Ashlee Rose :Tell us about yourself.
Kimberly: My name is Kimberly Hastings- I’m a wife, Mom, sister, daughter.. the list could go on and on. My family is my top priority in life and love. I fill my days as the Manager of Alumni Relations for Midwestern University. My weekends are filled with family- either on the soccer field with Colt or at the baseball diamond cheering on my oldest son, Brody and the occasional sushi date night with my hubby, Jay.
Ashlee Rose:How old was your son when he was diagnosed with a hearing loss? Was the cause discovered?
Kimberly: Colt was diagnosed with a hearing loss within a few hours of being born. We learned of his loss at his newborn screening. Colt’s cause was never determined, although we did every test we could, including the DNA test to see if the loss was hereditary, it wasn’t. Dr. Macias, Colt’s surgeon who implanted Colt told us we would never know why, but he was confident cochlear implants would change Colt’s world and ours. He was absolutely right.
Ashlee Rose: How did you feel when you first found out about his hearing loss?
Kimberly: My husband and I were devastated to learn Colt was profoundly deaf. We were in disbelief as neither of us have a history of hearing loss. To hear your child can only hear a jet engine is not what any parent ever wants to hear. We immediately turned our devastation into finding answers.
Ashlee Rose:What approach did you and your husband take?
Kimberly:We learned that asking questions and researching would lead us in the right direction. We discovered Desert Voices Oral Learning Center, a local nonprofit which changed our lives and gave us a sense of community. Colt started with speech therapy a few hours a week when he was only a few months old and eventually he was a full time student, even graduating when he was five years old. When Colt was 5 months old, we first tried hearing aids hoping and praying Colt would respond. Unfortunately, Colt’s loss is so severe that hearing aids didn’t help and our second option was cochlear implants. Colt was just under two when he received his first cochlear implant. He immediately responded and there were many tears of joy. When Colt was just under five years old, he received his second cochlear implant. Colt worked very hard putting in six hours a day at Desert Voices to learn to hear and speak and thanks to his hard work, Colt was mainstreamed into the public school system at six years old.
Ashlee Rose:How was the process of getting Cochlear implants and the results? Does he enjoy going to audiology? Speech and school?
Kimberly: Surgery is never easy, but we were confident the surgery would be a success. And both times, Colt responded beautifully to his cochlear implants. Life really is a journey and it’s the same with cochlear implants. The implants were the tool and it was Colt’s dedication and hard work along with Desert Voices teachers and speech therapists that gave Colt a voice and taught him to hear. Due to everyone’s determination and focusing on the positive, to this day Colt is a typical 9 year old little boy. The best compliment we hear is that “we would never know Colt has a hearing loss if we didn’t see his cochlear implants.” Colt’s speech is so clear and his ability to hear even the slightest sounds amaze us every day.
Ashlee Rose: Tell us about Colt, where is he at with school, friends, and sports? What does he want to be when he grows up?
Kimberly: Colt’s in third grade at Legend Springs Elementary- he’s a straight A student. His favorite class is Math and just recently his Music class introduced violins and while it’s challenging, Colt’s loving it. When he’s not in school, you can find him in his Neymar jersey on the soccer field. He’s extremely competitive and is a natural athlete. Colt’s also the life of the party- he gets along with everyone and we hear time and time again how kind he is to all his classmates. Ever since Colt was a baby he’s been intrigued and told us he would be a pilot- at nine that’s still his dream job!
Ashlee Rose:Does he have any special equipment or devices for schooling or sports during practices and games?
Kimberly: Colt’s school, Legend Springs Elementary was so gracious with the transition to public school- in Kinder, Colt found success with the teacher wearing an FM system. Colt also utilizes a mini mic that has helped assist when the use of headphones is required. When Colt plays soccer he wears an Under Armour headband to help keep his implants on.
Ashlee Rose: While he was growing up, was there a significant moment you would like to share with us? (Colt, devices, audiology, school/sport or parenting :anything )
Kimberly: One defining moment that I like to share is when Colt was implanted with his second implant and we arrived at the audiologist for the activation. It’s always an anxious time, but as soon as the implant was activated, Colt proclaimed “ I do hear it.” Four words that forever changed our lives! And what made the activation even more special was I recorded it and Colt’s Grandma was able share in the joyous moment. To this day, every time I see an activation video I tear up. It’s the first step of a long journey and I can truly say the good outweighs the bad.
Ashlee Rose: Is there a favorite quote you would like to share with us? Also, what advice would you like to give to other parents of deaf and hard of hearing and deaf individuals?(Also, does Colt have an advice? Any inspiring message to share with others)
Kimberly: Colt’s advice is to always have fun. This kid can find the positive in nearly every situation. He’s actually taught our entire family and friends about what life is all about. Things won’t always go as you plan, but every day is a choice and we’re always going to be a “glass half full family.” To those parent’s starting the journey, beginnings are always scary, but find the path that works and its different for every family. It took me years to be able to share Colt’s story without stopping because of tears and frustration. To this day, I’m proud to share his story and his successes. While we never planned for this, we took for granted life would be perfect- we’re truly blessed to have met incredible families who we’ve laughed, cried and celebrated together. We can’t wait to see where this journey will take Colt and we know nothing will hold him back!
Hearing Impaired single mother and teacher aide at a hearing impaired oral preschool program. An author of "Turn The Lights On, I Cant Hear You".