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May 15, 2007

Quota helps boy to hear, Club funds device at child’s day care center

From: Newszap Maryland - MD,USA - May 15, 2007

By Renee Gilliard, Daily Banner

CAMBRIDGE — Three-year-old Da’Kai Bryant was born deaf but with help from family, teachers and the Cambridge Quota Club, can once again hear the sounds of his classmates at Jack and Jill Daycare Center.

According to Donna Jean Peters, day care facilitator at Jack and Jill, the pieces of Da’Kai’s hearing device came apart and got lost in transit to and from school. The Quota Club then stepped in to provide funding for the daycare facility to maintain a hearing device of its own for Da’Kai. The device device allows Da’Kai to sense sounds through electronic impulses sent to the auditory nerve through his pre-existing cochlear implant.

“It is imperative. When he doesn’t have it there is no communication at all except sign language. … Now he is less frustrated,” said Arlene Peters, owner and director of Jack and Jill as well as a former Quota member.

The Quota Club held its annual Derby Day celebration May 5 to raise money for its outreach efforts, which include hearing screenings, donations, sign language courses, and other services.

According to the 2005 data from the Food and Drug Administration, only 15,000 children in the country have cochlear implants. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders says used appropriately and coupled with pertinent developmental or speech therapy, cochlear devices provide exposure to sounds that aid in the development of speech and language skills at a child’s critical growth period.

Da’Kai’s mother, Nicole Henry, said that having the device available for Da’Kai at school has helped him develop speaking skills and hearing comprehension.

“It’s just wonderful. I love it,” she said.

As a state accredited day-care provider, Jack and Jill staff works with the Maryland School for the Deaf twice each month in order to better understand sign language and to help Da’Kai develop his sign language skills. Da’Kai also regularly sees his speech pathologist, Denise Tomey, hearing teacher Kathy Jones and developmental therapist Linda Landrum at Choptank Elementary as a part of his Individualized Education Plan.

Ms. Peters, said the children in Da’Kai’s class are learning sign language and that the staff work with children to reinforce their curiosity by integrating sign language into their lessons.

It was her membership in the Quota Club that gave Ms. Peters the idea. Knowing the contributions the organization regularly makes to the hearing-impaired, she requested funding for a second device for Da’Kai.

© 2007 Newszap Maryland