Logan and Noah Turk have learned so much during their time at OVV. But above all, they have had fun.
The brothers were born just over a year apart—Logan in January of 2015 and Noah in November of 2016. When Noah was diagnosed with hearing loss shortly after birth, the boys’ parents Brian and Mary Beth Turk started looking for answers.
It was during Noah’s three month stay in the NICU that a nurse told Mary Beth about an early intervention program in Loveland called Ohio Valley Voices. Eager to find educational opportunities for her son, Mary Beth researched OVV that night and called to schedule a tour the next day.
“I brought Noah for a consultation and a tour of the center,” she says of that initial visit. “After meeting Leslie Raulie and Molly Weber and listening to them talk about hearing loss and how OVV could help Noah my response was, ‘Sign me up!’ as well as buying my own ling sound toys to use at home.”
A few months later, Logan was also diagnosed with hearing loss and Mary Beth quickly enrolled him in OVV too. Thus, the Turk boys entered their new school simultaneously—Noah in the Parent-Infant Program and Logan in the Toddler Program.
In the five years that have passed since, the Turk brothers have taken to OVV with boyish energy and enthusiasm. Every day is an opportunity to learn new words, make new friends, and have new adventures.
“Noah is buddies with everyone,” Mary Beth explains. “He loves to tell me who was at school, who was sick, and when Julie Carter has a doctor’s appointment and asks Goldilocks to fill in for her. He also enjoys hunting alligators and bears and anything involving the Gingerbread Man. I’m pretty sure he loves everything he does in Julie’s classroom.”
To Mary Beth, these seemingly mundane conversations about school activities carry huge significance, offering proof of Noah’s remarkable progress since entering the program.
“One of my favorite things is listening to Noah sing songs or tell fairytales at home that he learned in Julie’s classroom,” she says. “That will never get old in my book because for a long time I wasn’t sure he would be able to do that.”
While Noah develops his imagination in the Discovery Center, Logan forms lasting bonds with his teachers and friends in the Learning Center. And just a they do in the DC, these experiences provide language-enriched learning opportunities.
“I remember feeling nervous for Logan when he transitioned from the DC to the LC,” Mary Beth admits. “Of course, he did just fine. Ashley Domek is his Speech-Language Pathologist, and he just loves her. She calls him a sweetheart at school so Logan calls all of us at home—me, his dad, and Noah—’sweetheart’! Logan has made some great friends at OVV. I would say his two besties are Brayden and Jack.”
As the boys continue to hone their listening and speaking skills in the classroom, Mary Beth reinforces those skills at home using teaching techniques she has learned at OVV.
“My husband and I do a lot of intentional play through games or cooking,” she explains. “Kaitlyn Gilfert taught us to look through magazines and find pictures of words, then cut them out and make collages. I’m always asking Kaitlyn for suggestions or assistance, and she happily helps me out. Not only do OVV’s teachers educate my kids, but they also guide my teaching at home.”
According to Mary Beth, this focus on educating families is one of the many things that sets OVV apart from other deaf education programs. Another is the emphasis on providing specialized care tailored to each child’s unique needs.
“OVV really does have each kids’ best interest at heart and it shows,” Mary Beth says. “I have two kids who require different education plans and OVV does an amazing job of accommodating that.”
Thanks to the early intervention therapy they’ve received at OVV, Logan and Noah will soon be ready to mainstream into Kings Elementary. But Mary Beth is in no rush to have them leave OVV.
“My goal in life is to make sure they attend OVV until they are forced to graduate!” she jokes.
For the Turks, OVV is more than a school. It is a nurturing environment where their sons can be themselves, have fun, and lay the foundation for happy, fulfilling lives. It is also, by their own account, the best parenting decision they have ever made.
“My husband and I have had to make a ton of medical decisions for our kids,” Mary Beth reflects. “Sometimes we say, ‘Oh, why did we do that?’ or ‘We should have done this.’ That’s one thing we will never say about Ohio Valley Voices. It is the absolute best decision we have made for our kids’ futures.”