Julie explains how AG Bell’s Parent Support Line provides resources and support for parents, grandparents and family members who are navigating the hearing loss journey with their child and helping children live a life without limits.
At Cochlear, we recognize the emotional journey that many families take when their child is first identified with hearing loss. Because of this, Cochlear is proud to partner with AG Bell to sponsor their Parent Support Line, which provides valuable resources and support to families on their hearing journey. We had a moment to connect with Julie Swaim, the coordinator of the Parent Support Line and mother of a child with hearing loss. Here is what Julie had to share.
“It’s truly an honor to be asked to help parents and grandparents who are on the journey with their child who is deaf or hard of hearing and is learning to listen and talk. For many, this is an unexpected journey – there is no history of deafness in their family and they have no one to turn to who can guide them on all of the steps they need to take to help their child understand and speak the language of their family.” For that reason, Cochlear partnered with the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to establish the Listen-Learn-Link: Parent Support Line at AG Bell.
Inspired by Grayson
“I’m also a parent who took this journey. Our son became deaf when he contracted meningitis as a toddler. Grayson is now himself a father, a very successful information technology specialist, married to a lovely nurse. But when he lost his hearing, we had no idea what might be possible for him. We didn’t even know if he would learn to talk, do well in school or grow up to have a good job. We turned to friends of friends or colleagues who were deaf, and they shared their experiences, but where we learned what was possible was from AG Bell.”
AG Bell Parent Support Line
Julie tells us about her family’s experience with AG Bell and the value of the support they received. “In AG Bell, we found a wealth of information about childhood hearing loss and we learned the steps we needed to take to help Grayson hear, talk and achieve his potential. We talked with other parents and began to see that we could help our son reach for the stars. Because of all I learned, I was able to take a position to help other parents in my state who were taking this journey, and now I provide that guidance through AG Bell’s Parent Support Line.”
Cochlear stands behind AG Bell as the exclusive sponsor of the Parent Support Line. Through this vital resource, parents can call or send an email, and they’ll get a quick response to any question they may have. AG Bell has access to hundreds of professionals teaching children to listen and speak who know what it takes for children with hearing loss to learn language, become literate, and advance academically. AG Bell works with volunteers in 41 state chapters across the country, not just professionals but also adults who grew up with hearing loss and parents who understand how to work with a child’s hearing and speech team, how to navigate public services and the school system to provide children with the best support possible, and how to enrich their life so they can join in all the activities of family and community.
The Parent Support Line ensures that parents understand the options when choosing a communication method for their child, and when they choose Listening and Spoken Language, this program is the entryway to a whole system of knowledge and support. Cochlear and AG Bell believe that the human touch makes all the difference to parents who are facing new challenges with their child, so every effort is made to connect with people. We encourage families, as well as the professionals who support them, to turn to AG Bell for the most up-to-date, real-life information to help children grow from cradle to career and live a life without limits.
For more information, contact the AG Bell Parent Support Line: ParentSupportLine@agbell.org.