The house call still exists. Speech therapist Kelly Engebo is starting an in-home practice that will help children who may be overlooked by insurance companies.
Speech therapy can go beyond helping fix a lisp or overcoming a stutter, Engebo, 37, of Longview said.
"Unfortunately, a lot of the times, pediatric speech therapy isn't covered under insurance," she said. "A lot of (the therapy) has to do with children understanding language, their vocabulary and ability to describe things, and a big area is pragmatic social language."
Insurance companies will cover children with learning disabilities and severe speech impediments, but they rarely cover children who have trouble understanding how to coherently tell a story or interact socially with peers.
Engebo intends to be the community stopgap for children and teens with her $50 once-a-week sessions.
"Age-appropriate communication is important for social and academic success," Engebo said. "And it carries over to their self-esteem."
She spent five years at an outpatient clinic in Mount Vernon and recently wrapped up five years at Early Choice Pediatric Therapy in Vancouver before starting her in-home practice.
"At some point, I knew I'd like to try things on my own and have a different family model," she said about traveling to patients' homes. "Therapy puts demands on them to try new skills. At least (at home), they're in a comfortable environment."
Engebo is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and has a Certificate of Clinical Competence, a nationally recognized therapy credential. She has a master's degree in speech therapy from Western Washington.
Madeleine Siler took her two adopted children to Engebo while she was at Early Choice and marveled at how far they had come after their sessions with her.
Her 15-year-old son was 9 when he began therapy. He had trouble sequencing sentences and completely understanding language; he was barley able to write two or three sentences. By the time Engebo left the clinic, he was able to write up to a page.
"It helped the kids immensely," Siler said. "She has a great personality with the kids, and you can tell she really cares."
Engebo says she's ready to help others on her own.
"This is a niche that works for me, and it's one that's needed in the community."
Engebo is available by appointment on weekdays and weekends. Call 360-425-8139, 360-751-4391 or visit www.KellyEngebo.com for more information.
• Elizabeth Myntti, program manager of CAP's Financial Independence Center, recently received an award for her work helping families build assets and achieve greater financial stability.
The award was presented at the Washington Asset Building Coalition's Asset Building and Strengthening Communities Conference in June.
Myntti started CAP's financial education program in 2001. In 2003, she introduced MoneySmart classes, which are available to the public. That same year, she spearheaded and coordinated the development of the Cowlitz Assets Building Coalition. From 2006 to 2011, she co-chaired the State Financial Education Enhancement Team.
In 2009, Myntti coordinated Bank on Cowlitz County, one of eight U.S. Treasury pilot projects to help people get access to traditional banking products and services.
She is managing another new pilot program, Building Assets for Fathers and Families (BAFF), which works with noncustodial parents to achieve financial stability and fulfill their responsibilities to their children.
• Three community business leaders have joined the CAP Foundation board of directors.
Heather Snyder is chairwoman of the Marketing Committee. She is the owner of Adtopia, which provides marketing and advertising for credit unions nationwide as well as Cowlitz County-based businesses.
Dean Piotrowski is chairman of the Finance Committee. He is vice president/commercial banking officer with Columbia Bank's Longview commercial team.
Gerald Flaskerud has been in the real estate business in Cowlitz County for 37 years. He is the principal managing broker of the Coldwell Banker Bain Real Estate Office.