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The Gift of Speech

Dragonfly Pediatric Speech Therapy helps local kids open up, communicate, and engage with the world

Article by Hannah Echols

Photography by Jolie Rodriguez Photography

Originally published in Parker Lifestyle

Most businesses are formed with the intention to make the world a better place. Entrepreneurs recognize a problem, and they offer a solution. In order to grow, they must take risks and surpass the confines of what was previously known to be possible. It’s a metamorphosis. This is the heart and soul behind Dragonfly Pediatric Speech Therapy. Dragonfly serves a diverse population of children, from birth to eighteen, who have any sort of speech or language delay. Their goal is to see their kids open up, communicate, and engage with the world to their full potential. And much like Dragonfly’s young pupils, the business is succeeding and transforming at an accelerated rate.

Jessica Gates opened Dragonfly right before she had her third son. Her business was growing steadily, but then the pandemic hit. Jessica referred all of her clients out to her contractors, which left her with less income. So, she got innovative. She created sensory bins (tactile containers used to calm and engage children that may include things like sand, dry beans, or colorful beads.) She hopped from daycare room to park to building in order to comply with restrictions and provide a safe place for her clients to meet.

At first, people were cautious, and business was slow. Meanwhile, kids were in and out of school, so they weren’t receiving their regular speech services. It wasn’t long before the need became too much for families. Private clients started flooding in.

To accommodate the burgeoning need, Jessica and her team created several speech and language groups that happen throughout the week. They range from parent and toddler groups to preschoolers and elementary-aged children. There have been several camps throughout the summer as well, including one at Peachy Farms where children and parents had the opportunity to spend time playing with animals and learning hands-on science. Jessica meets regularly with parents to ensure that they are an active part of their child’s journey. 

“We are very family-focused. We involve parents with the sessions so that they can take that and do the same things at home,” Jessica says. “I send photos and videos for my parents who can’t come.”

As things continue to open up, Jessica is eager to get back into the community. She notes that there are several 18-month to two-year-olds that have speech delays because the pandemic hindered their access to social settings which are critical for language acquisition and development.

Whether they’re out and about in Parker, conducting private sessions, or leading focus groups, the Dragonfly team is committed to serving Parker’s families for the long haul.

“I didn’t think we’d be in this place, but it makes me so happy to know we’re giving Parker what it needed,” Jessica says.

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