Listen and Talk is proud to share this story about how Dalton McKittrick advocates for both the DeafBlind and Usher Syndrome communities in Washington, D.C. and Washington state. The McKittrick Family began receiving services over 20 years ago, and it has been an honor to be part of their journey.
The below story is written by Lane McKittrick, Dalton’s Mom.
My name is Lane McKittrick and I’m writing this story on behalf of my son Dalton.
I’m a mom of four boys, two who are DeafBlind due to Usher Syndrome. I am also the founder of Lane of Inquiry, a non-profit organization that supports families and focuses on DeafBlind education and research.
Three of our four boys attended Listen and Talk between 2000-2010 – Conner, Dalton and then Cole, who attended as a sibling/hearing peer. Conner is now 24 years old and working at Helen Keller National Center as a Research Assistant. Dalton is a 15 year old high school sophomore attending Brightmont Academy – a private school based here in Redmond, Washington. Both of our boys have been mainstreamed since Kindergarten and have succeeded beyond our expectations.
It’s been incredible to see how our kids found their voice and become such strong advocates. When we first received [Conner’s and Dalton’s diagnosis], there were some things that we worried about that they would never be able to do, but with the right support, the sky’s the limit.
Thank you to the team at Listen and Talk and everyone else that has helped us on this journey.
In April 2023, Dalton and I traveled to Washington, D.C. to advocate and raise awareness for Usher Syndrome and DeafBlindness. Due to Dalton’s efforts and his passion for sharing his story [about being deafblind], the Usher Syndrome Coalition was able to get our requested appropriation language included [in upcoming bills that advocate for increased Usher Syndrome research funding]. It was this trip that really got Dalton excited about sharing his story and how he advocates for himself and others.
Also, this past summer, Dalton wanted to do more [advocating] locally, so he reached out to Governor Inslee’s office to request that the Governor issue a Proclamation recognizing September 23, 2023 as Usher Syndrome Awareness Day in Washington state. This request was specifically meaningful to him this year because in August, we had 65 individuals [who have] Usher Syndrome come out to our ranch for a social event. Dalton was incredibly pleased when he got something in the mail and realized that we received the Proclamation just days before the official event.