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July 28, 2016

Ten-Year-Old Clarke Philadelphia Alumna Secures Governor's Approval to Establish Cochlear Implant Awareness Week


July 28, 2016—(Philadelphia, PA) Thanks to the advocacy of 10-year-old Clarke Philadelphia alumna Morgan Keely, the state of Pennsylvania has designated July 31 - August 6 as Cochlear Implant Awareness Week. Pennsylvania joins Virginia and Nevada as the third state in the nation to shine the spotlight on this important device—technology which many children who are deaf or hard of hearing use, in conjunction with intensive therapies from professionals, to help them listen and talk.

“When you get an operation for your ears you don’t just hear when you go home. You have to attend a Clarke School so they can teach you how to hear! My teachers were so awesome!” – Morgan Keely

On Friday, August 5, Morgan will speak at Clarke Philadelphia’s preschool graduation, celebrating 11 children with hearing loss who will be attending mainstream schools in the fall with their typically-hearing peers. The ceremony will take place at the La Salle University Business Center (adjacent to Clarke), 1900 Olney Avenue in Philadelphia at 11:00 am, and will be followed by lunch and a visit from the ice cream truck—a Clarke Philadelphia tradition!

Governor Tom Wolf issued the proclamation in response to the efforts of Morgan and other advocates who wrote to the governor’s office calling for greater awareness of cochlear implants. Cochlear implants are surgically implanted electronic devices, which work in tandem with a small external microphone behind the ear to transmit sound to the auditory nerve. Unlike hearing aids—which only amplify sound—cochlear implants send sound signals directly to the brain. The device provides a child with access to sound, but in order to make meaning of that sound, a child needs proper intervention, expertise and therapy from professionals like those at Clarke.

About Morgan

Morgan, who was born deaf, began receiving services from Clarke at home when she was three months old. She then attended Clarke’s Early Intervention and Toddler Program and progressed so well that she was able to attend a mainstream preschool right alongside her hearing peers. Today, a very active fifth grader, Morgan loves gymnastics, field hockey and Taylor Swift. She’s also the founder of Morgan’s Magical Ears, her very own charity that raises funds to provide buckets filled with stuffed animals, treats and other comforting items to children undergoing surgery at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Watch this wonderful video of Morgan, who will be available for interviews at the graduation ceremony on Friday.

Cochlear Implant Awareness Week

In his proclamation, Governor Wolf noted that, “In the United States today, over 36 million people have experienced some form of hearing loss, and over 80,000 of those individuals live here in Pennsylvania.” During this milestone week, the public will learn more about how cochlear implants change lives. Clarke will be sharing videos and posts on our Facebook page about how early diagnosis, and amplification—in conjunction with Listening and Spoken and Language (LSL) therapy—can be used to teach children with hearing loss how to listen and talk. facebook.com/clarkeschools

Contact: Gabe Nathan at 267.385.3436 ext. 23 or Emily Rae at 413.584.3450 ext. 1119