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Our Stories

Avani

Our Stories

Avani will attend University of Central Florida’s (UCF) Honors College this fall, a decade and a half after she attended Early Intervention and Preschool Programs at Clarke Florida where she learned to listen and talk. Avani has a bilateral hearing loss that was discovered when she was 10 months old, shortly after her family moved to Florida from India. She uses listening and spoken language to communicate and wears cochlear implants to help access sound.

“Having a good group of friends has really helped me — especially throughout the pandemic. We didn’t have an official prom that was sponsored by the school, so my friend and I had a pandemic-friendly one at home,” explains Avani. “This summer, before moving for college, I’m really looking forward to having the flexibility to go back to work at a tutoring center where I tutor younger students in math and I’m excited to hang out with friends.”

Avani is enrolled in her high school’s International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, a rigorous two-year program dedicated to curriculum and service. She’s a member of the National Honor Society, Hispanic Honor Society, Interact Club and participated in her high school’s orchestra. She plans to major in computer science at UCF and has been accepted into COMPASS — a program that helps undergraduate students explore career options in STEM-related fields.

“Avani continues to amaze us! She started exceeding our expectations as a toddler and continues to do so in high school. She makes us very proud,” notes Geeta Shandilya, Avani’s mom and a teacher of the deaf at Clarke. “As a parent and a professional, I see every day the limitless possibilities for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. We will always be grateful to all the professionals who have supported Avani’s growth and who have helped her reach where she is today.”

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Leighton - Clarke Schools Stories

Leighton

Like most caregivers who discover their child was born with a hearing loss, Nina and Spencer worried at first how their infant daughter would communicate and if she would struggle academically and socially. Thanks to her cochlear implants and a listening and spoken language (LSL) education at Clarke Florida, four-year-old Leighton is an expressive child with a big personality and a budding passion for sports.

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John

John was diagnosed with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss at birth during his newborn hearing screening. In 2017, John’s parents enrolled him in Clarke Birth to Age Three Program.   “From the time John was 15 months old, the Clarke team supported, taught, encouraged, believed in and loved John,”

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Dexter

Dexter has a single-sided profound hearing loss and wears a bone anchored hearing aid (BAHA) to help access sound. He started attending Clarke New York’s Preschool Program when he was three and graduated from Clarke in 2018.   “Dexter is proof positive that Clarke invariably accomplishes its mission… he has excelled

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Madeline, a Clarke alum

Madeline

Madeline’s diagnosis of moderately severe to profound hearing loss in both ears at the age of 18 months changed her family forever. It instilled a commitment to see “the beauty in the journey” as her siblings and parents became active

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Jaden

Jaden

Jaden is six years old and a fun and outgoing first grade student who’s bound to always leave you with a smile. He has a sensorineural hearing loss and learned to listen and talk at Clarke Florida. He enjoys learning about the solar system and science experiments — as

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Joe

Joe is a fifth-grader in Clarke’s K-8 Program. He has profound bilateral hearing loss and uses bilateral cochlear implants to access sound. “Joe has been working hard to improve his listening and spoken language since joining the program in the

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Jad

Jad attends the University of South Florida where he studies biomedical sciences. An alum of Clarke Florida, Jad also works at Target as a cashier and donated his first paycheck to Clarke. “I donated my paycheck because I really wanted

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Alex

Alex, who is profoundly deaf in both ears and wears digital hearing aids, attended Clarke’s preschool and elementary school programs in Northampton, Massachusetts, in the late 1980s and early 1990s. “Clarke has been a big influence in shaping my deaf

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Elizabeth

Elizabeth attended Clarke Florida’s Birth to Three and Preschool Programs from 2002 through 2005 and has gone on to soar academically. She earned a spot on the honor roll each year throughout high school, and has remained very active in

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Aydanie

Aydanie began receiving services from Clarke as an infant and now attends a mainstream high school. He left a lasting impression on many, winning the Brothership Award several years in a row and charming his teachers, Clarke staff and peers with

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