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Listening and Spoken Language Teleservices Help One Family Grow their Skills and Confidence

Leah was diagnosed with bilateral severe sensorineural hearing loss and was just under 10 months old when her family began the tVISIT Program with Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech in March 2020. A Clarke speech-language pathologist, Molly Schoenfeld, MS, CCC-SLP, TSSLD, led the virtual sessions and welcomed Leah and her mother, Kim, who joined from Watertown, NY.

“The area we live in has very limited resources when it comes to hearing loss in children,” explained Kim. “We would’ve had to drive our daughter an hour and 20 minutes to receive specialized services related to her hearing loss. Our Clarke speech-language pathologist is absolutely wonderful and has been nothing short of a blessing to our family. Working with Clarke has drastically improved my confidence in understanding hearing loss as well as how to help Leah.”

Molly agrees that Leah’s tremendous progress in large due to Kim’s willingness to learn, participate and carryover strategies and activities that are discussed and practiced during the virtual sessions. “Working with Kim and Leah has been a true highlight of my time at Clarke,” reports Molly. “We’ve talked about how fun it would be to have in-person time together, but I’m really grateful that tVISITs have allowed us to support Leah’s listening and spoken language development from 300+ miles apart!”

Kim reports that Leah has progressed from barely tolerating her hearing aids and not responding to sounds much at all, to leaving her hearing aids in almost the entire day without issue. “Leah now attempts to imitate speech patterns and pitch during vocalizations, converses back and forth with us and vocalizes to make requests or protests. We are so very proud of her.”

The demonstrated progress has been a positive reinforcement for the family as Leah prepares to receive a cochlear implant at the end of September. “Our Clarke therapist has been helping to ease my anxieties about the implant and educate me on the benefits Leah will receive from the cochlear implant,” notes Kim. “I knew she would need the implant, however, the breakdown of why and how it would benefit her was never really explained to the capacity that our therapist was able to convey to me.”

The family has come far in six months thanks to Clarke’s virtual services. Kim notes, “I truly feel it is helping Leah’s language and development so much and will only continue to do so!”


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