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Natural Communication, Inc.
P.O.Box 36412  
Canton, OH  44708
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Mark was first diagnosed deaf at 8 months. We took Mark to a hospital for testing. They said that Mark's hearing loss was so severe that even with hearing aids, he would never speak in sentences. He would communicate through lipreading and sign language. He would never go to a  conventional school. Devastated, we sought a second opinion.

Today, Mark is an eighth grader at St. Vincent Elementary School with his siblings. He has been attending classes with hearing children since nursery school. It's quite a long way from first being told he wouldn't speak in sentences.

Mark was mainstreamed into school because he learned to listen through the auditory-verbal method of communication. With this technique, Mark is encouraged to use what little hearing he has to learn to listen. We learned this method from Dr. Carol Flexer at the University of Akron.

Hearing aids serve only to amplify what little sound Mark can hear. To teach him to listen then to speak, Dr. Flexer taught us how to use the auditory-verbal approach and how to shield my lips with my hand Mark's audiogramso Mark could not watch my mouth and lipread.

Therapy started when Mark was one. I talked non-stop everyday, but a year passed before he spoke back. The payoff came one day when we were at the grocery store and I got the children snacks at the snack bar. Mark accidentally spilled his drink on himself. Mark said, "All wet!" From that moment on, language seemed to flow.

We also made three annual trips to the Beebe Center in Easton, PA, an auditory-verbal clinic. At the clinic we worked with excellent therapists such as Helen Beebe, Dr. Don Goldberg, Diane McKitish, and Pam Talbot. They helped us along the way.

When I look back at the very beginning and I see what he can do now, it makes me very happy. I didn't doubt that Mark would be able to talk--I doubted that I would be able to teach him. And if I did it, you can too!

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This site was last updated 05/25/07