logo2.gif (14532 bytes) Joey

 

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Natural Communication, Inc.
P.O.Box 36412  
Canton, OH  44708
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Born prematurely, Joey and his twin brother, Tony, were labeled as "high risk" for a hearing loss. Mandated testing led to Joey's diagnosis of a severe-profound hearing loss by the age of four months. Joey was aided at five months and we immersed ourselves in the search for the best way to teach our baby son language.

After visiting area schools with oral and total communication (TC) programs for kids who are hearing impaired, we decided to begin TC with Joey to provide him with the most options for language development. At the same time, we read all the literature we could find. One book, Learning to Listen, stood out from the rest as it presented promise of typical language development -- even for a child with a profound hearing loss. A complicated search for my own copy of this book eventually led me to speak to the author, Louise Crawford, who encouraged me to pursue the auditory-verbal approach with Joey. A follow-up phone call with Dr. Carol Flexer of the University of Akron filled me with the hope I needed to believe that Joey could learn to listen and speak. Among the encouraging words that I clung to that day, Dr. Flexer told me that "Joey can hear you through his hearing joeyaud.jpg (50281 bytes)aids--you must believe that!" and "The only limitations that Joey has are the expectations placed on him." Now, nine years later, I still find inspiration in those words and I know that they are indeed true.

Formal auditory-verbal sessions began for Joey when he was six months old. We met with a professional auditory-verbal therapist twice per week and had an hour lesson at home (with Tony) on the other days. At first, lessons consisted of many repetitions of common early words (i.e., up, down, dog, cat, open, close). In just a few months, we began to see some understanding--Joey recognized his name and became excited when we referred to his favorite toy. We knew that the groundwork that we had hoped for was being laid; Joey's language skills were, in fact, developing age-appropriately.

Joey is currently eight years old and is mainstreamed in second grade in our local parochial school. His schoolwork has been excellent, but he would rather discuss his latest accomplishment in soccer or baseball. He is also very social, a trait that I believe was enhanced by his constant companions--his brother, Tony, and his sister, Gina (one year younger). Our last three years of therapy have been with Dr. Don Goldberg where we now focus on more difficult listening skills (e.g., listening in noise, telephone), tougher speech sounds, and, as always, concepts and vocabulary. And, Joey still jumps in the car to head to Don's. Thanks to our early start, continued regular therapy sessions, Joey's hard work, and most importantly, a lot of blessings, the possibilities for Joey are indeed limitless.

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This site was last updated 05/25/07