Words from Dr. Michele

March 2019

Happy Spring—if it ever gets here!

I am just returning from a national/international conference called EHDI, Early Hearing Detection and Intervention. This year, the conference was held in Chicago. Our entire Early Intervention Staff, Audiologists, and I attended the two-day conference. The Director of Early Intervention, Mr. Rollen Cooper, along with Chicago Lead Therapist, Mrs. Laura Straka, and Wood Dale’s Toddler Specialist, Mrs. Ann Stein, presented a poster on our Growing Voices program. Director of Audiology, Dr. Dawn Violetto, and Pediatric Audiologist, Dr. Megan Wernsman, gave a 30-minute presentation on “Outcome Measures and You! How your data can assist in planning a Program”.  All were very well received.

Following the conference, Child’s Voice hosted conference attendees from around the country to our Wood Dale location. We gave tours of our EI, Audiology and School Programs. We presented an overview of our EI services and our Growing Voices program.  The participants spent two hours with us. What a wonderful way to showcase all the magic that happens at Child’s Voice.

At the conference, one of our Child’s Voice families participated in a session on their family’s journey from adopting their child to joining our Child’s Voice family. What a passionate and impactful session – to open up and share so much.  They truly helped others on their hearing loss journey. After the session, the parents said they did not realize Child’s Voice staff would be there. It was so great to sit in the audience and support them. In addition, the child, our student, kept waving to all of us! Too cute.

In another session I attended, the cochlear implant company, MED-EL, had a panel of recipients to share about their experience with having a MED-EL cochlear implant(s). On the panel was Mrs. Colleen Powell and her son Liam. Liam is a 2016 graduate of Child’s Voice. He was first implanted at the age of three and received his second implant at the age of seven.  Mrs. Landon Lacey was the moderator.  Landon is a former Speech Language Pathologist from our Child’s Voice Chicago office. During the panel discussion, Landon asked Colleen and Liam to share about their experience at Child’s Voice. WOW, this was so powerful! Makes us all proud of the work we do here.  Thank you Colleen, Liam, and Landon!

Since the conference was in Rosemont, we were able to have a booth in the exhibit hall. Director of Advancement, Mrs. Kate Bousum and Advancement Manager, Mrs. Dana Petrie staffed the booth. They met and introduced the services of Child’s Voice to the 1100 attendees. Great job!! We also had two Board members help. Thank you Dr. Alejandra Ullauri and Mrs. Jennifer Polston.

This conference feels a bit like a ‘reunion” for me. I have attended the EDHI Conference since I came to Child’s Voice in 1999. Well actually, the conference started two years later. In any case, the friendships and connections made continue to grow each year. To see old friends that I have followed their careers, and to catch up is just fun. I think this is one of the best conferences to attend—the presentations and knowledge base in those meeting rooms are amazing.

In addition to having a group at the EDHI Conference, the week before the entire teaching staff attended the ILTDD (Illinois Teachers of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing) Conference in Naperville. This conference is held annually as well.  Each staff member came away with interesting information.

Many times the sessions are more sign language based, and geared for itinerant teachers. Nonetheless, I think is worthwhile for Child’s Voice to have a presence.

As educators, we are lifelong learners. This past week was just one-step on our journey.


Dr. Michele