Working with young children who have communication disorders is a passion for Chelcey Edwards.
That passion led the Walterboro native to write a book, “I Am Blessed,” to help ages 2-8 learn to read, meet developmental milestones and learn in a format that makes reading fun and lovable.
“That’s why I created this book, to help engage younger audiences because their attention spans are so short. And trying to give them materials and resources they can use in real life,” Edwards said.
Her inspiration for the book was her daughter, now 3 years old. “Being a mother, I wanted to make sure she met her developmental milestones and make sure I was giving her the same quality and time that I’m giving my clients,” she said. “And secondly, as a speech pathologist, I’ve found it’s so hard finding fun activities that will engage children with their short attention spans at that age. I wanted to find a fun way for them to learn.”
In her job at Communication Corner Therapy Services based in Columbia, Edwards works with young children (and up to age 18) throughout the Lowcountry to establish speech and language skills, receptive an expressive language, social communication, cognitive development and swallowing, which is a common problem she encounters.
“I want to help them verbally communicate their wants and needs, making sure they’re eating and swallowing appropriately,” she said.
And she loves it. “Seeing the mothers and fathers so happy that their child can say one word. Or their child is able to eat. It’s so rewarding. It really makes me want to cry. It’s a passion and ministry for me,” she said.
She started her career as a CNA, working at a nursing home for 10 years. She initially wanted to be a physical therapist after helping take care of her disabled God-father. But then she realized how hard physical therapy is on the body and met a mentor who encouraged her to try speech pathology. She eventually got her B.A. and master’s degrees in speech pathology from S.C. State University.
And now she’s an author. “I want to encourage writers. There’s a need. Write about something you know and have a passion for, something that’s going to change the constantly evolving world. Reach out to the younger generation and get books out there. Technology is awesome but it takes away from the basic need to communicate. However, there’s nothing like having a book — where each flip of the page explores your imagination,” Edwards said.
“I Am Blessed” is available online at jewelsfunbox.com and Amazon. Shiela Keaise of the Colleton County Memorial Library is making a video with Edwards about teaching children at home. “Learning begins at home,” Edwards said. The place where she started with her parents, Florrie and Joseph Edwards, in Walterboro.