Alumni Success Story
Meet Clara, one of our shining stars! Clara is a 2007 graduate of Child’s Voice. Here is Clara’s story in her own words…
“I am 13 years old and going into eighth grade. I love school, cheerleading, and sports, including basketball, volleyball, dodgeball and tennis. I play the piano and have been taking lessons since third grade. I enjoy playing even though I hate to practice. I like to play new pop songs like “Brave” by Sara Bareilles. I recently took part in my school play, and really enjoyed the feeling of being on stage.
I was born with bilateral, severe to profound, sensorineural hearing loss. I was diagnosed at 19 months of age. My parents were shocked at the news of my hearing loss and unsure where to begin to learn about hearing loss and who to turn to for education. Being a child with a hearing loss in a hearing world came with a huge amount of uncertainty of how I would communicate with them, my family, my community, my world. They knew they wanted me to have a chance at hearing and speaking so I began wearing hearing aids at just 19 months. Once they decided oral communication was the right choice for me and our family they searched for the most optimal learning environments and found Child’s Voice.
Once they toured the school they had new hope for me to learn to speak and be an oral communicator. Mom says Child’s Voice was the light at the end of the tunnel for her and dad. As they walked the hallways of the school and heard all these little voices coming from all classrooms, they had tremendous hope for me to speak one day. I started immediately in the EI/Toddler Program at age 2 and remained through Kindergarten.
According to my mom, I was not talking before I entered Child’s Voice, but after one year of being enrolled at the school I was talking, using short phrases, responding to questions and had more than 200 words in my vocabulary. In July of 2004, I received my first cochlear implant and then my implant for the other ear in 2008.
I remember being very comfortable at Child’s Voice, making many friends and that I loved my teachers. Mom said I flourished at the school, continuing to improve in my speech and language and closing the gap each year, even catching up with my brother and peers. My mom said it was so comforting to them to have teachers who specialized in oral communication, and who were so caring and nurturing. It was also where my mom met other parents who shared similar aspirations and who became a great network of friends and support.
When I left Child’s Voice and entered St. Joan of Arc in first grade, my mom said my teachers were in awe of my speech and language, reading, and math levels. She said I was confident and used self advocacy skills to help me in the classroom.
I still talk about my Child Voice days and the funny things I remember like really wanting the candy in the jar but I knew I had to say the word on the picture card to earn it. I remember singing in Mrs. Jeanette’s room, all the friends I made and playing in the playground. My mom says she remembers watching me shop in Mrs. Elsa’s room and then unloading my cart stating each item I chose.
My teachers gave me the ability to find my voice. They gave me the tools and strategies to be successful for the rest of my life. They gave me the support we needed. My parents will be forever grateful.