Julia – Ensuring Successful Transitions

Julia’s hearing loss was diagnosed just before her second birthday, and she had received a cochlear implant by her third. Julia’s mother Elena considered several educational options for Julia, but after visiting Clarke’s Boston campus, the decision was easy.

“When I first observed a Clarke classroom, I saw immediately that the children were really involved and asking thoughtful questions. I could see there was an emphasis not just on language, but on thinking and being confident. I knew this was the place for Julia because I saw how accepting and wonderful the teachers were. I knew she would blossom at Clarke.

Elena was right. Julia did blossom at Clarke, and when she reached kindergarten age, Julia began spending her mornings at Clarke and her afternoons in a public school classroom, to help prepare for her full-time mainstream experience.

“The part-time mainstreaming was great for everyone,” says Elena. “It helped Julia transition to larger classes and get used to being the only deaf child in her class. It also enabled the school to get early experiences with Julia and helped them plan the support she would need. It was a very valuable experience, and Clarke was so proactive about making it all happen.”

Julia received a second implant before entering third grade and is now a thriving fifth grader who participates in school plays and loves to tell stories. Elena recalls shedding tears of joy and disbelief when Julia’s mainstream teacher sent home a note saying Julia was the best reader in her class. “I think back to when she used to be so frustrated because she had all these great ideas that she couldn’t express. And I was frustrated because I didn’t know how to help her. Clarke has made such a difference in both our lives.”

The family remains connected to Clarke, with Julia attending Summer Adventure and receiving Clarke Educational Evaluations, and Elena attending the Mainstream Services Annual Conference to stay updated on the latest technology and techniques.

“The support I’ve received from Clarke is just amazing,” says Elena. “In the beginning you have so many worries, so many fears and Clarke professionals are constantly saying, We’re in this with you. You’re not going to have to go through this alone.”

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