My name is Christiana and I am hearing. My 3 year old son Frank is Deaf and we think that’s wonderful. Because of the support we’ve received from CEID, we know that Deaf children can be valued and respected as children capable of high achievement. CEID has helped our family build a bridge from the moment of airless panic that accompanied Frank’s first ABR results showing him to be profoundly Deaf to our current landscape where Frank has won the “Most Improved Language Skills” in the Rainforest Room – even though he’s not talking yet.
Born three months early, weighing 2 lbs, 8oz, Frank was the child we’d dreamed of but his entrance to the world was the stuff of nightmares. Separated while the doctors worked to stabilize each of us, I was unable to hold him until he was two weeks old… Frank failed every hearing screen given in the NICU. I wondered how a hearing parent was supposed to make the right decisions for a Deaf child. The next few weeks were a seesaw between the love I had for my beautiful son, the joy at having him home from the hospital, and a paralyzing fear of the future for my little one.
Enter Shawn-Renee, CEID’s Early Intervention Specialist/ Home Visitor (and more!). In Shawn-Renee’s visits, and the sharing of her own story, it became clear that the way forward was family involvement, social-emotional and community-based support, and information, education and skill development. Through funding provided by CEID’s generous donors, Shawn-Renee came once a week and not only provided support for Frank, but opened her heart to me. Guided by her mantra “This is a Marathon, not a Sprint,” I began to see that if I had love and patience and determination (just like with a typically developing child), Frank’s future was bright. Through Shawn-Renee and her home-visits, I was able to identify that the fears that woke me up at night were less about Frank but more about other people’s perceptions of Frank and how that could limit him before he even began.
From our first introductory visit to now, CEID has been exemplary. Frank’s medical issues were reviewed by the teachers and staff in a way that focused on the possibilities and protections needed for Frank, not his limitations. We are supported in our journey to embrace and celebrate all of Frank, as well as the bright possibilities of Frank’s future. With the support and tools we have found at CEID, I am confident in not only making decisions as a hearing parent for my Deaf child but in identifying areas (such as Frank’s ear reconstruction) where Frank’s input is needed. This is a world away from that moment of airless panic when Frank’s ABR results revealed not only his Deafness but my lack of tools to construct what every parents wants for their child – the very best start in life.
Looking back from the sunshine at CEID to that dark moment of Frank’s first diagnosis as Deaf makes me consider the holes that would exist if CEID were not the broad program it is today. If CEID was not there, I would not have real life examples of successful adult Deaf people from all walks of life, including those who use American Sign Language, as their primary language and those who do and do not use cochlear implants. I would not have a full understanding of the importance of the benefits of early language, including sign language, because no other school has a speech pathologist working in the pre-school setting as a staff member… But there is a CEID – and Frank’s future is unlimited. Thank you for helping CEID achieve their mission of providing comprehensive early education and support services for families with very young children who are deaf and hard of hearing.
At our easily-accessible clinics (one in Berkeley, one in Oakland), we serve individuals of all ages who come from six counties, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, Solano, Sonoma and San Francisco. Over the past year, we served 1,036 patients through hearing screenings, diagnostic evaluations, and hearing aids.
Experienced professionals use state of the art equipment and the highest standards of hearing health care. Our clinics offer friendly, client & family oriented services that meet individual needs. We provide comprehensive hearing evaluations as well as evaluations and fittings of hearing aids and other amplification devices.
Patients choose our clinics because we provide evaluations and consults with the patients specific concerns, needs, and budget in mind. CEID is one of the few providers who accepts MediCal.
Last year, CEID was recognized as the Program of the Year by the California Speech-Language-Hearing Association. This award acknowledged CEID’s professional expertise, services, and community commitment.
What our patients say:
— CEID has a great team–skilled at being resourceful, adaptive and responsive.
— The Audiologist was knowledgeable, supportive and professional. She took the time to listen to my concerns and helped me pick out a hearing aid that would work best for me.
CEID is thrilled to continue and expand our successful partnership with Prospect Sierra, an independent TK-8 school in El Cerrito. For over 13 years, Prospect Sierra’s third grade classes have been working with CEID through a “buddy program” as part of their service learning curriculum. Throughout the school year, Prospect Sierra third graders visit CEID Toddler and Preschool students at least once a month to play, build vocabulary through sign language and spoken language, and practice communicating with each other.
This time is enriching and educational for Prospect Sierra students and CEID students. The third graders learn sign language and communication strategies, increase their understanding of the world as experienced by deaf and hard of hearing children, while also learning about assistive technologies like hearing aids and cochlear implants. CEID’s young students enjoy having older friends to play with and are motivated to show off their skills!
Integral to the curriculum is learning about deaf culture and communication. With help from CEID Toddler Teacher, Isabel White, Prospect Sierra 3rd graders are learning sign language to strengthen the program and further allow the students to connect and mutually learn from one another. Isabel visits the campus at Prospect Sierra twice per month teaching signs that will help the third graders engage their CEID buddies and support language development. Isabel incorporates various activities into her lessons such as teaching fun songs to sign and sing with the CEID students.
When describing the experience Isabel shared “I love getting to know the Prospect Sierra 3rd graders and their teachers while building on our work by teaching sign language. When the idea was proposed that I teach the Sign Class, my first thought was that it would a great way to further deepen how the PS children interact with our CEID children during their buddy visits. My hope is that the signs they learn in class will be immediately useful to them when they come to play with their buddies, creating a much more rich and meaningful experience for everyone. I appreciate the openness and curiosity of the students; they ask thoughtful questions, are excited to learn a new language, and cannot wait to see and work with their buddies during their visits!”
We look forward to the continued success of this impactful community partnership as the school year continues.