At the end of a suburban cul de sac, a 12-year-old named Sophie is teaching her younger sister, Olivia, how to ride a bike. Sophie carefully demonstrates turning, speeding up, and most importantly, braking, as she calls out instructions to little Olivia who runs beside her. “I'm more of a tomboy,” said Sophie. “I like climbing trees and falling out of them and getting back up and doing it again and playing with rocks and attacking ants and then running away. All that stuff.” Sophie being more of a tomboy isn’t the only way the sisters are different; she was born with hearing loss while Olivia has typical hearing.
“Really there's absolutely no difference parenting Olivia and Sophie,” said John, the girls’ father. “Quite honestly, I often forget that Sophie's even deaf. She’s so well adjusted.” Sophie’s hearing loss doesn’t seem noticeable now, but when she was a newborn, her diagnosis stunned her parents, Janeth and John.