Southern Hospitality

December 15th 2023

For 175 years, the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind (SCSDB) has extended Southern Hospitality to the deaf, blind and sensory multi-disabled children of South Carolina and their parents.  Let me share a story about Southern Hospitality and a little girl named Zlata.

Zlata and her parents came to the Upstate from war-torn Odessa, Ukraine, where her mother, Diana, was a physician and classical musician, and her father, Oleh, was in a private business of importing cars.  Settling in Boiling Springs, SC, Zlata, now 3.5 years old, was diagnosed as deaf at six months of age.  She has been enrolled in a number of SCSDB's programs, beginning with our Early Intervention Program, then Kelly's Kids, and now our 3-6 years of age program.

Many doctors had informed Zlata's parents that she had no cochlear nerve in either ear and hearing aids would not help.  The family, however, still hoped she might be able to hear and headed to the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) to see Drs. Noxon and McRackan who conducted another MRI.  This MRI showed a tiny nerve in her right ear that other doctors had missed.

A few weeks later on March 23, 2023, Zlata received her cochlear implant.  After recovering at home for a month, Zlata returned to MUSC on April 19, 2023 for the doctors to activate the cochlear implant.  As they turned on the implant, everyone was holding their breath to see if they would work.  The audiologist increased sound levels from low to high and tapped on a xylophone.

Zlanta paused, looked up and touched her ear.  She was able to hear! The eyes of all in the room quickly filled with tears.  The miracle they hoped for came true.

Zlata will continue to work with staff from SCSDB to learn ASL, as she is still deaf when the implant is turned off.  There is hope that she will be able to get an implant for her left ear.

Diana voiced her gratitude, "I am so thankful for America and the opportunities our little girl has gotten.  We prayed that she would hear, that she would speak, and, also that she would sing.  Our whole family sings and now she will be able to sing with our family in her own voice."

Your support of SCSDB helps us bring hope to Zlata and her family.  In true Southern Hospitality fashion, SCSDB reached out to these strangers from a war-torn country and helped them find hope for the future.  For almost 175 years, offering hope to deaf, blind and sensory multi-disabled individuals and their families is what SCSDB does and will do for the next 175 years.  Your partnership with us gives us the support we need to continue our mission of serving the children of South Carolina.  We respectfully request that this year you consider a git to the SCSDB Foundation, so we can continue to offer and give true Southern Hospitality and hope to those in need of our services.

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