HEARING CLEARLY: A toddler's first experience with the sounds of life
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Louisville toddler has never heard her mother sing a lullaby or her father say that he loves her -- until now.
Sterling Riggs takes us to the monumental moment when a little girl hears her mother's voice for the very first time.
Reyn Schadt is a happy toddler full of energy.
She loves spending time at the park with her brother Charlie and can't hold back her smile on the swing.
But her world is different.
The 16-month-old was born with a congenital virus called Cytomegalovirus, or CMV, leaving her hearing impaired.
About 1 in 150 children are born with CMV.
Little did Reyn know, that her world was about change forever.
Reyn's parents have been working with Louisville Audiologist Shelly Moats for the past few months in the hopes of giving their daughter the gift of hearing through a cochlear implant.
"It's been quite a journey," said Courtney Schadt. "Finding out that she had hearing loss was shocking. I really didn't know much about people with hearing loss. I assumed that she would have to use sign language and that she might not be able to go to mainstream school."
Reyn's parents were nervous and anxious on the day they had waited for since learning Reyn was hearing impaired.
Finally, it was time for doctors to turn on Reyn's cochlear implant for the very first time. Reyn's silent world changed with the flick of a button; the vibration and sounds were unfamiliar to the toddler's brain, and she began to cry.
Although no mother wants her child to cry, Reyn's tears brought a smile to her mother's face, because her reaction meant the cochlear implant was working.
"It's a very exciting day for me because I've met children who have cochlear implants who are older than her and that has been the most inspiring thing for me," Courtney said. "The kids run around the playground and you never notice the implant and those kids are amazing!"
Fast forward two months and Reyn and her mother sing songs together.
"We've really seen her personality blossom during the past two months," Courtney said. "It's been amazing. I feel like we've just made this huge journey where at the beginning I felt hopeless about it. It was a big mourning period for us as a family because we really didn't know what her future held. Now her whole life is ahead of her without any limitation."
Reyn's off and running in her new world of sound.
She's a little girl who is determined and battle tested to conquer any challenge that might come her way in the future.
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