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August 19, 2004

NO LIMITS Helps Hearing Impaired Kids

From: KFMB, CA - Aug 19, 2004

(08-19-2004) - It used to be that children with profound deafness had a hard time fitting in this world. But now, thanks to the invention of surgical cochlear implants, local kids are hearing and speaking in ways they never imagined. The "No Limits" program provides deaf children with a chance for their voices to be heard.

Actors on one stage have a lot in common. Not only are they learning the craft of theater performing, they're also learning to hear and speak effectively using their cochlear implants.

People forget, once they get that implant you think automatically they can hear and they'll understand and start talking immediately. And we have to remember that it's like a foreign language to them, if you go to Russia you can hear it but you don't understand Russian and that's the same for them, said Michelle Christie.

Christie founded the No Limits theater program. She goes from state to state, teaching kids to use their voices in productive ways.

You will see individual strengths that will come out and a lot of it is that confidence when they first start out and have a hard time saying the lines, certain words are hard and have to be repeated 50, 60, 70 times to make sure they're just right and for us as teachers when they get it it's like yes! It feels so good, continued Michelle.

And for the parents, the feeling is just the same.

She's come so far and I'm just so proud of her, said mother Suzanne Emgee.

But when it all comes down to it, what the kids think is what matters.

I just like the stage, I just like talking in front of people, said Allison Emgee.

If I can be an actor when I grow up I could be famous or something, like Harry Potter, Brett Havertz explained.

Goals which are reachable, when kids understand there truly are no limits.

The No Limits program is free and no auditions are necessary. The summer program is over this year, but there are already plans for another play next summer.

Copyright © 2004 Midwest Television