“My name is Lauren G. and I was named 1995 Child of Year by the Florida Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists. Since then, it has been quite a journey, but an experience that I will always be grateful for. I was diagnosed with a bilateral sensorineural severe to profound hearing loss at the age of three. My loss was discovered by my mother who caught me reading her lips, a skill I had apparently already taught myself. My parents were determined to give me all the tools I needed to succeed. I was fitted for hearing aids and enrolled in speech therapy immediately.
“My experience as Child of the Year is something that I will never forget. For a six year old, with a hearing loss, it was uplifting and encouraging. It gave me the opportunity to learn how to educate others and show the world that hearing loss doesn’t have to be a hindrance. Growing up with a hearing loss was not always easy, but there was a strength and drive that I had, that enabled me to go far in life. Today, I use my Child of the Year experience to show others the journey from then to now; to show parents and children that success is possible.
“I was a competitive swimmer, a basketball player, a dancer, and even sang in my high school choir. I was a member of the Timber Creek High School Regiment Color Guard and Winter Guard. I was an honor student and an active volunteer for many organizations. I have been very fortunate to be able to attempt and succeed at many things, become who I am today, and continue to grow. These things are not without roadblocks, but, with hearing aids, the gift of lip-reading, the determination to adapt and other assistive listening devices, I have the tools I need to be able to experience most everything that a hearing person can. The rest is up to me!
“I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media. I am a bit of a technology geek, as my expertise consists of social media, web design, graphic design and digital arts. I am a member of the Hearing Loss Association of American and involved with the HLAA Lakeland Chapter (and indirectly providing assistance to the HLAA-Florida Board!). I also love creative activities, such as drawing, painting, crafting, and scrapbooking. I still love to read, write and even do puzzles!
I am now 26 years old, a college graduate and the Communications Coordinator for Central Florida Speech and Hearing Center. Central Florida Speech and Hearing Center is a non-profit organization that provides hearing and speech services to all ages in Central Florida. The Center gave me a chance when no one else did, and for that I am utterly grateful. I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to work with an organization that is centered on speech and hearing, both of which play a huge role in my personal life. It is my dream to be able to share my story and to hopefully inspire those that are ‘like me’. I feel honored that I get an opportunity to use my Child of the Year and personal experiences to help others in my everyday work.”