School helps change the life of hearing-impaired child

(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

MONETTE, AR (KAIT) - A local school district went the distance to meet the needs of a hearing-impaired child that just might change her life forever.

Kynlee Shepard, a 4th-grade student at Buffalo Island Central, met her new deaf interpreter on Tuesday.

"She is a sharp little girl, I just hope I'm able to bridge the gap between her," Johnny Boatman, the new interpreter said.

Shepard wears a bright pink hearing aid, but that doesn't mean she's any less capable of any other students in her class.

She faces some challenges, though.

"She is hearing impaired, she is not deaf, severely hearing impaired and she has two hearing aids," Shepard's former Language Facilitator April McClellan said.

McClellan said she writes how she speaks and struggles with communication, which is some of her biggest obstacles.

"We can understand to a point, but when she gets upset or mumbles everything together we all then do our best to come together to figure out what's wrong with her," McClellan said.

The teachers, students have stepped up to learn sign language to communicate with Shepard.

But, Boatman is inspired to use his skills to work with the 4th grader beyond that. He wants to bridge that gap so Shepard can better communicate with her teachers, family, and peers.

"It's not very often that you get to touch one child in this way," Boatman said. "It will make a huge difference in her life, hopefully. I think it's exceptional of the school district to hire one person for one child."

Shepard hopes that her story will inspire other school districts to go the distance for hearing-impaired children like herself.

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