Last year, I had the pleasure of meeting the Ballein family. Their story was about love: How two parents drove 45 minutes each way to make sure their daughter, Brooklyn, got lessons that will allow her to be a part of the world.
Brooklyn was born with failing hearing. She needed a cochlear implant. What you might not know is that children who receive those implants have to learn how to interpret sound. That takes a lot of work and specialized therapy, but a school in Loveland called Ohio Valley Voices (OVV) has a program geared to kids just like her.
I reached out to the folks at OVV after Ohio Department of Health director Amy Acton issued a statewide stay-at-home order for COVID-19. I wanted to know how they were still reaching their students (because I knew they would be). Like so many other educational entities, they are having their therapy sessions over things like Zoom. They’ve even developed flashcards for the sessions. They are proof that you can pivot in tough times.
“It’s very important that we have this interaction as students are younger," said Kari Weinheimer of OVV. "Their language gap for listening and speaking gets smaller day by day, so you want to get as much language as you can as soon as possible.”
So time is of the essence, and they’re making the most of it. That’s not lost on the Balleins.
“OVV has gone above and beyond to make sure the kids are still serviced," said Megan Ballein, Brooklyn's mom. "It’s just a testament to how much they care. …We are just so grateful.”
It seems to be all in a day's work for OVV. Weinheimer said it fits our segment title.
“It’s Positively Cincinnati because we’re working together as a community," she said. "We’re a great big family at OVV and everyone’s working together to achieve the goal to help everybody.”
Ohio Valley Voices is using teletherapy with all 52 of its kids.
In normal years, it has fundraisers to give scholarships to families who might not be able to pay for the services that help kids thrive in a speaking world. COVID-19 means no fundraisers right now, but if you’d like to help, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.