Monday, May 31, 2010

Camp Mark Seven for HoH and CI users

Hard-of-Hearing and Cochlear Implant Camp Sessions

Youth Session: Hard-of-Hearing & Cochlear Implant users July 25 to August 6, 2010

Children’s Session: Hard-of-Hearing & Cochlear Implant users August 8 to August 20, 2010


CM7 is offering a new camp program this summer for children and youth who are hard of hearing or with a cochlear implant. Spoken English will be the primary mode of communication. CM7 counselors, themselves hard of hearing or with cochlear implants, will be employed, thus serving as excellent role models.

This program will occur at the same time as the Deaf Children’s and Youth programs; however, the majority of activities for each program will be separate, geared towards the needs of campers for each program. Campers enrolled in each session may use sign language with Deaf campers and staff during shared meal times and certain activities.

Each session runs for two weeks: Children’s session (ages 9-12), and Youth Session (ages 13-16). Campers will have many opportunities to participate in different activities, to discuss their unique identity, and develop own leadership skills.

Waterfront activities will include swimming and tubing. Hiking, canoeing and camping overnight in the wilderness will offer each camper the opportunity to learn to appreciate and embrace Mother Nature.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Back in late 1998, my baby girl came down with meningitis. It was a scary, stressful time for our whole family. We knew before she left the hospital that the disease had claimed her hearing. We also knew we wanted to look into a new option for partial restoration of hearing - the cochlear implant. It was a mad scramble time for us. She still had many health issues, and we had many medical appointments as well as beginning to climb the HUGE learning curve that is deafness.

By early spring in 1999, we had chosen to go the SEE sign total communication path, along with getting the cochlear implant. But back then, there were not a lot of children in our area who had one, so we only had adults to talk to. And there weren't many of them either. Along came a 60 Minutes episode featuring a 14 year old girl named Caitlin Parton. This was actually a follow-up on an episode originally done when she was six years old. The program showed some of that initial episode, along with her current life at 14. She was the first child with an implant that I had actually heard speaking and interacting with people verbally. This was the first real hope I had that this scary path we had decided upon would actually give our daughter usable hearing. If our daughter could get half of what Caitlin had, we would be thrilled. I cried through most of the program.

Our daughter took to the implant like a duck takes to water. She had hearing aids, which she hated, but by the time we got home from her first appointment to activate the implant, she wanted it on. She stunned even the doctors with how quickly she progressed, and how well she did with her implant. She now has bilateral implants, and is in middle school. She is almost as old as Caitlin was when that 60 minutes episode was aired. And she is doing just as well.

Caitlin is an adult now, and has recently had her story told here:

I just want to take this opportunity to thank Caitlin and her family for their willingness to tell their story publicly. I know they faced a great deal of criticism from the Deaf Community because of their decision to give her an implant. But they also gave hope to a lot of families like ours, when we really needed it. One reason I blog is in honor of them and others who came before me to help pave the way. Paying it forward and giving hope to families who follow me is the way I can say thanks to them for their bravery and willingness to go public with their stories.

Thanks Caitlin (and parents).