Hearing At Any Cost

1 decade 10 months 2 weeks ago Monday, October 01 2007 Oct 1, 2007 Monday, October 01, 2007 1:30:30 AM CDT October 01, 2007 in News

That's the motto at the Moog school. Their goal is to get their kids out of the door into the real world and into real school.

Brandon Stoeker, a kindergartner, is one of the school's success stories.

"Brandon has a bilateral hearing loss," said Judy Harper, Director at the Moog Center. "That means he has a hearing loss in both ears. He really doesn't hear a lot of sounds unless they are extremely loud."

Story time would have just been silence a year ago for Brandon. But now his smile says it all, and never has story time sounded so good.

"The day Brandon got diagnosed as being deaf, I cried a lot," said Jaime Cash, Brandon's mother.

After he got hearing aids, Brandon started at the Moog school.

"We had to teach him not only to hear and to listen, but also how to say the sounds which is tough, very very tough," Harper said.

"After Moog, he talks with his tongue in his mouth, and he talks very clearly. He says, 'Please say that again' instead of 'Huh?'," Cash said.

When asked if Moog school taught him how to hear, Brandon shook his head no and replied, "I know how."

"They let me cry on their shoulders many many times because I didn't know what to do. They were there every step of the way, and they're still there," Cash said.

After just a year and a half at Moog, Brandon was ready to mainstream into public school and is now in kindergarten at South Callaway.

"As hard as he had to work, he always said thank you," Harper said.

The letting go was hard for Brandon's mother.

"One because sending him to kindergarten, that's my baby. And two because I was scared that the other kids would make fun of him or he would have trouble," Cash said.

Harper described the difficulty of the letting go process. "It's very emotional; very emotional, always, as you can tell," she said.

Brandon has had no trouble jumping into kindergarten like any other five-year-old.

"You're so excited to see these kids go out into the world, and know that they're going to be okay," Harper said.

Michelle Lallier, Brandon's teacher at South Callaway, wears an FM System that filters out noise and speaks directly into his hearing aids.

"When we turn it on in the morning it beeps so we make sure Brandon can hear it and all the kids yell I heard it!" Lallier said.

What once sounded fuzzy to Brandon, now adds color to his life.

"I just like to look at the book," Brandon said.

"Brandon was reading before he left Moog school," Harper said.

This little five-year-old proves as one of Moog's success stories.

"Without Moog, I don't think we ever would have been this far," Cash said.

"If Brandon's an example of what they're doing; they are doing a great job," Lallier added.

Since Brandon has progressive hearing loss, the future is uncertain. But right now, his hearing loss is stable.

"He's doing great, obviously. And he's happy, and that's even more important," Harper said.

With a smile strewn across Brandon's face, that says it all.

"I really like Moog! It's lots of fun," Brandon said.

The Name That Tune Fundraiser is 6-9 p.m. this Friday night, Sept. 28, at the Blue Note. All money raised goes to support the Moog school.

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