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From Teacher to Patient Long Island Sound A Note From My Third-Grade Teacher, Mr. Filardo
Forty-five years ago, I had the good fortune of having a class of third-graders who were polite, respectful, and happy. As a sensitive, sensible, and strict teacher, I gave them a quality education that went above and beyond the state- required syllabus. Within that class was a group of six students who excelled in all subject areas of the curricula. Among these six was a boy who was very quiet, very respectful, very articulate, and very intelligent. His name was Larry, a super student. He excelled at every academic challenge and had a love for music. Some years ago, when I was visiting my son and daughter-in-law in Florida, my daughter-in-law, a registered speech pathologist remarked, “Dad, you have the television way too loud!” I didn’t realize that I had a hearing problem. Since Jenna is affiliated with Bethesda Hospital, she scheduled me for an appointment with the chief audiologist for a complete battery of hearing tests. I definitely had hearing loss that had sneaked up on me, little by little, over a long period of time. Hearing aids were necessary for both ears. Because I live here on Long Island, purchasing and having hearing aids serviced in Florida was impractical and costly, requiring multiple airline trips. When I found out that Dr. Cardano had an audiology practice in Valley Stream, I called, made an appointment, and renewed a relationship not as teacher-
September always reminds me of the back-to-school season and makes me think of the excellent teachers I am so grateful to have learned from over the years. One in particular was my third- grade teacher at Rhame Avenue School in East Rockaway, Mr. Filardo. Mr. Filardo — after so many years, I still cannot bring myself to call him by his first name — was an engaging, enthusiastic teacher who instilled in me a love of learning that continues to this day. Not only did he teach me reading, writing, and arithmetic, but he taught me the value of art and music as well. He also taught me the practice of something that seems to be falling out of style today: cursive handwriting. In fact, when he visits my office these days as one of my patients, he often checks my handwriting and critiques it. The following is a note Mr. Filardo wrote after we began providing his hearing care at Hearing Center of Long Island. As all the kids head back to the classroom this month, it seems the perfect opportunity to highlight one of my favorite educators here in my newsletter. So, thank you, Mr. Filardo, for being such an inspiring and effective teacher, and for allowing us to provide your hearing care. (I promise I will continue to practice my handwriting!)
Dr. Larry with his third-grade teacher, Mr. Filardo, and his cursive writing practice sheets.
student, but now as patient-doctor. I am eternally grateful to Larry for his infinite patience in training and teaching his former teacher, me, with the technology and practice necessary to hear all that I have been gradually missing over the years. What a wonderful world it is to hear human speech clearly and crisply as well as the glorious sounds of life around me. I am truly indebted to Dr. Cardano, my student, Larry, and am listening happily. –Thomas C. Filardo P.S. I taught Larry cursive handwriting, referred to as script. He had beautiful handwriting in third grade. Your gift to me was my restored hearing. My gift to you is a set of cursive writing dittos. I will keep listening clearly as you keep practicing your handwriting. Remember, writing is a form of communication, just as listening and speaking are.
As always, and in all ways, thank you, Larry — I mean, Dr. Cardano.
–Lawrence Cardano, Au.D.
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