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hEARo: Diane Brackett PhD CCC-SLP

May 29th, 2014 by | | Comments Off

by Leah Vitello

hEARoDiane Brackett has been my speech and language pathologist since my parents found out I was profoundly deaf when I was 2 years old. She helped spearhead the birth-to-three program in Connecticut and worked relentlessly to ensure that all newborns are screened for hearing loss. After receiving cochlear implants, I worked with her heavily until high school. We worked first out of University of Connecticut’s audiology program and then she and her colleagues opened their own center: the New England Center for Hearing and Rehabilitation (NECHEAR) in Hampton, Connecticut.

It is because of Diane that I hear and speak so well. She has always pushed me to work hard, be kind to others, and to dream big. She has pushed me to my dreams even as they changed all the time, from wanting to be an actress to going to college ten hours away from home to becoming an English professor. No matter the dream, big or small, Diane was supportive of it. She is warm, generous, and has one of the most beautiful laughs I have ever heard. I am proud to say that I was placed under her wing. When I learned that she truly is one of the best pathologists in the country and has achieved so much in her career, I realized just how hard she has worked and I want to honor her for it since she deserves to be uplifted for her work.When I was fifteen, her NECHEAR partner and friend, Toni Maxon, passed away in a car accident. It was a huge shock to the entire NECHEAR community and especially to Diane, since Toni had been her business partner and close friend for many years. The two had worked closely with me, with Diane helping me learn to hear and speak and Toni ensuring that my MAPs were up to par. The two of them made an unstoppable pathologist-audiologist team. In spite of the tragedy, Diane brought all of us closer and even had a garden planted behind NECHEAR in Toni’s honor. It is so like Diane to make such a gesture as that one. Despite the loss, Diane was able to pull through and help all of us through, since many of us were fairly young at the time. She took all of it in stride and stayed comforting and open as always.

Leah at her graduation

Without Diane, NECHEAR would not be the warm, inviting, and beautiful place it is. The people that work there are incredibly talented and Diane works hard to ensure that she has the best team possible. Diane’s dedication to each and every child, teenager, and adult that walks through NECHEAR’s doors is a rare thing in this world, and so everyone who walks out is successful, happy, and hearing and speaking the best they can. I truly believe that had I not been under Diane’s direction in my process of learning to hear and speak well, I not only would have had a harder time being mainstreamed, preparing for the SATs, and gaining confidence, but I also would not have made it to where I am today. I thank Diane for playing a huge role in my education, and it is because of her that I will pursue graduate school at Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, VA to obtain a degree in English. I plan to complete the 2-year program a year early and study abroad in London and Greece in the process. It is because of Diane’s support that I have always dreamed so big. She does not believe in stereotypes, especially the one that states that deaf people do not do well in English courses. I have Diane to thank for my voracious reading skills, strong vocabulary and writing skills, and love for literature. With her help, I have broken the stereotype that deaf people don’t make good English students. Her guidance and support of my reading and writing skills led me to achieve highest honors in English and to be awarded, after high recommendations from members of the English Department at my college, the Outstanding Senior in English award.

Diane is strong, capable, driven, and passionate. She works incredibly hard every day and deserves to be recognized for it. I know she is a humble person and I want to do something for her to show her that she truly is incredible. This is my way of thanking her for all that she has done for me. She, along with all of those who have worked at NECHEAR, is my hEARo.

Written by

Elizabeth Rosenzweig MS CCC-SLP LSLS Cert. AVT is a Listening and Spoken Language Specialist Certified Auditory Verbal Therapist. She provides auditory verbal therapy, aural rehabilitation, IEP advocacy, consultation, and LSLS mentoring for clients around the world via teletherapy. You can learn more about Elizabeth's services on her Website or Facebook.

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