Ta’Niyah was born three months premature. She spent weeks in an incubator and months in hospitals with health issues. She failed an initial hearing test, then went three years without another. In 2006, at age 3, she was diagnosed with severe hearing loss, received hearing aids and enrolled in an early childhood center in East St. Louis, Illinois. She had regular speech therapy, but fell behind at school. After two years, it was clear she was not ready for kindergarten.
Ta’Niyah and her younger brother Ta’Qwon were both born deaf, two and a half years apart, into a family where deafness was not new. Their mother, Katrina, is severely hearing-impaired. Grandma and Uncle Harold are hard of hearing, too. Katrina has three other children who can hear.
Ta’Niyah started at CID in October 2008, at the age of 5, enrolling in the primary program to work on speech, language and academic skills. Remedial reading instruction is helping her catch up with her peers so she can return to the mainstream. “Before CID, Ta’Niyah was shy, but already she says more words, is speaking more clearly and talking a lot more — especially about what goes on at school,” Katrina said. Katrina has always communicated by talking and says she enrolled Ta'Niyah and Ta'Qwon at CID in order to give them the best opportunity to learn.