Situation: When Kelley was pregnant with her second child, Shayna, everything about the pregnancy was going smoothly. The concern came when Kelley noticed neither she nor the baby had gained any weight over the course of two weeks.
“I brought it to the doctor’s attention, and they did an ultrasound, but assured me that the baby looked fine and was growing and I should be okay,” Kelley says.Shayna, a full-term baby, was born the following Monday with complications from a virus, but the doctors could tell Kelley little about how Shayna would develop; it would be something Kelley and her husband would have to monitor as she grew up.“The doctors told us she may be fine, she may have developmental issues and she may have vision or hearing loss. It was overwhelming.”At 17 months, Shayna suffered acute double ear infections that were not responding to medication. Kelley was also concerned that Shayna had only been able to say three words, and by that time, she had been saying those three words more infrequently. After Shayna received an evaluation from Illinois Early Intervention, Kelley took Shayna in for a hearing test at 18 months old. After the audiologist turned up the machine to 90 decibels—the equivalent of a police whistle—Shanya had no reaction.“I was in shock and started crying,” says Kelley, recalling the distress and uncertainty she felt about Shayna’s future.
How United Way helped: After audiologists confirmed that Shayna did have hearing loss, they gave Kelley and her family information about schools that could help Shayna learn to listen and speak.When the family toured the first school, Central Institute for the Deaf, Kelley says it felt like home.
“It was the perfect environment,” Kelley says of the United Way funded agency. “We felt like they were ready to take care of us and that was the place we needed to be.”
CID’s team of teachers, audiologists and other professionals use the auditory-oral method to teach children who are deaf and hard of hearing to listen and speak without the need for sign language. Children at CID also acquire developmental, reading, social and academic skills that will help them succeed in mainstream schools.
Shayna today: After receiving two cochlear implants—small, complex electronic devices that provide Shayna with a sense of sound by stimulating the auditory nerve—her progress is astounding as she continues to learn at CID. And Kelley couldn’t be prouder.
“I was amazed at what CID was able to do for her as a result of the series of instructional settings they offer. To see her blossom, every day there’s something new. She’ll say something she didn’t say last week; for her to think of these things and say them spontaneously is an unbelievable feeling because you can start to see what she’s capable of and what she’s blossoming into.”
The goal to eventually start Shayna in a mainstream school is one Kelley sees very near on the horizon.
“She’s doing a really good job. The complex language is still not quite there, but she’s reading now, she’s interacting socially, so I think in a year she’ll be ready to mainstream to a school system.”
With a passion for reading and an energetic, outgoing personality, Shayna’s future possibilities are limitless.
“She says she wants to be a teacher,” says Kelley. “She loves the whole environment; I can see her being a teacher of the deaf, or a speech language pathologist or an audiologist.”
“Because of the funding from United Way, Shayna was able to get the services that we may not have been able to do on our own. The generous support of people giving to United Way means everything to my daughter and to our family.”
About Central Institute for the Deaf: CID is a school where children who are deaf and hard of hearing learn to listen, talk and read without using sign language. CID prepares children from birth to age 12 to participate and succeed in their neighborhood schools.
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