The needs in our valley don’t stop for a pandemic: Meet Ryker


Ryker is a 9-year-old from Selah who receives services at Children’s Village. He is nonverbal. This time last year Ryker used picture cards, pointing, grunting, and pulled his family to things he wanted. His speech therapist at Children’s Village recommended a communication device for Ryker and for the past year they have worked every week to teach Ryker to use the device to help express how he is feeling, what he wants, where he wants to go, what he did or ate, etc. The device is very similar to an iPad.

Ryker’s grandma Dawn recounted how their family ate out for dinner and she asked Ryker what he wanted. “He was looking at the menu, which didn’t have any photos, so I let him know the choices and that he would need to use his communication device to order what he wanted. He scrolled through his device and picked a cheese burger picture.” When Dawn asked him if he wanted anything on it Ryker went straight to the condiments section and selected the ketchup and pickles buttons. “Then he found the button for fries and hit that as well!” When the server came for their orders, Dawn hit the sentence button on the device so Ryker could communicate what he wanted to order. “She was very impressed with Ryker and how he was able to tell her exactly what he wanted and how he wanted it.” 

Because of speech therapy through Children’s Village and access to his communication device, Ryker has a voice. Without his device, Dawn explains that Ryker wouldn’t be able to tell his family about his day or what he wants to eat. He has come so far and is learning more every day. Dawn does not believe Ryker would be where he is today if it was not for the services he has received through Children’s Village.

Parents and guardians of children with special health care needs are transitioning to tele-medicine care with their providers at Children’s Village. The needs in our valley for more than 6,000 children who receive services annually at Children’s Village don’t stop for a pandemic. Continue to show your support for children’s health by giving to The Memorial Foundation today here.