BATON ROUGE, LA (LOCAL33) (FOX44) – Local mother working to spread her message of inclusion for the deaf and hard of hearing community.
You might recognize Jill Hudson from a viral video of her son, Tucker hearing for the first time.
The touching moment captured the hearts of thousands, but for Jill it was just the beginning.
“I think it’s important that the people who saw that video and who connected with it know that that’s just one small aspect of our life. We do verbal therapy, we do auditory therapy, he has speech therapies, and physical therapies and occupational therapies.”
Hudson said many hear the word deaf and think of it as a negative.
“I never really got sad about it because he was healthy. I always just focused on that aspect of it because I did have some complications in my pregnancy. I was just like we can handle this. If this is all it is, we’re good. This is totally fine.”
Determined to help her son thrive, Hudson took every obstacle head on.
“It can be intimidating and really, really scary to incorporate yourself into a community you don’t know anything about, not offending anyone, not doing the wrong things, not saying the wrong things. So it can be quite a challenge for hearing parents, myself included, to find the right people to teach us the right language.”
A language she learned is not easily accessible for her son and others like him.
“It’s easy to just ignore that side of the world, but my goal as a mom who just wants to give her son the world is that he has opportunities everywhere. Opportunities in the hearing community and in the non-hearing community, and mold those two worlds together.”
Her goal is to bridge the gap between the verbal and non-verbal communities.
In her short two years in the deaf community, Hudson quit her job and started working with the CC Group Foundation, a local non profit that supports American Sign Language interpreting services.
She also helped create Blue Bridge ASL Academy, a bilingual immersion school for ages 0-3.
“Deaf and hard of hearing kiddos are being placed in hearing daycare’s with very little access to language, so we’re hoping to bridge that gap. I want Tucker and every child who is deaf or hard of hearing to have friends who sign with him.”
Her passion is creating a ripple effect. Teachers at Gray’s Creek Elementary School in Denham Springs are now teaching ASL and signing with students.
“The opportunity to have a mainstream school like this to have access to ASL all day is something I hope we can branch out throughout Louisiana.”
A message she hopes reaches far beyond Louisiana’s borders.