LITTLE ROCK, Ark.– Two speech-language pathologists are providing speech therapy on wheels.
The Chatterbus travels to different areas and catches the eye of school-aged children with its monkey bars, tent, swing, crafts and more, all used to give speech therapy. Suzanne Howard’s sons came home from school one day, and she knew she had to learn more.
“My sons came home and talked about the fun little things they did on the Chatterbus — they didn’t even talk about school that day,” Howard said.
Being a speech pathologist herself, Howard knows how important therapy is. So she sent her son out to the Chatterbus stop.
“I just know how important early intervention is, and him being almost 4, I just wanted to kind of get ahead of the game,” Howard said.
The Chatterbus has crafts, a sensory box and story time; this week’s theme is the circus.
The ringmasters of the Chatterbus, Kelly Truby and Natalie Huggins, created the vehicle during Covid.
“We thought of this idea of being able to reach our kids at their house, but not having to go into the home, but for them to come into the bus and still get their therapy and have fun,” Truby said.
They both have a love for kids and a passion for early intervention.
“Watching them go from simple sounds and putting sounds together to putting words together, it’s just so incredible to watch,” Huggins said.
With the goal of reaching kids outside of central Arkansas with less access to therapy, the Chatterbus has some road trips in its future.
“There’s nothing better than seeing a child grow or seeing a child be able to speak to their parents, or even seeing from the parents’ side when they hear their child speak, or say ‘mama’ or ‘dada’ for the first time when they haven’t heard that, it’s the best feeling in the world,” Truby said.
Huggins followed that with, “It’s such a good feeling.”
Howard’s sons have enjoyed their time in the bus and she has enjoyed it too.
“Just having them exposed to different things and being in a different environment, this is just so unique,” Howard said. “They get excited about just coming on the bus. I’m really just happy about this program and how accessible it is to us,”
If you’re interested in the Chatterbus, you can visit their website at ChatterBusOnTheGo.com.