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Lions, Tigers and Bears Lessen Distraction and Increase Interaction for Speech Students at Neveln Center

Posted on 01/17/2018 at 04:24 PM by Julie McCarty

What do you do when you need to lessen distraction and increase interaction in a room where young students receive speech therapy?

You collaborate to make it happen!

Heartland AEA speech-language pathologists such as Gayle Ver Helst provide speech therapy to preschool students in a space in the Neveln Center in Ankeny. The Neveln Center is a former school that houses not-for-profit tenants that serve the needs of area families and community members. Heartland AEA speech-language pathologists provide services in a reconfigured part of the building that now has glass walls. Little eyes can become easily distracted when they can see everything going on beyond those walls, and families don’t always have the desired amount of privacy in such a space.

In order to make the space more accommodating for the students and their families, Ver Helst worked with the Heartland AEA Operations, Creative Services and Communications Departments to have 10, 4-foot vinyl panels designed, printed and placed on the space’s glass walls. The panels feature photos of children and animals at the zoo and are big, bright and bold. The finished product has been a win-win for students and families and is a great showcase of the creative efforts of the Agency’s Creative Services Department.

“The intended purpose was to provide privacy for families and reduce visual distractions for kiddos as our new area is a large room divided into three spaces to work with preschoolers and a larger meeting space,” Ver Helst said. “It is not uncommon to have a meeting going at the same time as one or two providers are working with students. This was both distracting for students and not the most private for families.

“The zoo panels serve the purpose of reducing that visual distraction as well as provide a more confidential space to meet and work with children and their families. In addition, the animals are large, colorful and fun! Our preschool friends are very interested in looking at and talking about the animals, which is an added bonus since they are with us to work on communication skills. One of the pictures is of a child feeding a giraffe, and just today I had a student who told me a whole story about his experience of feeding a giraffe at the zoo.”

If you want to add colorful vinyl graphics to your spaces, contact Heartland AEA Creative Services at

Tagged As: Creative Services

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