CCHAT Student Spotlight: Hugo
CCHAT values the role it is able to play in the lives of our families. While children with hearing loss are in our program, we form tight relationships and do our best to provide comprehensive support and resources to them and their families. All the while, we know one day they will be prepared to take on the world and we must let them go.
Hugo Pineda developed from a quiet toddler to a chatty, joyful kindergartener at CCHAT. He graduated last month and will soon continue his journey at his neighborhood school. The impact CCHAT had in Hugo’s life is one that his mom, Ricarda, will not soon forget, and she is committed to paying it forward for future CCHAT families.
Learning of Hugo’s Hearing Loss
Ricarda was taken by surprise when at the time of his birth, Hugo was diagnosed with hearing loss. Known for her positive attitude, Ricarda took the news in stride.
“I was a little worried,” Ricarda said. “But I also felt like it was a blessing. I’m not sure how to explain it.”
Hugo was fitted with a bone-anchored hearing aid, also known as a BAHA. These devices attach to a headband and are commonly used in instances of single-sided deafness, as was the case for Hugo.
At a meeting with the family’s school district, CCHAT was recommended as a strong fit for Hugo. It is a placement that Ricarda feels incredibly fortunate to have received.
“Our family was blessed when we found CCHAT,” she said.
Hugo Brings His Charm to CCHAT
Hugo initially joined CCHAT’s Toddler class. His energy and joyful personality immediately left a mark on staff members who worked with the 3 year old.
Lauren Gius, Hugo’s first speech therapist at CCHAT, remembers her first impressions of Hugo.
“Hugo was a happy little guy who worked hard and wanted to learn,” Lauren said. “As he got comfortable at school, his language just kept rapidly developing.”
With this development came spontaneous, witty language that Hugo used to enjoy thoughtful conversations with those around him. Now a 5-year-old kindergartener, Hugo keeps his teachers and classmates laughing with his sharp humor. He is always looking to expand his knowledge with inquisitive questions and deep thoughts, and his booming singing voice can be heard throughout campus during CCHAT’s daily music class.
“I always enjoy my sessions with Hugo,” said Lauren, who again served as Hugo’s speech therapist this past year. “I’m so proud of his continued speech and language growth. He is going to do so well in his mainstream school.”
Ricarda has loved watching her son develop his communication and confidence in the program.
“Hugo has been the happiest kid in the world because of CCHAT,” she said. “The way he talks about the staff and the love he has for CCHAT is amazing.”
Paying It Forward
Ricarda is both sad and excited that Hugo’s CCHAT graduation has come. Most of all, she feels thankful knowing that Hugo is prepared for his next step.
This appreciation has led Ricarda to become a donor for the program. Last year, she enrolled as a “Champion for CCHAT,” making a monthly monetary pledge to ensure the sustainability of the program that helped her family find its way.
“CCHAT has been a huge part of Hugo’s growth,” she said. “It makes me feel good to help children like my son.”
Hugo’s Next Chapter
Hugo joins a long line of children who will leave CCHAT with a strong foundation of listening and spoken language skills. CCHAT alumni students achieve greatness on a daily basis, and Hugo, with his determination, family support and abundant acquired knowledge, is in a great position to continue this trend. To read more features on CCHAT alumni students, click here.