Imagine what it would be like to be a child in a room filled with toys and the sounds of other children playing – and not be able to see or hear. The compelling video that Paul Daley made of his daughter, Lauren, brings the impact of being deafblind to the heart of the viewer. Creekwood Middle School students showed compassion, excitement and enthusiasm Thursday, May 15, as they watched the video to kick off their next grade-level service learning project, Help Lauren Learn. The sixth grade-sponsored project will benefit a deafblind 5-year-old girl named Lauren Daley, of Kingwood. Lauren’s father and former Creekwood student, Paul Daley, created a video “Help Lauren Learn” to educate others about deafblindness. The video also informs the viewer that, without the help of an intervener, life for Lauren would not look nearly as bright, and explains how the cost of an intervener for Lauren is very high. The video was shown at 15-minute intervals to groups of CMS students as they filled the amphitheater throughout the afternoon kick-off. Donations benefiting this project can be made through the CMS office. The CMS Web site has information posted on the link to Grade-level Service Learning Projects. “This is the third service learning project this year for our campus,” said CMS principal Walt Winicki. “The first project, Nothing but Nets, raised money to supply mosquito nets to Africa to combat Malaria. The second project, For the Children, helped exploited children around the world. This project is good because it is a way for the students to help someone in their own community,” said Winicki. CMS sixth grade teacher Missy Mitchell explained that the CMS staff will connect curriculum to the service learning project by showing the Helen Keller movie “The Miracle Worker” to the students. Snack sales during the movie will benefit this project. “The staff also planned a fun performance event which stars CMS teachers. We expect to raise approximately $1,200 from this event alone. Mitchell said that this amount will pay for the cost of an intervener for Lauren for only one week. She added that sixth-grade RELA classes at CMS will be writing letters to Congress requesting that interveners be recognized as a public need for all deafblind Americans. “ I’m a mother of multiples myself and I pushed for this project because I know that it could have been me dealing with something like this with my babies, but, thankfully, my triplets were born healthy,” Mitchell said. “This project teaches the kids how to help others; how to take a stand,” said Mitchell. Referring to Lauren’s mother, Mitchell added, “Caroline is unbelievably positive and she motivates me every day.” Paul and Caroline Daley know firsthand what it’s like to face the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that a deafblind child must overcome daily. Their twin daughters, now 5, Lauren and Elizabeth, were born at 23 weeks. It is obvious that these parents have invisible strengths that help them meet the challenges of each day as they tend to their twin daughters and younger son, Jack. Elizabeth is visually impaired and has learning issues and Jack is diagnosed as autistic. The Daleys are exploring all avenues that might help them offset the cost to employ a Canadian intervener. The Daleys explained that in the U.S., interveners are not recognized professionals; however, in Canada, the interveners they are working with have gone through an intensive two-year college program and hold a degree certifying their expertise in deafblindness. “Our interveners’ professors were deafblind. Those who have met Lauren hold the educational bar very high for her and expect she will learn to communicate via sign language, Braille and object cues,” said Caroline Daley. Lauren’s parents would like Lauren to work one-on-one with a Canadian intervener for a minimum of one year. Ideally, Lauren will work with an intervener for her entire life but at the present time her parents have set some key goals for the high-level intervener. They would like for Lauren to learn how to communicate, learn some independent daily skills such as eating and bathing, and also have a plan for future skills. Lauren had the chance to work with intervener Lindsey Day of Toronto for 10 days, explained Caroline Daley. In that time she went from drinking from baby bottles to feeding herself and making choices at meal time. She went from wearing diapers and being carried to being potty trained and walking. “Her confidence has soared. A very exciting time came when Lauren said Mom for the first time,” added Daley. A trained Canadian intervener with three to five years’ experience generally charges $25 per hour, $200 per day, and $1,000 per week. Paul Daley currently works three jobs to keep the family running. He is employed as a Baker Hughes multimedia specialist; an instructor of Intro to Multimedia at Lone Star College - Kingwood; and he is also accepting contract work as a 3D animator. “This is still not enough to cover the costs of an intervener. Due to insurance constraints, the family is not covered for items such as hearings aids, therapy, or intervention for Jack’s autism. All three children are on waiting lists with the State pursuing all programs that could potentially help. We have been waiting for four-and-a-half years so far,” Paul Daley said. In addition to the CMS support for Lauren, the Daleys have encountered encouraging community support from the local Lions Club through Dr. A.G. Braddock for possible consideration. Lamar Berry, owner of Pirate’s Cove in Kingwood, said he is considering a June benefit day for Lauren. A friend of the Daleys, Susan Paul, recently organized a garage sale with proceeds helping Lauren’s cause. “The generosity has been overwhelming and the garage sale publicity spawned additional help by way of donations from the community,” Paul said. Another close friend of the Daley family is donating her time to create a Help Lauren Learn Web site where updates and contact information is available. Paul and Caroline also said they are happy to speak to any group that would like more information on the challenges of parenting a deafblind child. Organizations that would like to plan an event or offer support to benefit Lauren are encouraged to visit the Help Lauren Learn Web site. The Daleys will be delighted to provide feedback via written reports and videos or pictures. They will also report on their recent visit to The Perkins School for the Blind. “Whatever level of support is offered for her education will be supporting not just a child, but a family and community that stand behind Lauren 100 percent. We are so blessed to have organizations that are willing to even consider helping our wonderful Lauren. Thank you so much for the opportunity to spread the word about deafblind children and their need for interveners,” said Paul Daley. When asked where they get their strength, Caroline Daley replied, “get a lot of strength from each other, our family and friends, and mostly from watching our kids give it their all every day. We would be ashamed to give it any less than 110 percent when we can see Lauren fighting and overcoming obstacles every single day of her life. She doesn’t have any downtime when she’s not beating the odds; we struggle to match her moxie and fortitude. She’s a hero.” There are an estimated 2.5 million deafblind people in the world today. To find more information about deafblindness, go to: www.deafblindresources.org. To access the Help Lauren Learn Web site, visit www.helplaurenlearn.net. Contact the Daleys by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Photo (left):Lindsey Day, Intervener, and Lauren Daley Photo (right):Creekwood students view Help Lauren Learn video. Photo by Trilla Cook