank account, is beautifully typical of Ruth and Ken. Trying to live up to that legacy will motivate and inspire me every single day.”
Dr. Thomas Campbell, the Ludwig A. Michael, MD, Executive Director of the Callier Center and Sara T. Martineau Professor, presented Dr. Steven Barlow with the biennial Callier Prize in Communication Disorders, which honors individuals for their leadership in fostering scientific advances and significant developments in the diagnosis and treatment of communication disorders.
“I want to extend a deep thanks to the Callier Center, to the review committee, and all of those that are involved in this outstanding gathering in recognition of academics, of research and clinical service in the areas of communication disorders,” said Barlow, a neurobiological scientist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who developed the NTrainer System, which facilitates oral feeding skills and overall brain development in premature infants.