Thursday, December 17, 2009

Socorro Civitan Club Helps Out Two Local Deaf Children

By John Larson

The Socorro Civitan Club has donated $800 to go toward paying for devices that help two clinically deaf Cottonwood Valley Charter School students hear their teachers.
The students - brothers Ayden Lewis, 6, and Carl Lewis, 10 - have both been fitted with Auditory Trainers.
Their parents, Allen and Faith Lewis met with Civitan Club members at K-Bob’s for a ceremony. Keith Valles, president of the Civitan Club, presented the check to Charter School principal Karin Williams.
“The school went ahead and acquired the two devices, and we deeply appreciate this donation, which will go back into the school’s general fund,” Williams said.
Each Auditory Trainer cost about $2,500, she said.
According to the boys parents, discovering their sons’ hearing loss came over a period of time.
Faith said she and Allen detected Carl’s hearing loss when he was almost one. “We were viewing a family video, and it became clear to us,” she said. “Carl wasn’t making much progress and didn’t begin talking until the age of two.”
She said their pediatrician told them the delay was due to other things. “He dismissed [the hearing loss] pretty much,” Faith said. “But we continued to pursue it online.”
Carl was given a series of hearing tests, and with each one his hearing was worse.
“When he was at the age of three, the pediatrician said get him an auditory response test,” she said.
Carl’s speech also was delayed, but since getting proper hearing devices, he “has caught up with were he should be.”
Ayden’s hearing problems developed over a period of time.
“He was tested as an infant and his hearing was perfect,” Faith said. “We began suspecting a hearing problem when he was in Kindergarten, and took him many times for a hearing test.”
She said Ayden’s hearing was slowly getting worse.
“By the third test, his hearing was iffy, so we went to UNM hospital for further evaluation,” she said. “He was able to hear a little better with a hearing aid.”
Besides the diagnoses, the family got more information and support from the School of the Deaf in Santa Fe.
Audiologist Marianne Cramer at Presbyterian Medical Services, said the Auditory Trainers can help both children and adults, but it is especially necessary for a school age child to have one in the classroom, “because, although a hearing aid certainly helps to hear, a classroom is very noisy and an auditory trainer allows the teacher to speak directly to the child without all the background noise.”
“Teachers can even turn their back and the child can still hear,” Cramer said.
She said the device has several settings and can be turned off, such as during recess, or at home.
Marianne Cramer, CCC-A, conducts hearing examinations, and provides treatment, in the Rehabilitation Services building at Socorro General Hospital.

Photo by John Larson: Pictured (from left): Faith Lewis, Allen Lewis, and their children, Carl, 10, and Ayden, 6, and Keith Valles.

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