So this might not have been the most informative session I attended all weekend, but it was certainly the most enjoyable! “Love Happens” was a panel discussion led by three couples, all of whom met at or through AG Bell. They told the adorable stories of how they met and how their shared interests and commitment to volunteer activities through AG Bell have strengthened their relationships through the years. One couple’s daughter became a Speech-Language Pathologist, and another couple has two deaf children of their own. The session was full of laughter — what a great way to wake up early on a Sunday morning!
HARD OF HEARING CHILDREN: DEAFNESS IN THE 21st CENTURY
Janice Gatty, Ed.M., M.E.D., Ed.D., Kathleen Casale, C.A.G.S., Joyce Fitzroy, M.A., CCC-SLP, Amy Catanzaro, M.A., CCC-A, and Cynthia Forsythe, M.E.D., C.A.G.S. (all from Clarke School for the Deaf)
With the cochlear implant and hearing aid technology of the 21st century, it is no longer an unreasonable expectation to believe that all deaf children, regardless of the severity of their hearing loss, should be able to function as minimally hard-of-hearing people in the mainstream environment. The presenters gave two hypothetical case studies, “Betsy Best Case” and “Wendy Worst Case” to show how quickly small missed steps — a late diagnosis, a school system that thinks speech and language delays “can just wait”, and unsupportive teachers and school staff can quickly add up to disaster for a child who might otherwise have done quite well in the mainstream. It was an important reminder that we as parents and professionals must remain “on top of things” because every precious second counts when it comes to giving children the priceless gift of speech and language. If we do our part now, someday, the children will be able to speak for themselves.