Sophie's journey is just beginning.

Sophie W smiling

Sophie Weinzapfel’s Easterseals story began soon after she was born. When she couldn’t pass the hospital’s newborn hearing screening, Sophie was referred to one of the few facilities in the entire region with the ability to conduct infant hearing testing -- the Easterseals Rehabilitation Center in Evansville. Sophie was quickly diagnosed with severe/profound hearing loss.

Sophie's parents, Julie and Greg, didn’t know what to do next. They wondered what their daughter's future might be like. “We didn’t even know if she would speak,” said Julie. A 'hearing team' of caring, compassionate experts at Easterseals soon became an essential part of the family’s journey.

At 3 months of age, Easterseals fitted Sophie with hearing aids and began providing specialized speech therapy to help her understand language and learn to talk. After Sophie receive a cochlear implant at age 2 ½, her progress at Easterseals really took off! According to Sophie’s mom, the weekly drive from their home in Mt. Vernon, IN, to Easterseals therapy was well worth it. Not only did Sophie learn to speak, but Julie said, “Sometimes we had to ask her to be quiet! That was a blessing, for sure!”

Fast forward several years to today, as Sophie takes a huge step on her journey. She’s just starting her freshman year at USI! Sophie also volunteers in a therapeutic horseback-riding program for children with disabilities and works at a local home improvement center. “To this day, people do not realize she is deaf,” her mom said. “Even after meeting her and speaking with her, they don’t believe her at first.”

Sophie's journey is really just beginning! She's confidently following her dreams, thanks in part to the years of specialized services and support from Easterseals. “They truly cared about not only Sophie, but our entire family," Julie said. "Easterseals is there when you need them – plain and simple!”

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