Alumni Success Story – Meet Ryne

We are so very proud of Ryne, Class of 2005.  Here is his story:

My twin brother Kyle and I were born critically ill.  My hearing loss is attributed to treatments I received after I was born.  I was aided at 8 months old and continue to wear hearing aids.  I received services from Early Intervention, and then attended early education class when I was 3.  After two years, I wasn’t where I needed to be, so my mom started looking at programs for me, and I ended up at Child’s Voice.  I started later than most kids – at age 5, and transitioned when I was 7 to first grade at North Barrington School.

When I entered Child’s Voice, I had the language skills of a 3 year old (2 years behind my age).  When I left, I was ahead of the curve.  Child’s Voice taught me the fundamentals of being successful, even with a hearing loss!  Thanks to my teachers, I entered mainstream school reading ahead of most of me peers.  Having strong academic skills going into first grade made it a bit easier to work through the transition and develop my interpersonal skills without getting further behind on class work.  Without Child’s Voice, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

One of my favorite memories of Child’s Voice was maintaining an ant farm in Ms. Elsa’s class.  It was fun to watch the ants interact, and to learn more about them.  According to my mother, “Child’s Voice was a pivot point in Ryne’s life.  You could see the gains almost every day.  Not only did his language and listening skills improve, but he developed self-confidence and advocacy skills that have been critical to his success in school and life”.

During my transition to mainstream schooling, I had to adjust to a classroom that was considerably bigger both in size and number of students.  At first, some of my peers didn’t know how to act around me.  One day, we passed my hearing aids around with a little stethoscope so that everyone could listen.  It helped to take the mystery out of things.  Once they realized I was just like them, they treated me like anyone else.

Throughout elementary, middle and hihg school, I was active in Boy Scouts and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.  I also play hockey…a lot of hockey! Last year, I skated on the USA National Deaf Hockey Team.  We won the gold at the World Deaf Ice Hockey Championships.  It was an amazing experience, one I will never forget.  Not only did I have a great time skating, I met some very interesting people from all over the world.

I would tell students leaving Child’s Voice to take all the itinerant time you can get.  Child’s Voice sets you up for success, but you must build on that foundation.  My hearing itinerants were incredibly helpful during my school career.  Mrs. Grabowski supported me in elementary school.  We met almost every day to preview concepts we’d be covering in class in the coming days or to review recent material.  This extra help made sure I filled in all the holes of content I’d missed in my classroom.  When I went to middle school, Mrs. Grider took over and stayed with me until I graduated high school.  Some days I didn’t really want to be pulled out away from my friends, but I can look back now and realize how important that extra help was to my success.

I am currently 19 years old and attending Rochester Institute of Technology, pursuing a degree in Computer Science.

I have tried to go to Child’s Voice Reunion when my schedule permitted and to keep in touch with a couple of kids who graduated when I did.  I recently joined the Child’s Voice Alumni Board, and I am excited to be involved.