|A group of seven motorcyclists from the states of Florida, Texas and Louisiana recently rolled to a stop in front of the Student and Outreach Services Building on the campus of the Missouri School for the Deaf (MSD) in Fulton, MO, one of the many pit stops on their way to their final destination, Fairbanks Alaska. This is the fourth year that the University of Florida's Mike Tuccelli, Ph.D., has organized such a trip as a fund-raiser for the SKI-HI Institute in Utah. Tuccelli was born deaf and has been a long time supporter of early intervention for deaf and hard-of-hearing children and their families.
The training in early intervention for young children with special needs provided by the SKI-HI Institute is utilized by The Families First program at MSD in its effort to provide free services to the families of young deaf and hard-of-hearing children throughout the State of Missouri.
Families First was happy to host a reception for Tuccelli and the other bikers in gratitude for their efforts in raising awareness of the needs of young deaf and hard-of-hearing children and how the programs of the SKI-HI Institute help them develop better language skills and also provide support to their families.
Tuccelli spoke of the importance of early intervention for deaf and hard-of-hearing children. He emphasized that the first few years of life are the most important for language development and that unfortunately many deaf and hard-of-hearing children do not receive the services they need in order for them to develop strong language skills.
Photos of the bikers and their contact information may be found here Anyone wishing to support this effort with a monetary donation should make a pledge to one of the bikers. All contributions will support the SKI-HI Institute.
For more information about the Families First program of the Missouri School for the Deaf, please contact: Robyn Fleming, lead parent adviser, by sending an e-mail here.
Commentary by Larry R. Hoard, L.C.S.W., director of MSD's Student and Outreach Services