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Jul 21, 2016

Senator Blumenthal Visits CREC Soundbridge to Highlight Importance of Hearing Loss Early Detection and Intervention Program

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(Wethersfield, CT) U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., visited CREC Soundbridge, a program that provides audiological and educational services to more than 900 children throughout Connecticut, Wednesday to highlight why Congress needs to reauthorize the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act.

“Early detection of hearing loss and early intervention are both crucially important for building a foundation for a child’s linguistic and academic success, and we are very appreciative of the senator’s support of the bill,” said CREC Soundbridge Director Elizabeth Cole.

SoundbridgeIMG_8566.jpgThe act, which expired in 2015, provided funding for critical early hearing screening, intervention, rehab, and research, and is credited with improving the rate of newborn hearing screenings from 40 percent in 2000 to 97 percent today. Blumenthal is a co-sponsor of a bill pending in the U.S. Senate, which would reauthorize the act, allowing families to get the help they need.

“The Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act is a proven success, more than doubling the rate of newborn hearing screenings nationwide—enabling lifesaving and life changing immediate intervention,” Blumenthal said. “I am proud to stand with Connecticut parents and educators in helping to lead the reauthorization of this vital program.”

On Wednesday, Blumenthal spoke with parents of children with hearing loss about their personal experiences. He learned when and how children were diagnosed and the services they received, and he learned about cochlear implants and how they work. He also spoke with the children, answering questions about his job and telling them about his family.

“My name is Richard,” said the senator, introducing himself to Michael Torreso, of Bristol. “I’m just visiting.”

Now 7, Michael was diagnosed with hearing loss when he was 18 months old. It is genetic, said his mother, Ginny Torreso, explaining that a recessive gene is the reason why Michael has hearing loss.

Michael happily uses two cochlear implants to improve his hearing. Without CREC Soundbridge and its audiological services, Michael would not be talking so well and learning to read, his mother said.

The Talisse family shared a similar story with Blumenthal. Sam and Spencer Talisse, 6-year-old twins from Ridgefield, also have hearing loss due to genetics and received cochlear implants at age 4. After three years of making daily trips to Wethersfield from Fairfield Country to attend preschool and kindergarten at CREC Soundbridge, the twins are now being educated in their home school district. CREC Soundbridge continues to provide audiological and educational support services.

“They are doing really well,” Marcela Talisse said. “We have Soundbridge to thank.”

Throughout its 50-year history, CREC Soundbridge has helped thousands of families get the support and services they need, giving children a chance to overcome challenges to live happy, successful, and productive lives. The program promotes listening and speaking in children with hearing loss from birth to age 21.

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The Capitol Region Education Council was established in 1966 and is celebrating 50 years of academic excellence. Working with and for its member districts, CREC has developed a wide array of cost-effective and high-quality programs and services to meet the educational needs of children and adults in the region. CREC brings five decades of experience in education, regional collaboration, and operations to provide innovative strategies and products that address the changings needs of school districts and their students, corporations, non-profits, and individual professions. CREC regularly serves 36 towns in Greater Hartford, offering more than 120 programs to more than 150,000 students annually. CREC manages more than 35 facilities throughout the area, including 18 interdistrict magnet schools. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org.

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