TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - If you meet Francie Kate Foote, 2, you could not tell that she hardly spoke for the first 20 months of her life before finding her voice with help from those at the Regional Rehabilitation Center in Tupelo.
Francie Kate receives speech therapy services from Kamme Riddle.
"When she first started, there was some frustration. She wasn't really saying much anything," Riddle said.
This frustration came from herself, her family and having her needs met.
When Francie Kate started receiving therapy at 20-months-old, she had about a six-month delay, according to Riddle.
"Her delay was pretty much exclusively expressive language," Riddle said. "Everything else was fine. She just wasn't talking."
"She wasn't talking very much at all at first," Francie Kate's mother, Amelia Foote, said. "Maybe [saying] Mama, Daddy and Bubba."
Amelia said she grew up in Tupelo and had heard of the Regional Rehabilitation Center, and she had other family members receive some of their services. However, she said ultimately it was through the facility's Early Intervention Program that introduced her family and Francie Kate to the Regional Rehabilitation Center.
"Through that program, you have to have a 33 percent delay in one area to qualify for therapy," Riddle said.
With a six-month delay, Francie Kate qualified for speech therapy services.
"She has done so good in therapy," Riddle said. "She is always ready to jump down here and play."
Each session begins with Francie Kate greeting Riddle in the lobby.
"[Francie Kate] runs back here and I kind of let her usually lead the session as far as choosing what she wants to do," Riddle said.
While it appears to be play time to Francie Kate, Riddle is working to improve her speech and language. Riddle allows Francie Kate to lead each session by letting her choose what toys, books and games she wants to play.
"She repeats the words that Francie Kate says and adds a word to it so that Francie Kate knows that Kamme understands what she's saying," Amelia said. "And then she builds on that also."
"I don't think she ever really notices we're doing anything but playing," Riddle said.
"Now she talks a lot and sings and maybe says some words kind of funny," Amelia said. "But she still talks way more than she was when we first started."
Amelia said the free therapy services the Regional Rehabilitation Center offers is an invaluable service to her family. To give back, the Foote family offers free landscape services to the facility through their family-owned business.
To see more stories about how the Regional Rehabilitation Center is changing lives like the Foote family's, you can watch our Celebration of Hope Telethon.
It will air Sunday, November 11 from 1-3 p.m. on ABC-WTVA.