Performing artist Joe McIntyre of "New Kids on the Block" is the interviewee in a new podcast by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). McIntyre explains why he views his son Rhys' hearing loss as a blessing and why he values the professionals who treat his child on a weekly basis.
At ASHA's Convention in Philadelphia this November, McIntyre will receive the Annie Glenn Award. The "Annie," named after Annie Glenn for her many years of advocacy on behalf of people with communication disorders, is an honor ASHA bestows annually. Last year's recipient was Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Rhys McIntyre has moderate to severe hearing loss, which was detected in the hospital during his newborn hearing screening. "We found out pretty fast," McIntyre says of Rhys' hearing loss. "It's so very important to have early intervention...we were lucky to find out right away. The fact that my son has hearing loss, he's going to learn a different way, and he's going to maybe live a little bit differently. And just because he's going to have this challenge doesn't mean he's not going to have the same life as his 2½ year-old brother."
In the podcast, McIntyre only has praise for communication professionals, including the one that helps Rhys during his weekly sessions. "[Rhys'] therapist is such an advocate...and we trust her. [Rhys' therapy] has a vocational vibe to it...[These therapists are] helping families cope, and there's a real compassionate feeling to it all. They deal with different families all the time. And you have to have a lot of space in your heart and your soul and within your life to do this kind of work and to deal with the emotions of this kind of a journey...I think everybody in this kind of calling is to be commended."
Honored to receive this year's Annie, McIntyre realizes he is in a unique position to continue spreading awareness of hearing loss and help those in the community. "To be able to even be a part of this and have an award is really cool and I appreciate it," he says.
Read the transcript of and listen to the podcast. Find an audiologist or speech-language pathologist in your area at ProSearch.
About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 140,000 audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems including swallowing disorders.
View all ASHA press releases at www.asha.org/about/news.
Listen to all ASHA podcasts at http://podcast.asha.org.
To find an audiologist or speech-language pathologist visit www.asha.org/findpro.