Always Moving Forward Natasha Killeen-Wings (left) and John M. Sample. Natasha Killeen-Wings is an exceptional 20-year-old woman. She was born in Melitopol, Ukraine, six years after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, with a complete bilateral cleft lip and palate. She and her older sister, also with a cleft lip and palate, were adopted ... First Person on the Last Page
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First Person on the Last Page  |   August 01, 2012
Always Moving Forward
Author Notes
  • John M. Samples, PhD, CCC-SLP, is a private practitioner and executive director of the Scottish Rite Children’s Language and Learning Center in Santa Rosa, California. Contact him at talkdok@yahoo.com.
    John M. Samples, PhD, CCC-SLP, is a private practitioner and executive director of the Scottish Rite Children’s Language and Learning Center in Santa Rosa, California. Contact him at talkdok@yahoo.com.×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / School-Based Settings / International & Global / Language Disorders / Reading & Writing Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / First Person on the Last Page
First Person on the Last Page   |   August 01, 2012
Always Moving Forward
The ASHA Leader, August 2012, Vol. 17, 47. doi:10.1044/leader.FPLP.17102012.47
The ASHA Leader, August 2012, Vol. 17, 47. doi:10.1044/leader.FPLP.17102012.47
Natasha Killeen-Wings (left) and John M. Sample.
Natasha Killeen-Wings is an exceptional 20-year-old woman. She was born in Melitopol, Ukraine, six years after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, with a complete bilateral cleft lip and palate. She and her older sister, also with a cleft lip and palate, were adopted by a California family.
Natasha and I met when she was 5 years old, and we embarked on a long speech treatment relationship. Her wonderful and supportive parents, as well as Natasha, and I have become friends over the years. She has endured 21 lip and palate surgeries, including three pharyngeal procedures, and four dental surgeries. Natasha also has been diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder and language/learning disabilities, specifically reading problems. Attending the Scottish Rite Children’s Language and Learning Center in Santa Rosa, California, improved her language/learning disabilities. She was in special education classes and received her high school certificate of completion.
Self-improvement always has been foremost in her mind, and this focus has led her to become a hip-hop performer and a winner of several basketball and soccer Special Olympics events (she’s a state champion in swimming).
Natasha continues today to attend speech treatment for consistent speech improvement. Just recently she was notified that she has been accepted to the pilot veterinarian assistant program at the nearby junior college. Only 20 were selected out of 100 applicants, which speaks volumes for her speech intelligibility, her abilities, and her future.
I never totally realized the significance of my role in helping Natasha achieve this last goal until her mother told me to “share the glory.” Her parents are grateful for my ability to change Natasha’s lifestyle. So now I can stand back and tell Natasha how proud I am of her.
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August 2012
Volume 17, Issue 10