Paige's Story

My daughter, Paige, is 5. She has a severe to profound hearing loss. I still remember the process of diagnosing her hearing loss, sorting through communication options, and reaching for support from the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

Paige’s hearing loss was identified at two months of age. After frequently hearing about “how lucky” I was to have such a sound sleeper, I began to question my “luck.” Our pediatrician took our family’s concerns seriously and we were referred to an ENT and subsequently an audiologist.

Once her hearing loss was identified, I reached out to deaf adults I knew from my workplace, for guidance, support, and perspective. Their message to me was clear and simple: “love your daughter” and the journey will become clearer.

I also reached out to an organization like the Family Support Connection to gather information and connect with families, professionals, and organizations. I searched the web. I toured schools. I read books. My husband slowed down and contemplated. We came to the conclusion that Cued Speech was the communication option for our family. We wanted Paige to have access to our native language, English. Cued Speech allowed us to provide natural English immersion through a visual system. We learned how to cue. We taught our daycare providers and our extended family. It was hard work. It was, at times, overwhelming and frustrating. It was absolutely the right choice for our family.

Paige now has a cochlear implant. She received her implant when she was 15 months old. She still wears a hearing aid in her non-implanted ear. Her hearing has improved from a severe – profound level to a mild/moderate level. Her cochlear implant is a great tool, and it helps her greatly. However, there are still sounds she doesn’t hear, times when she can’t wear her equipment (i.e. bathing & swimming), and noisy environments can still be a challenge. Cued Speech gives her language access in all environments. Speech therapy, “listening walks,” and the constant chatter of her parents have helped her speech and language development.

Paige will be attending her neighborhood kindergarten this fall. She is thrilled. The thought of riding that big yellow bus is exhilarating for her. She loves to read and is currently reading at a second grade level. A Cued Language Transliterator (CLT) will be with her at school, so that she can receive equal and unambiguous access to the instruction and language around her. There is so much to “overhear” in our world. The CLT helps her get an equal footing.

Throughout this journey, I have remained true to my personal parenting philosophy: “we are to give our children a strong sense of self.” We love them, teach skills, life lessons, and love them a lot more. So as you start your journey, take a deep breath and reach out to others. I’ve met the most wonderful and amazing people on this path. I’ve learned more about myself than you can imagine. And, remember that your child is a beautiful and whole person, who just happens to have a hearing loss.

  • News

    Oct 26, 2018

    Many of us look forward to the holiday season and all the memory-making activities that go along with family gatherings. Whether your tradition is to gather as a big group with extended family and friends combined, or a smaller intimate group; there are w…[more]

    Sign Up for Email Updates

    EMAIL DISCLAIMER: We will not use this information for any other purpose than to contact you via the mailing list you have signed up for.

    Connect with Us:

    Upcoming Events

    register for an event

    Little girl smiling at camera
    Little girl in supergirl costume
    Little boy posing
    Little girl in glasses
    Group photo of kids and super heroes
    3 kids with rubber chicken slingshot
    Boy in cape doing magic
    Little boy in cape smiling
    Two workers smiling for camera
    kids playing with rubber duckies
    Show large Little girl smiling at camera
    Show large Little girl in supergirl costume
    Show large Little boy posing
    Show large Little girl in glasses
    Show large Group photo of kids and super heroes
    Show large 3 kids with rubber chicken slingshot
    Show large Boy in cape doing magic
    Show large Little boy in cape smiling
    Show large Two workers smiling for camera
    Show large kids playing with rubber duckies

    Hands & Voices' ASTra Educational Advocacy Training

    ASTra stands for Advocacy, Support, and Training. Minnesota Hands & Voices provides educational advocacy support and resources to families who have questions about special education law and how it applies to students who are deaf or hard of hearing. The program provides information and resources for parents of children who are deaf and hard of hearing that address the needs of these learners.

    Learn More

    From our Families

    Our Minnesota Stories

    Ben's Story

    Hearing loss was not the first or last diagnosis for our family. Our son Ben was our first-born. We were thrilled to be new parents, and we looked forward to sharing music, laughter, and being an active family. When Ben wasn't rolling over at four months, we knew something was wrong. When he still wasn't at six months, we were told that he had cerebral palsy on one side of his body. But they also warned us he might have many other challenges, including hearing loss.

    View Stories

    MDH Minnesota Department of Health

    Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) refers to the practice of screening every newborn for hearing loss prior to hospital discharge. Infants not passing the screening receive diagnostic evaluation before three months of age and, when necessary, are enrolled in early intervention programs by six months of age. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) laws or voluntary compliance programs that screen hearing.

    More info