Caitlin’s Story

February 10th, 2009 by | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »

Caitlin and I have known each other since we were little as Caitlin attended the same Auditory-Verbal center as I did, and she also worked with Mary Ann, my AV therapist.  We saw each other at a few Auditory-Verbal related functions and also got together a few times.  Caitlin is currently studying in college and has aspiring dreams to become a doctor.  She hears and speaks very well and is an incredible role model for young deaf children!  Here is Caitlin’s story:

I was born with a profound hearing loss, and when my parents found out, they were distraught because they thought that I wasn’t going to be able to speak or communicate normally with other kids. For the next few years, I communicated via sign language until I finally received the cochlear implant at the age of 4 in 1993. I distinctively remember watching my first movie in sound, Batman, and how I was intrigued by all of the different sounds around me: my parents’ voices, my cat meowing, the movie itself, etc. It was definitely an overwhelming and unforgettable moment.

Auditory-Verbal had allowed me to catch up with my peers on verbal skills with much effort involved, and by the time I enrolled in public school for 1st grade, no one could tell that I was born deaf. One of the many accomplishments that I couldn’t have done without the CI was to be able to perform in the Midwest Clinic with my middle school symphonic band in 8th grade, in which I played the trumpet. It was located in Chicago, Illinois, and only a few bands around the nation were qualified to perform. I then continued to play the trumpet throughout high school, and as a senior I was selected to be a section leader for the trumpet section in marching band.

Other than being in the symphonic and marching band for four years in high school, I was also on the soccer team, captain of the Varsity golf team, a member of the Beta Club, and also took Spanish for four years. Many of my teachers and friends were not aware that I had a cochlear implant unless I told them, and were astonished by my accomplishments. I then graduated high school with Honors, and am now majoring in biomedical engineering on the pre-medical track at the Georgia Institute of Technology. I would have to say that even the fact that I was going to college have made my parents proud, because no one expected me to go this far when they initially diagnosed me with profound hearing loss.

If it weren’t for the professionals and my parents, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Ever since I was a little kid, my parents have always told me to never take life for granted, and I have grasped that in every moment that I’ve experienced in life. I currently aspire to be like Dr. Wendell Todd, who was my surgeon for the cochlear implant surgery, and I wish to set as a mentor for kids and adults who were in similar situations as my parents and I were in. Knowing that a lot of people are not as fortunate as I was when I was a kid, I wish to reach out and help them out.

And here’s a quote that I keep in mind everyday that allows me to thrive to succeed:

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door” – Milton Berle



Mary Ann Costin

February 11, 2009 at 1:51 am


You, like so many Auditory-Verbal young adults your age, have an incredible story to tell about your parents’ role in helping you access your hearing potential, and their commitment to support you in becoming a listening, speaking person who now has numerous educational choices in life. It is a story that must be told because there are parents of newly diagnosed babies and young children who are faced with making difficult educational and life long decisions for their children, just as yours did many years ago. I am very pleased that you have made the decision to tell your story, and I know that you will discover, as so many of us in the hearing impaired profession have discovered, that to help another person is the most rewarding experience you will ever have in life. I am very proud of you.

Mary Ann Costin

Caitlin J

February 11, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Mary Ann,

Thanks so much for the words of encouragement! Don’t forget that if it weren’t for you, my parents, and Dr. Todd, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’m certainly trying very hard to accomplish my dreams, and help others while doing so. Once again, thanks!

-Caitlin Johnson