In 2009, Dave and Ellen Singh adopted a 5-year-old from India. Although he had been attending a school, the boy they called Deelip had no words, no signs, no way to communicate beyond using gestures. The Singhs have a picture of him in the orphanage wearing an antiquated body-worn hearing aid that would have been ineffective for a profoundly deaf child.
In their adoption search, the family was looking for a child they could help in a significant way. Five years prior, Ellen had lost all of the hearing in her left ear due to bacterial meningitis, so she was specifically seeking a child with hearing loss. She met Deelip and immediately bonded with him. Before the adoption, the Singhs wanted to be sure programs were in place that would give their child everything he needed to thrive.
They spoke with doctors at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and toured the CID school. When they brought their son home and named him William, they already had a timeline for cochlear implant surgery. He received bilateral devices in January of 2010, then enrolled in the CID pre-k. With help from his school district in Edwardsville, Illinois, he rode a bus to CID for up to an hour each way for the next eight years.
William, now 15, graduated from CID in May 2018. Principal Lynda Berkowitz, who has seen countless children through the program, summed up his accomplishment: “It’s quite remarkable for a child who is profoundly deaf and whose first exposure to language was at age 5 to be reading at grade level going into 6th grade.”
We can’t wait to see what the future holds for William and for many children like him for whom early intervention, technology and a CID education profoundly changes the trajectory of life. Children who graduate from CID typically attend college. Many pursue professional careers. But no matter what paths they take or choices they make, they leave CID with greatly expanded opportunities to communicate and succeed.