My name is Chris. My wife Leslie and I have two sons. One is Bobby who is 14. And one is Johnny who is 12, and Johnny was born severe to profoundly deaf. Once I got the diagnosis that Johnny was deaf, I basically mourned for three days. I just cried, and I thought, “What type of future is my son gonna have?” I’d never met a deaf person, and I didn’t know what to do. My sister and I went to the John Tracy clinic for the deaf – a fabulous place. And that was the start, I guess of phase 2 of our journey. One thing they taught us at John Tracy was always to be after Johnny in improving his speech and improving his listening. And I remember when he was very little, he, like a lot of kids, would gesture and grunt and [audible noise], like holding up a cup. And I’d say, “No Johnny! Use your words,” you know, “What do you want? What are you trying to say?” Or I would take the cup and wash it and put it away, and he wanted to drink. And that forced him to come up and say, “water” or “I want water”, you know, “What about water? I want water.” So we had to draw these things out from where, you know, if you did that normally, you would be a pain in the neck. Johnny went through a couple programs at John Tracy. He went through Demonstration Home, which is again, for infants. And then he went to their preschool, and I attended their support groups. And through the support groups, I made friends with a lot of other parents of deaf children and we networked and learned from each other. Johnny attended until he was three, and at that point, we wanted to mainstream him as quickly as possible, so we moved him to a private pre-school where there were eight kids in the class and two teachers. We really felt that it was important that he have as normal of a childhood as possible, and Johnny wanted to go to the same school as his brother and be with his brother. And as parents, we’ve tried to make sure that he doesn’t feel sorry for himself. He doesn’t have a negative attitude. That he tries to think of what he can do and do those things that he can do, and do them well. When Johnny was young, we were told that our expectations were too high. And that, you know, we were going to be disappointed. My husband and I just felt that the higher our expectations, the more Johnny would deliver. Certainly, we didn’t want to be overbearing, and we didn’t want to push him, but we knew Johnny, he’s very competitive. He wanted to keep up with his brother, so we sort of took advantage of that. There was one time when Leslie’s mom was teaching Bobby to read, that she was sounding out words for him, and she would say, “Alright, this is ‘bat’. B-A-T, bat. And if I put an ‘r’ sound in front of it, what would it be?” And Bobby thought about it for a minute, because Bobby’s cautious and he likes to be sure, and Johnny behind him yelled out, “Rat!” because Johnny wanted to be part of the learning conversation. He wanted to show too, that he could learn quicker than Bobby did. So they’re very competitive which, you know, it helps. It helps that there’s a little bit of competition as long as it doesn’t get one-sided, and as long as we can keep Johnny from doing his celebration dances in front of Bobby when he gets something right. And we really don’t treat him much different than we treat our other son, and some of my friends think that that’s too harsh, that we should coddle him more, but I find that with Johnny, the more we expect, the more he delivers. We’ve always said about deafness that it’s the gentlest handicap. And we’ve always felt that we’ve been fortunate that Johnny was born when he was born because now there’s so much more available to the deaf community. From hearing aids, to digital hearing aids, to cochlear implant technology, there is so much more available to a deaf person in terms of access to sound than there’s ever been in the history of the world. And it’s only getting better. And we’re very fortunate and we’re very grateful for that.