Allison Soars in High School with Clarke’s Mainstream Services
Allison was diagnosed as profoundly deaf at birth. Her parents learned about cochlear implants before her first birthday and Allison was fitted for hearing aids not long after to help her. Early access to sound is crucial for students working to develop listening and spoken language skills. Allison’s hearing aids did not provide her with adequate access to sound, and after working closely with an audiologist, Allison was a candidate for a unilateral cochlear implant. Allison received her first implant at 18 months, which was the first time Allison heard the sound. Allison later received her second implant at four years old and said her first word at five. Allison aged out of her Listening and Spoken Language program at the end of first grade. Her parents were told there were very few options available to meet their daughter’s advanced needs and were directed to Clarke.
In 2012, her family moved from the Pacific Northwest to Western Massachusetts and enrolled at Clarke’s Mainstream Services—offering LSL expertise and itinerant teacher of the deaf services—to help children succeed alongside their peers with typical hearing in mainstream schools.
“When Allison started at Clarke, we could write down every word she knew on a single sheet of paper,” shares Katie, Allison’s mom. “She was frustrated with her inability to communicate her feelings, as any intelligent person would be, and we were genuinely concerned for what the future might hold for her.” The family quickly observed how the Clarke team worked to make a deeper connection with Allison. The team’s awareness of Allison’s needs and creative efforts to meet them was evident every day. Allison’s mom notes, “Ten years later as we prepare for her high school graduation we still worry, but now it is about how to pay for her college whether she will be home sick or whether she will remember to call on the weekends. She has become every bit the intelligent, thoughtful, empathetic person we hoped she would be.”