Finding his Voice

At six years old, Semyon was non-verbal. He would grunt and point and make other basic sounds to express his needs. The inability to express himself meant that he did not have any friends and that he spent a lot of his time feeling frustrated.

Frustration is a debilitating emotion. It causes the one feeling it have a sense of being trapped or confined. Semyon felt trapped by his limitations and therefore would often cry or shout and was rarely happy.

LifeChanger FSU came into Semyon’s life only several months before he was supposed to begin first grade. It was clear to the coordinator who came to meet him that he was not ready for school in any way.

“Being limited on time, we began intensive therapy and rehabilitation with Semyon,” said the coordinator.

Semyon was diagnosed with dyslexia, weak jaw muscles and developmental delay. Without LifeChanger FSU’s help, he would have been considered mentally incompetent and left at home to waste his life away. His challenges would never have been treated properly and he would have had a lonely and miserable life. This is the unfortunate reality for so many people from lower socio-economic families with special needs in Ukraine.


Semyon began intensive therapy with a speech therapist and psychologist. He also went to Equine-assisted therapy. He fell in love with the horses, they became his first friends. As Semyon learned to speak and express himself, he first tried his words out on the horses before he felt comfortable enough to speak with other people.

Semyon started studying with a tutor to prepare him for first grade.

It was a miracle to see Semyon walk into school on the first day of first grade. Thanks to LifeChanger FSU, he had a brand new backpack filled with all of the gear needed for a successful school year. He also was wearing brand new clothing and shoes and felt happy and comfortable.


School is tough for Semyon. He works harder than his peers to achieve the same goals. His tutor helps him with his school work and he continues to see his therapists. He has started second grade and is becoming more secure and confident in his ability to speak and he has made several good friends.

Semyon is on a path to success. With continued therapy and support, he can learn to speak fluently, study hard and have a wholesome and happy childhood along with his peers.

Semyon, along with other children who are living in dire circumstances, can use your support. Help LifeChanger FSU give them the help they need to survive, thrive and grow up to be happy and successful members of the community.