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Aaron Beard, Patient Parent and Hospital Employee

“I want to do what they are doing because I know what it means to the people they are helping.”


Three months after his birth, doctors diagnosed Fletcher Beard with profound deafness. By age 1, Fletcher received cochlear implants at Boys Town National Research Hospital®, and the next day, his father, Aaron Beard, was hard at work determining how to build the best life possible for his son.

His first step was to apply to the University of Nebraska at Omaha to earn his bachelor’s degree in speech and language pathology (SLP).

“I did it for my son,” Aaron said. “I asked myself what was the most I could do for him, and the SLP (degree) seemed to be the best way to help him. The best part of this journey is it overlaps with my son’s language development. It was incredible that each class I went through correlated to his progression in life.”

Aaron will complete his bachelor’s degree in May 2019 and start a master’s program. For now, he is building on his education and giving back at Boys Town Hospital as a research assistant in the Language Learning and Memory research lab. In his work, he visits families in their homes to test and train children on strategies for learning, comprehending and remembering language.

“I started to help him (Fletcher), and gradually I am seeing that I am helping so many other families at Boys Town Hospital,” Aaron said.

With the knowledge of a consultant, but also the heart and experience of a parent who is trying to comprehend what life will be like for a child who is deaf, Aaron’s perspective is very unique.

He uses this viewpoint to create an enriching environment for his son at home and to support parents starting their journey with the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

“When we learned about Fletcher’s hearing loss, we felt like we were falling, and Boys Town stepped in and gave us the tools and the confidence to face the unexpected,” Aaron said. “Now when I come to work I think, ‘Whose life am I going to make better today?’”