Grandparent Attendee Perspective: Our JTC Summer Experience

When our daughter Sarah learned that her little Isabella had a hearing loss, she wanted to do whatever she could to help her.  She wanted to provide the best program that she could find to propel Isabella toward language acquisition and mainstream education.  Consequently, Sarah began her research and discovered John Tracy Clinic.  

Because Sarah lived in Finland and her husband could not leave his work, Sarah invited me, Frances, to go to Los Angeles for their three-week international summer session in June.  Leaving my husband, Grandpa in NY, the three of us (Grandma, Mama and Isabella) flew to Los Angeles.

What we found amazed us.  Yes, we had read the website and brochure; yet we could not have imagined those whom we met.  Our first day brought tears of joy.  The entire staff greeted and welcomed us as if we were their long awaited guests.  How very wonderful we felt, to bask in JTC’s attention when our hearts ached over hearing loss and our spirits sagged over the unknown ahead.  JTC took us into their knowledgeable arms and taught us.

Happily, the program offers serious parental education.  From 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. excepting lunch, we listened to mini-sessions on childhood developmental theory, structure of the ear, parent-effective strategies to assist our children’s speech, and speech development research.  We watched videos of our children interacting with their speech language teachers. 

For one hour, we interacted with Isabella’s exceptional lead teacher and her support staff at the beginning of each pre-school day.  We attended conferences with all professionals who serviced our Isabella.  We met with experts in their fields and gained insights to help us educate Isabella.  We slid down slides and created art projects together.  With instruction from Isabella’s teacher, we sang songs and encouraged her integration into class. 

What we appreciated the most in support was the way JTC staff seemed to know what we needed.  If we wanted impromptu conferences, they accommodated.  When Isabella required multiple ABRs because she had awakened from her nap, she received them.  If we wanted to address the group, JTC staff encouraged us.  Of course our lawn luncheon and closing ceremonies spoiled and delighted us.  

Yet one of the most rewarding times was mid- to-late afternoon at the USC’s apartments  great lawn.  There we established bonds with other parents and grandparents from around the globe which exist even now.  The group has its own Facebook page where Sarah and most other families communicate regularly.  The consequence is that one never feels alone.  Although we have left JTC in Los Angeles, JTC remains a part of us.  

The JTC experience repeats itself day after day and reminds us of how to face our challenges, how to help our little darling, and how to find peace within a questioning heart or worried mind.  Thankfully, we gave ourselves and our Isabella this benefit.

Posted in ESSAY.