Toviah The Future Firefighter

Toviah Graham, age 4, a recipient of a 2012 AG Bell Parent-Infant Financial Aid award, was born with a profound hearing loss and he wants to be a firefighter when he grows up. He received his first cochlear implant at 12 months old and a second implant at 16 months old. Toviah’s most recent Preschool Language Assessment (PLS-5) indicated that his combined listening and spoken language development is on par with his peers with typical hearing!

Toviah’s success was helped, in part, by the receipt of an AG Bell Parent-Infant Financial Aid award. His family used the award money to cover the registration fee to attend the John Tracy Clinic (JTC) 2013 Summer Session. “The clinic was a huge help in finding the missing pieces of the puzzle in Toviah's journey to spoken language,” said Maggie Graham, Toviah’s mom. Toviah received onsite services five days a week for three weeks and worked with an auditory-verbal therapist and an audiologist in addition to attending spoken language preschool classes. His parents attended parent education classes.

Being from rural Montana—where the only local service for Toviah is speech therapy—the family is accustomed to traveling eight hours in a single day just to be able to provide Toviah with regular mapping sessions. The experience at the JTC Summer Program was an invaluable, encouraging and growing experience for the entire family.

“Although it feels that our job as parents is never done and it often feels like a struggle to provide Toviah with the very best, we also have to celebrate his accomplishments and strengths,” noted Maggie Graham. Toviah recently started mainstream preschool and he is fitting right in. He loves meeting new people (and remembers their name better than his mom does!), jumping on the trampoline, swimming, and pretending to be a firefighter. Below is a link of a one-minute video of Toviah that was made last fall when he had just turned 3 years old in which he acting out his future dream job! Watch Toviah on YouTube!