The Thompsons’ Story: Hearing the Sounds of Childhood
Homes with young children are loud. Stampeding thuds as siblings run down the hall. Musical toys. Free-spirited laughter. Many families take these sounds of childhood for granted, but not the Thompson family of McCook, Neb.
When Marshall, the youngest of the Thompson kids, was born, he failed his newborn hearing screening. His parents, Karen and Aaron Thompson, prepared themselves for uncharted waters in parenting.
“As an engineer, that just puts you in the mode of 'Okay, what is next?'" said Aaron. “What's the best thing we can do for our child today?"
The Thompsons researched online and talked with other families in the area and noticed a common message: Boys Town National Research Hospital is the place to go. The family made the 284-mile trip to Omaha, Neb. when Marshall was just 1 month old and never looked back.
“From the first visit, Boys Town felt right," said Karen. “It felt like where he was supposed to be for his care."
The Cochlear Implant Center at Boys Town Hospital created a plan specifically crafted for Marshall and his family's needs. The team started Marshall with hearing aids until he could receive cochlear implant surgery shortly after his first birthday. Each time the family made the long trek to Omaha, they were able to see a host of specialists in one day – from eye doctors to speech-language therapists.
As Marshall's experience with the cochlear implants increased, his appointments at Boys Town Hospital decreased, but his parents knew the importance of staying connected with the specialists who restored their son's ability to hear; and the Boys Town cochlear implant team knew the importance of making specialized care accessible for the Thompsons.
Boys Town introduced the family to telehealth therapy. With the help of video streaming, Marshall and his parents were able to complete speech therapy from the comfort of their own home, saving gas, money, travel time and vacation days at work.
After many trips to Omaha and telehealth speech therapy sessions, Marshall is starting to speak. His favorite word? Please. According to Aaron, Marshall has not quite mastered the 'p' sound and it comes out as “ease," but he and Karen are thrilled to have this childhood sound fill their home.
“That [hearing Marshall speak] is the most exciting," Aaron said. “That is the reason we did this. That is the reason we went to Boys Town."