Going the Distance: Computer Brings Learning Home

Teachers can have a wide reach. They possess the power to impact lives, even from another zip code. Megan and Eric Slane and their three sons, Chad, Graham and Evan, live 160 miles from Milwaukee in Lancaster, Wisconsin. When Evan was born deaf, an audiologist told them about the teleintervention therapy through HEAR Wisconsin’s ConnectHEAR Program. A HEAR Wisconsin licensed auditory-verbal speech language therapist made contact, and when Evan was six months old, instruction began, one hour a day, twice per month, via Skype.

“I set the laptop up wherever Evan is at the time of our session,” Megan said. “Sometimes we’re reading books at the bookshelf, sometimes we’re playing with cars on a ramp, other times we’re doing puzzles together. I fill the therapist in on whatever Evan is doing and we’ll dive in, engaging Evan.”

“We wanted to make spoken language Evan’s primary mode of communication,” Megan said. “I knew providing Evan with access to sound wasn’t going to be enough, and we wanted him to thrive. Since there was no help available locally, distance learning was the answer.”

At age one, Evan received cochlear implants, making all the prior learning advantages evident. “I don’t know who benefited more from this program, Evan or me,” Megan said. “Once Evan was hearing, I felt like we were a few steps ahead.”