Wearing her Miss Alabama sash and Miss America sash, but with her crown slightly askew, Ashley Wentworth was dressed as Deidre Downs at the HES Living Museum tribute.
I found her choice interesting, even more so when her second grade teacher, Ms. Pam Clay, shared the story behind her choice. Like her heroine, Ashley also wears hearing aids, but lets nothing stop her from participating in Brownie Troop 800, playing soccer on the Husky U-9 team and taking dance lessons at Dance Etc.
Evelyn and Curtis Wentworth Jr. moved to Helena from California a few years back and were surprised to learn that Ashley’s hearing had been damaged likely as a result of a viral infection when she was two that included hospitalization with a high fever and dehydration.
Although enrolled in speech therapy before the age of four, no one realized this was related to a mild/moderate hearing loss.
Only when her younger sister, Rebecca, was tested for kindergarten, was Ashley also tested and the family told that hearing aids were needed. They were directed to Children’s of Alabama Hearing Center, where she received her first hearing aids just prior to beginning kindergarten.
Her present Oticon aids have a Phonak attachment that allows her teacher’s voice to come directly through her instruments.
“She has had to adapt to wearing them every day; she has weekly meetings with speech therapist Ashley Wilkes,” added her mother.
“Sometimes I feel like I am (talking) loud because I cannot hear. My best friend is Ashley Worjick and she is in scouts and soccer with me,” Ashley shared.
“I like helping others at school and I like learning and I kinda love tests, because in computer lab we do reading tests, math tests, and science tests.”
Her mother says that Ashley likes to be active, is always happy and upbeat and enjoys educational games on her tablet.
Very expressive with her hands, Ashley does know sign language, which she has learned at summer camp at ASD and AIDB.
“I want to be a singer and pop star and a zookeeper,” Ashley said with assurance.
“I like learning about warm-blooded and cold-blooded animals and creatures and maybe I would like to work with the spider monkeys at the zoo.”