HEAR In Dallas graduate
I am honored and flattered to write my testimonial for HEAR In Dallas. The services I received there as a child made a HUGE difference in my life; I cannot imagine where I would be today if it weren’t for the work they do. I was born profoundly deaf. My hearing loss was not detected until the age of fifteen months. Upon diagnosis, a audiologist at another facility threw devastating news to his parents, Kerry and Chereé: “Your son, Michael, will never be able to hear, speak, or do the things that a normal hearing person would do. The maximum reading level he will ever achieve will be that of a third grader.” Obviously, this devastated my parents. I was fitted with bilateral hearing aids immediately and began to learn sign language. I received minimal benefit from the hearing aids and my speech and language grew more and more delayed. My mom knew there had to be a better opportunity for me. One day she was ironing clothes and saw a deaf girl on TV with a revolutionary device called a “cochlear implant.” My parents decided that this was the next step for me. During their research and networking, they met Linda Daniel. She brought so much hope to my parents when she asserted to them, “I will help Michael, and he will hear and speak. You’ll see.”
In June of 1991,I was the first child in North Texas to receive a cochlear implant shortly before I turned three. Before and after cochlear implantation, my parents and I were involved in intensive Auditory-Verbal therapy with Linda. We went to two, hour-long therapy sessions each week and my speaking skills gradually caught up to the level of my hearing friends and classmates. With my parents in therapy with me, it continued at home, 24/7. Linda advised my folks to enroll me in regular schools with hearing kids instead of going to a special school for deaf children. She wanted me to hear continuously each day as the teachers and students spoke to me.
From the first grade through college, I attended mainstream school and took honors courses with all normal hearing peers. In middle school, I even learned to play the violin! Moreover, I took both Spanish and French language courses throughout my academic career. With the strong foundation in listening, speaking, reading and writing, which I learned in therapy at HEAR In Dallas, I graduated in the top ten students of me 400+ student class. In May 2010, I received my BBA in Marketing from Southern Methodist University and honors in liberal arts. I have been enjoying the sounds of life with my cochlear implant for nearly 22 years. I love to hear the voices of people, the sounds of nature in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, the revving of a car engine, and alternative rock music. Currently, I live in Denver, CO, where I work as a Marketing Manager at Cochlear Americas, the very company that manufactured my cochlear implant. It is so gratifying helping others in the same way that I was helped!