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June 2, 2015

Clarke Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing to Make Big Splash Sporting Brand New Technology


June 2, 2015—(Philadelphia, PA) On Sunday, June 7, 2015, Clarke students and alumni will celebrate the start of summer at the Flourtown Swim Club with games, races, a Family BBQ and DJ Dance Party. But for many of these children, there’s much more to celebrate than the warm weather.

teddy surfing

Thanks to a new device called the Cochlear™ Nucleus® Aqua+, children who otherwise would have to remove their cochlear implants in the water, can now swim, surf and splash while maintaining access to sound just as they would during the course of their regular day.

At Clarke, children with all levels of hearing loss – ranging form mild to profoundly deaf – learn to listen and talk. They laugh and run on the playground, sing songs, and learn from skilled teachers of the deaf in classrooms. Most attend their mainstream neighborhood schools on par with their hearing peers by the time they enter kindergarten. Clarke children are active in an array of social and academic activities, including school plays, sleepovers, sports teams and the honor roll. But splashing in the pool, surfing in the ocean, and heading to the waterpark, while typical summer fun for many, historically has presented many challenges to children with hearing loss who use technology and amplification.

This past spring, 14 Clarke students and alumni who are deaf or hard of hearing were each generously presented with an Aqua+, donated to Clarke by Thomson Reuters in partnership with Cochlear Limited. Now, children using cochlear implants can swim underwater, swim in salt water, and completely submerge in water.

“The Aqua+ has been a major game changer for us,” said Caroline Linz, mom of Teddy, a seven-year-old Clarke alum who uses bi-lateral implants. “Our family is constantly in the water, and Teddy is really a water-kid. Previously, while all the other children would be playing Marco Polo, Teddy would be off by himself on another side of the pool because he couldn’t hear or keep up with the game and conversations.”

There are benefits for parents as well. “From a safety angle,” says Linz, “the Aqua+ has literally made me feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Previously, I was always worried that Teddy wouldn’t hear a lifeguard blow a whistle while surfing in the ocean, or hear ‘get out of the way’ before a child jumped off the diving board. Now, he’s fully engaged with the kids, just like he is in all the other parts of his life. You can see that now with his Aqua+ he’s a totally different kid at the pool and the beach than he was before.”

At the ceremony, one mom exclaimed, “During the summer we spend a lot of time at the pool. My daughter would become discouraged that she missed things going on between her friends because she couldn’t wear her processor. Now that we have the Aqua+, she won’t miss anything!”

About the Clarke’s Summer Kick-Off

The event on Sunday June 7, will run from 3:00 – 7:00 pm at the Flourtown Swim Club located at 1528 Bethlehem Pike, Flourtown, PA. Free to all current and alumni Clarke PA families, all participants must register using the form found here.

For more information on this event, contact Kate Hagerty at 413.207.5478.