When people are pregnant, they always say things like “well, as long as she/he is healthy . . . .” So what happens when, just before you leave the hospital with your beautiful baby boy, a hospital technician returns with your child from a routine hearing screening and tells you that your new baby has failed the testing but that it is probably just fluid in his ears and so he’ll have to be retested in a few weeks? Well, you go home from the hospital still happy, but there is a little raincloud hovering over the full on joy you had hoped to feel. In fact, there is a part of you that starts to worry that you may never be able to speak to your child. And then when, a few weeks later your eyes meet your husband’s eyes in a small sound booth at the clinic, both sets of eyes holding back tears, as your boy is once again failing the test? Well, then you leave the clinic with only the smallest shred remaining that the final retest will be passed. And you begin to really grapple with what it means to have a Deaf or Hard of Hearing child. You start to grieve, realizing that although ASL is fantastic way to communicate, it is not your native language. And if, at that moment, someone told you that Northern Voices, a school that has a fantastic Deaf oral program, exists and is bringing spoken langauge to Deaf and Hard of Hearing children everyday, it might actually ease your grieving a bit.
We didn’t find out about Northern Voices until February 2011, when Josh was about 17 months old. It has proven to be a miracle in our life, in Josh’s life. Everyday I am grateful to hear Josh’s little voice telling me that he doesn’t want carrots, or that he is scared of a movie or ask me about an excabator (excavator). We went so long without hearing him talk to us–his little voice is a gift, a miracle. Please consider a donation to Northern Voices to keep this wonderful nonprofit school running for others in our situation.
We currently are fundraising for Josh’s school (with its Annual Walk for Talk). Please consider sponsoring us, if you can.
For more info you can view this video about Josh’s school. Josh is featured in the second scene, counting his hearing aids.