Student Spotlight – George Van Zile

What do you do with a bright, very active, determined little boy? It was a question Nick and Emily Van Zile had to answer when they were told their 18-month old son, George, didn’t have fluid in his ears but a hearing loss that required attention. After the shock of the diagnosis, the Van Ziles set about finding out everything they could about their son’s options. He was fitted with hearing aids, and their story could have ended there. 

George Van Zile

A chance meeting with another mother at a pumpkin patch for children lead to a conversation that ultimately resulted in George becoming a student at Ohio Valley Voices. Emily says, “We take every day as it comes. George has made remarkable progress at OVV. When we visited the school before enrolling him, my husband and I were amazed at how much interaction there was between the students and their teachers.”

What the Van Ziles wanted for George was an opportunity to grow into his full potential. “George knew a few words; however, the progress he made in just a few weeks confirmed that OVV was the right place for him to learn. We were thrilled they had space for him.”

Ohio Valley Voices educates the whole child. Each student receives up to six hours of individualized learning to improve the way they listen and hear. “This year, COVID-19 has made learning a little more challenging for George,” says Emily. He’s a very social child, so the classroom redesign for social distancing, fewer students in learning pods, and wearing face shields were all new to him. The staff and teachers are phenomenal in helping all students make adjustments to a unique learning style.”

For Emily, seeing her son’s progress grow by ‘leaps and bounds’ was wonderful. “Our whole family (George’s brothers Oscar, 5 and Walter, 2 months) has learned ways to communicate and interact with each other that expands our appreciation of each other. “Every parent wants the best for their children. At OVV, my husband and I can see great things for George. We know that being at OVV allows him to live an extraordinary life. So much concern about George’s future has been alleviated. We can breathe more easily, knowing that our son has a firm foundation upon which to build his future.”

George, now 4, is described as a happy, determined — sometimes stubborn — little boy who is a go-getter and has no problem adapting to his surroundings. He also likes what little boys his age like — police cars and fire engines, pizza, and to be read a nighttime story. George’s favorite book is Good Night Moon.