Two women take a selfie picture together outside with a banner behind them that reads Pennsylvania School for the Deaf.

Wendy (right) and her daughter, Caroline, are all smiles during a visit to Pennsylvania School for the Deaf.

We continue to feature mothers of Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) who have children with disabilities, as part of our ongoing efforts to increase awareness of disability representation within our organization. Wendy Harkins Davis, Director of Marketing and Outreach for PATF, shares that she actively involves her children in advocacy work.

“While I was the Ecommerce Project Manager for YUM Brand’s Pizza Hut Division, two of our four children were diagnosed with moderate-to-profound hearing loss within six months. Caroline was turning three years old and only spoke a handful of words. Clark, who passed the newborn hearing screening, was seven months old. My husband and I knew that timing was crucial. Children, although not speaking, build their speech skills during the first three years of life. We knew we had an uphill battle to get both Caroline and Clark back on track developmentally so they would not lag behind their peers during their K-12 school years.

A woman and a man stand together outside. The man is wearing a purple T-shirt and black shorts. The woman is wearing a white hat, dark red hoodie, and blue shorts.

Clark joins Wendy at PA Walk4Hearing at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

With the support of my husband, I decided to step away from my professional career in technology and dedicate myself to the medical and educational needs of our children. By the time the kids were in middle school, both were thriving in school with the assistance of assistive technology, and I entered the field of advocacy for the Deaf/deaf/hard-of-hearing. It was a big career change, but my years of advocating for our children, learning the IEP process, gaining more understanding of audiology and assistive technology gave me the knowledge and tools to help other families and individuals with hearing loss. My work in advocacy is a passion. Our family’s personal experience proves what is achievable when children are provided the right support and resources. Caroline is now Dr. Caroline Davis, having earned her doctorate in Occupational Therapy. Clark is studying biomedical engineering and computer programming at Rochester Institute of Technology. Both are pursuing their ambitions.

Now our entire family is active in advocacy. Our family works year-round on organizing the PA Walk4Hearing. Caroline and I work together as a mother-daughter duo speaking about assistive technology and support for those with hearing loss. Often it is hard to tell where my work as the Director of Marketing and Outreach for Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation ends and my volunteer work in advocacy starts. But the best part is being able to work with my family and see them share my passion for advocacy.”