My son Daniel was 2 ½ years old when he was diagnosed with bilateral moderate to severe hearing loss. It came as a shock to me and my husband, but it also answered a lot of questions – why he was wasn’t a
It is my great pleasure to share my personal story with the folks at the John Tracy Center and with families who have children living with hearing loss. JTC holds a special place in my heart, and I will forever be grateful for the role it has played in our lives.
My son Daniel was 2 ½ years old when he was diagnosed with bilateral moderate to severe hearing loss. It came as a shock to me and my husband, but it also answered a lot of questions – why he was wasn’t always responding to our voices, why he wasn’t picking up language at an age-appropriate pace, and why he was often frustrated with tasks throughout the day. Although I was grieving from the diagnosis, I made it my personal mission to find out everything I needed to know in order to help Danny. Fortunately, within a few months of Danny’s diagnosis I connected with a speech pathologist (MW) who had worked at the John Tracy Clinic years before. This fortuitist meeting turned out to be the key to establishing an auditory verbal learning style for Danny. MW believed in a philosophy of learning to listen and speak. She immediately connected us with the JTC distance learning program. This program gave us the tools we needed to augment the speech therapy Danny was receiving. The curriculum was easy to follow, with lessons that were both engaging and powerful. Danny began to thrive, and at this point MW strongly suggested we attend a multi-week summer session at JTC
The decision to participate in the JTC summer session remains one of the most important decisions I have ever made. I attended JTC with Danny for the three weeks and my husband and younger son joined us for the last two of those weeks. Although the term is often overused, it is no exaggeration to say this was a “life-changing” event for all of us.
From the moment we arrived I felt we were surrounded by professionals who could relate to everything we had been going through. The warm smiles and encouraging manner made us feel welcome right away. This amazing team of professionals at JTC consisted of top-notch speech therapists, audiologists, educators and psychologists. Every aspect of the program had been so carefully designed to maximize the learning for both parents and child. Meeting other parents in the program was a bonus. How refreshing it was to find others who were dealing with similar feelings and experiences!
We left JTC summer session with a new mindset. It was empowering to possess the knowledge, resources and support to navigate the path that lay ahead. We tapped into so many of the skills and tips we acquired that summer at JTC throughout Danny’s school career. As challenges arose, we found the strength to take them on and make changes in the system when necessary. Throughout his years in school, we used our knowledge from JTC to advocate for his educational needs. Although it sometimes required a little creative strategizing, Danny never let his hearing loss prevent him from participating in social events or sports like baseball, swim team, and wrestling. He enjoyed camping with Scouts and attending Space Camp in Alabama.
After years of hard work and determination Danny graduated from college with a degree in mechanical engineering, and soon after accepted a job working at Kennedy Space Center for NASA. Currently, he feels he has landed his dream job as an engineering liaison for the astronaut office, working in conjunction with astronauts and private space companies daily.
I believe attending JTC was a pivotal moment in our lives. This gem of a school offered our family the strength and support at a critical point in our journey. As the years have passed, I appreciate even more how instrumental JTC was in setting Danny up for a successful “launch!”