By Ellie Parker, Features Editor
Danielle Azose graduated from Stern College with a speech pathology and audiology degree and is pursuing a career as a speech therapist. This summer she worked with children who have hearing loss.
Ellie Parker: Can you tell us a little bit about what you did this past summer?
Danielle Azose: Sure! I worked in a camp for kids with hearing loss called Camped Up, on the Upper West Side. It has been operating for seven years and it is run by deaf teachers. The ages of the kids range from two to fourteen. Something interesting about this specific camp is that all of the children have cochlear implants, so none of them speak sign language.
EP: How does one go about getting a cochlear implant?
DA: Usually insurance covers it, but in certain countries it is harder to get one. Some of the kids in my camp were from different countries and they got their implants later in life. Those kids have significant delays in their speech and language compared to kids who were implanted at birth. Children who receive cochlear implants before the age of two can… hear and speak as well as a…hearing child. The earlier you get access to sound, the better your speech will be. Language all starts with hearing in gustation, since you can only speak as well as you hear. A baby born deaf is… given a hearing test, three months later they are given a referral, and then they are given the opportunity to implant or learn sign language… In America, all babies are tested and implanted by six-months-old.
EP: What was one of the coolest things about the camp?
DA: The whole point of the camp is that the kids are mainstream. Almost all of the kids have very strong written and verbal skills and are integrated into normal classrooms and most of them are the only kids in their class with cochlear implants or hearing aids. They are very lonely a lot of the time. But Camped Up provides a forum for them to meet other kids [like them.] It was really cool to see these kids interact…
EP: How did you find out about the camp?
DA: I knew I wanted to work with kids with hearing loss, so I just Googled it. But I would highly recommend it to students who are interested in this subject.
EP: Lastly, do you feel like the audiology department at Stern prepared you for this type of job and graduate school in general?
DA: Yes, three Stern girls were accepted to my graduate program at Lehman. Elisheva Rosensweig’s class prepared me for a career in speech. I feel so well-educated. Even [when] talking to the other speech therapists at the camp, who have been doing this for years, I felt like I was able to maintain intellectual conversations with them. I think my ability to have an opinion on cochlear implants is thanks to Elisheva’s class, Oral Rehabilitation. Although the audiology department at Stern isn’t perfect, I feel well prepared to enter graduate school.
Photo: CampedUP Website