Andrea is a mentor for parents caring for a child with hearing and visual impairments. She also offers mentorship related to ear, nose and throat (ENT); audiology; ophthalmology care services. She has experience with the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare's Infant Toddler Program.
I am the mother of three children, two of whom were diagnosed with Usher Syndrome Type IIc. This recessively inherited syndrome causes hearing loss at birth and is followed by retinitis pigmentosa (vision loss) that starts to occur during the teenage years. There are several different types of Usher Syndrome, some of which also impact the vestibular system.
Kylie and Ryder were both born with bilateral moderate-severe sensorineural hearing loss at birth. They have both worn hearing aids since they were about six weeks old. Their vision has not yet been impacted. They are wonderful kids who excel at school and sports. Nothing stops them! They participate in Basque dancing, swim team, skiing, baseball, basketball, soccer, and gymnastics. Kylie loves music and dancing and Ryder is an avid fan of Fortnite. We love to get outdoors and camp, backpack, bike, and garden as a family. I love talking to families of children recently diagnosed with hearing loss and/or those diagnosed with Usher Syndrome. I have a lot of connections within those communities and am happy to help. I have been a registered nurse at St. Luke's for 20 years and have worked in pediatrics, NICU, and birth and parenting.
Caring for a child with complex medical needs can be complicated and overwhelming. Support from someone navigating similar challenges can make all the difference.