Parris Jarret remembers her first visit to Ohio Valley Voices like it was yesterday.
“From the moment I walked through the doors and read the quote on the wall, I knew this was the place for Evan,” she recounts. “For those who don’t have it memorized, the quote says, ‘There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.’”
Parris’ grandson Evan Jarrett was diagnosed with bilateral profound hearing loss at fifteen months old. Devastated by the news, Parris began researching treatment options, determined to secure a bright future for the boy. She soon learned that Evan was a good candidate for cochlear implants and signed him up for the procedure. He underwent surgery at the age of two.
Even after receiving cochlear implants, however, Evan’s path remained uncertain. When Parris discovered OVV, she called the program and scheduled a tour. That initial visit made a strong impression, one that has stayed with her ever since.
“Everyone was so friendly and welcoming,” she recalls. “The second graders were lined up in the hall and every single girl had to give Evan a hug. When the tour continued, I got to see the toddler room, which was set up like a house so the kids could learn about routines. Not even mentioning the one-on-one therapy he would receive on a daily basis, it was evident he belonged there!”
Evan is now enrolled in the Discovery Center, where he hones his listening and speaking skills with the encouragement of Julie Carter and Julie Paulson. “If you ask Evan who his favorite teacher is, he will simply say Julie,” Parris jokes. “He loves them both.”
According to Parris, Evan’s favorite Discovery Center activities are those that give him an excuse to play outside. “He loves gardening and the occasional bear hunt,” she explains. “He recently spent a week reading fairy tales and was quite obsessed with Humpty Dumpty.”
In his time at OVV, Evan has acquired some wonderful memories too. “His favorite is when he acted as the strong man in the circus,” Parris says. “He played the part at home for weeks.”
When he’s not developing his communication skills in the Discovery Center, Evan likes to ride his bike and play hide and seek. “He can be shy at first,” Parris remarks. “He is a sweet boy with a great sense of humor, and nothing gives him more joy than to help others. He loves having jobs both at home and at school.”
Evan isn’t the only member of the Jarrett family who has been positively impact by Ohio Valley Voices. Parris, too, has felt her life altered as a result of the program. She is especially grateful for the guidance she has received in the parent support group.
“OVV has been the biggest blessing,” she says. “They give us tools through parent education to help us get our kids better engaged. They always have helpful suggestions and are there just to lend an ear if that’s what is needed.” Parris believes it is this holistic approach to early intervention—one centered on serving both children and their caregivers—that makes OVV such an invaluable resource for families like the Jarretts.
“I can’t say enough about the education Evan is getting at OVV,” Parris reflects. “The teachers and staff truly care about every child. If it wasn’t for their hard work, dedication, and patience, Evan would not be where he is today. We are so lucky to live in Cincinnati and have access to this top-notch school.”