Hard Work Pays Off For An Exceptional 5 Year Old

By KBJR News 1

April 14, 2012 Updated Apr 14, 2012 at 1:39 PM CDT

Duluth, MN - (Northland's NewsCenter) - An exceptional five-year old boy is getting some well deserved recognition for his hard work.

Payton Rodriguez from Elk River was awarded the Minnesota Speech- Language- Hearing Association's "2012 Client Recognition Award" today at the association's annual convention in Duluth.

Payton Rodriguez is a normal five year old boy...excited, fun loving...and full of energy.

But at three years old, Payton's family noticed he was not developing speech normally.

"He really wasn't putting sentences together like normal children were," says Payton's mother, Kara Rodriguez.

Since last September Payton has been seeing Becca, a speech therapist with the Minnesota Speech- Language- Hearing Association, twice a week for a half an hour to help him learn to communicate.

"He started working with his speech language pathologist and with his family. His family was a huge support in all of this. And by December and January he was speaking in sentences that were four words long, already in just a few short months he made that much progress," says Speech Language Pathologist at UMD, Lynette Carlson.

With his family by his side helping him take his therapy seriously, Payton continues to make great strides.

"He went from not being able to tell us how he feels or express what he wants to now being able to say I want this or I want that, he can express himself so much more right now that it's a complete turn around," says Payton's father, Nathan Bentz.

"We're so proud and excited for him and so proud of his family for all that they have done to help him grow as a communicator," Carlson says.

A communicator Payton's mom and dad are very proud of.

"The progress that he's made now in being here today, it can only go on from here and six months from now I can't even imagine where we're going to be," Bentz says.

And Payton just has one thing to say about it.

"Thank you Becca!"

The Client Recognition award acknowledges a client who has achieved significant improvements and commitment to their therapy.

Danyel Piecek