2001 Grant Winner - Caitlin Fleischmann

Photo of Caitlin Fleischmann

Caitlin Fleischmann is one nine-year-old girl with a busy schedule. Between Brownies, gymnastics, school, and spending time with her family, she is a girl on the go.

Thanks to The Eric Fund, Caitlin will be able to more fully experience her activities with new hearing aids. Her mother, Debbie, heard about The Eric Fund grants through her part-time work at a Virginia social services organization and thought she would apply on behalf of her daughter, who has down syndrome and conductive hearing loss.

"I was shocked when I found out that insurance won't pay a dime," said Debbie. "When the audiologist recommended hearing aids and that they were $800, I said OK, thinking it would be a major stretch to afford that but Caitlin needed them. I didn't know they were $800 a piece!"

 

Debbie said the hearing aids will help Caitlin with all of her activities and they will be especially helpful in school.  Dedicated to providing her daughter with the best education and supports to make her own choices in life, Debbie and Caitlin moved from Prince William County to higher-priced Fairfax County so Caitlin could attend Hayfield, one of the model schools for inclusion in Virginia.

Caitlin is flourishing at the school, which includes children with and without disabilities in each classroom.  Caitlin's teacher recently wrote home that she is a "great model" for the class. Caitlin was recently named star of the week and reader for the day in her second-grade class. 

In addition to school activities, Caitlin is a member of her local Brownie troop, is a medal winner in track & field for Special Olympics and is getting ready to learn gymnastics. 

"Caitlin is doing really well," Debbie said.  "The doctor just told me and I agree - imagine what she can do when she can really hear." 

"This kid may become President of the United States. You just never know"