My name is Mariana and I would like to share our story. Our son, Jack, is now 7 and that’s him in the image above. He was diagnosed with bilateral profound senso neural hearing loss at 7 months of age. I never could have predicted how we would end up here or I would end up working with other families. This is our journey….
He was implanted at 14 months and started speech services right away. By the time he was 2, we realized he had a big delay in his communication skills and were faced with tough decisions. Mind you, we live in Farmland, IN… yes, that is actually the name of the town! We tried and tried to get local services that had the specialized skills needed to help our son, but like many rural areas in the country, services are not available and children like Jack go without the support they need.
We were referred to the iHear program from St. Joseph’s school for the Deaf and we decided to give it a go! I was born and raised in Mexico and, common within the Hispanic culture, I care a lot about having an organized home. We started receiving iHear services when Jack was a little over 2 years of age, and I can still remember those first sessions… getting used to talk to a stranger through the computer, the things that come to mind as a mother of young children! Is my house clean enough, can she notice that through the screen? how do you keep a toddler from hitting the keyboard? Water activities… wait……what do you mean by water activities? Ah, on the kitchen sink! I smile and shake my head as I think about those long, uncertain days!
Time goes by quick and 4 years later, Jack is a 7 year old little chatter box. One of our goals right now is to teach him to not talk so much all the time and learn to listen to his internal voice more often!! “Sharing is caring”, he has told me and we agree! “But sometime we need to wait for our friends to share with us!” I remind him.
Now my son is in Mainstream Kindergarten with 23 other kids in his classroom. He has spoken in front of his whole class about his Cochlear Implants and about Hispanic traditions like the Dia de Muertos. I wonder if we would have made it to this point without iHear? I wonder often about this.
Jack’s latest career of choice is to become and ENT with a specialty in Magic, so that he can make ear infections disappear with his magic wand. He wanted to be a ventriloquist all last year of Pre-school, he practiced really hard to learn to talk without moving his lips!
With both my children in school, I have had the opportunity to support Hispanic families in our State to access the same critical services that my son received. I find myself interpreting for a Hispanic family right now (that’s me in the center box below, interpreting for another Spanish speaking family) so that they can fully benefit from the iHear Program, just like we did. I know what iHear can do for families like ours, living in rural areas, without access to the highly specialized services that are needed to reach positive outcomes for children with hearing loss. I see our iHear therapist once a week and sometimes, just sometimes, Jack makes an appearance to say hi to her. It’s funny how life works, I am deeply grateful for how life works!
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