CCHAT Spotlight: McCall Madriago
As CCHAT moves through its 25th year of providing listening and spoken language (LSL) services to children with hearing loss, we continue to look back at some of our alumni students who have gone on to enjoy success after exiting CCHAT’s doors.
McCall Madriago was a member of CCHAT’s second class in 1997, and the foundation of LSL skills she developed at CCHAT have helped her graduate from college, find a fulfilling job and even represent her country as an elite athlete.
Early Years at CCHAT
At age 2, McCall and her family found CCHAT, and for the next three years, the program provided McCall with some special childhood memories.
“It was a fantastic place,” McCall remembers. “I remember my speech sessions with Lisa McWilliams and Marie. I remember my classmates and how much fun we had at recess. There are nothing but great things whenever I think of CCHAT.”
Because McCall received early intervention services for her hearing loss at CCHAT, she was able to mainstream into her neighborhood kindergarten at age 5. She is grateful that she and her classmates were enrolled at CCHAT, even as the program itself was in its infancy.
“I am truly fortunate that my parents put me into this program and for the therapists that help so many kids,” McCall says. “By starting us off in speech therapy so young, a lot of us communicate very well. The ability to talk clearly has allowed me to speak for myself and communicate in any situation.”
Armed with a strong set of LSL skills developed at CCHAT, McCall found success in the classroom after leaving the program. She graduated from high school in 2013, and after a short stint at American River College, McCall transferred to Humboldt State University where she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work.
Finding A Passion on the Soccer Field
Throughout her academic career, McCall also developed her skills in athletics. At age 4, she started playing soccer and immediately fell in love with the game. Playing primarily as a center midfielder, it wasn’t long before McCall’s talent on the soccer field was noticed.
In 2013, a chance connection with a family friend led McCall to training camp for the United States Deaf Women’s National Soccer Team in Pittsburgh. McCall impressed coaches enough to be added to the team, and she has been a regular member ever since.
The amazing chance to represent her country has been a dream come true for McCall and offered her many incredible opportunities both on and off the field.
“It's surreal to represent your country,” McCall says. “Only a super small percentage of people are fortunate enough to do that, and the fact that I'm one of them blows my mind.”
While traveling the world is one of McCall’s greatest joys of being on the team, the ability to connect with other athletes with hearing loss and learn from each other is an aspect of the team she cherishes.
“My teammates are wonderful,” McCall says. “We vary in hearing devices and communication methods. Some use hearing aids or cochlear implants and only talk, some have (listening devices) and talk/sign, and some are completely Deaf and sign only. It's so much fun to be a part of a cohort where everyone understands your situation.”
McCall plans to play for the team as long as she can. She and her teammates travel to Brazil in May 2022 to compete in the Deaflympics.
While she continues to build her athletic resumé, McCall also has further career aspirations pertaining to her college field of study.
McCall, now 26, currently works for a private health care company. Her job involves providing resources for people with mental illness that allow them to maintain an independent lifestyle. She plans to return to school soon to obtain her master’s degree.
McCall is one of CCHAT’s many success stories, and she enjoys staying connected to the program. In recent years, she has returned to campus to share her soccer experiences with current CCHAT students, serving as a role model figure for children with hearing loss.
McCall also has some advice for families of children who are deaf and hard of hearing.
“Deafness is hard. It requires a lot of brain power, especially for kids,” McCall says. “Make sure your child's well-being is put first – in the classroom, in sports and in social settings. Be patient and advocate. There are so many resources for us, too! Reach out to CCHAT alumni students with any questions.”
To read stories from more CCHAT alumni students, visit our Alumni Highlights page.