To Our Community,
With April well under way, it’s been five weeks since we began learning about what it means to adapt and lead our lives in what is paradoxically a simpler but more complicated way. When the first Shelter in Place order began I shared that the CEID community is well poised to face the challenges of this new and uncertain time—educators, providers and parents of children with special needs know exactly how to adapt, innovate, connect and advocate. We spend our days figuring out how to adjust to systems and structures that don’t quite fit our child or family. We become even more resourceful and nimble as a result. Our CEID community is putting all of these skills to excellent use as we navigate unchartered territory that requires daily, even hourly resetting of our intents, actions and expectations.
Each week we are learning together with families to help children grow and adapt. We are also finding different ways to provide care and support to audiology patients. But this is nothing new. Working together through difficult times is something we have done every week, every year, every decade at CEID. We are now stretching to maximize communication in different ways. Our core work of making connections and building communities to reduce social isolation now has a new meaning as we utilize different methods. The success of CEID relies, as it always has, on a remarkable team of committed professionals, parents, patients, students and supporters.
I was proud to join the CEID staff team in 2007, but my true introduction to CEID started in the 1990’s—the highlight decade of this newsletter. My CEID story began in 1998 when I first met my future step-son Rafa (then 4 years old) and understood he was learning language through Total Communication (simultaneous use of sign with spoken language). This bright eyed preschooler was incredibly curious and eager to learn everything about the world around him. I wanted to be able to share it all with him. Luckily, his parents had found CEID, had fiercely advocated for him to attend and we all had access to weekly sign language classes. I began attending the evening classes led by Teacher Kim Burke-Giusti. In the classes, not only did I learn the sign vocabulary and strategies to communicate with Rafa, but I found connection with a group of adults sharing common experiences and learning from each other. Toukie’s (aka Davana’s) parents were my classmates (see Davana's article also in this issue). The high quality of comprehensive services and the high expectations set for students' potential and achievement were evident. CEID’s profound influence on Rafa and his family was undeniable and unforgettable.
In 1998, there was no other place that provided the level of intensive and comprehensive care to young children and their families like CEID. This was true in 1980 when CEID was founded and remains true today, 40 years later. For parents and family members like me, one cannot imagine navigating the complex systems and situations of having a child who is D/HH without the strong support, caring, connection and community that CEID offers. From D/HH adults as staff and role models, to comprehensive supports and services, to hearing tests, and to language-rich classrooms, CEID provides the best start and the best quality that every child and family deserves. The original approach of CEID in 1980 to accept no limits remains evident today as our team and families respond to this unique time with new services and remarkable support. Today, as I have since 1998, I remain proud and grateful to be a part of the CEID Community.