“Do whatever you have to do to get him in there. It is, hands down, the best place for him.”

Gunnar’s Story Of Success At FSDB

Recently, another family shared their experience transitioning to the Early Learning Center (ELC) at Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB). Matt, Melissa, and Gunnar Collins are from Kentucky but – like us – they made a huge decision to move their family to Florida for their son. They desired the best for their son’s education so that he would not be isolated and lag behind but that he would excel! Here is their story –Leanna, Brent and Michael Hunter

Leaving Home for FSDB 

I am also a proud parent of a deaf/heard of hearing child at FSDB. As a matter of fact Michael and my son Gunnar were in the ELC together and are now in kindergarten together. Like Leanna and Brent Hunter we moved to this area strictly for the school. We are from Kentucky!

When our family took a tour of the school, I knew that this is where my child belonged. He was in Pre-K at school in Kentucky and he had a great teacher. But we had to face some big up coming choices. We did not feel the services would be good for our son.

When we had told his teacher that we had visited FSDB, her response was overwhelmingly positive. She said “Do whatever you have to do to get him in there. It is, hands down, the best place for him.”

So we did just that. Within one year my husband and I both gave up our jobs, packed everything and moved to Florida!

Gunnar’s Experience in the ELC

I can tell you from the very first time we stepped into the Early Learning Center (ELC), my son was excited! He finally felt like he belonged. I know that may sound harsh but it is true. My little guy loved going to school! He was excited to have friends – not just any friends – friends who have ‘special ears’ too.

About the staff in the ELC – I cannot say enough! From the very first time we met Ms. Gail, Ms. Dani and Ms. Tristan we were at ease. Every teacher and aide in the ELC pours everything they have into our kids. I know that they helped my son to get ready for kindergarten. We were concerned that he would have to wait another year. Nope, sure didn’t.

By the time my child finished last year, he was where every hearing 5-year-old kids were. For the first time in my baby’s life he was not considered behind or lacking in areas. To hear this, as a parent, is great!

We knew at this point that coming to FSDB was the best decision we ever made. FSDB is not only a school – they are a family.  –Melissa, Matt and Gunnar Collins

Read Original blog posted at Seeing Life Differently (October 28, 2013).

About FSDB
Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB) is a fully accredited state public school and outreach center available tuition-free to eligible pre-K and K-12 deaf/hard of hearing and blind/visually impaired students. Comprehensive educational services at FSDB are individualized, specific to the unique communication and accessibility needs of each student for independence and lifelong success. FSDB gratefully accepts private donations to support vital programs that directly benefit students and are not paid by state general revenue funds. To visit the school or to learn more about eligibility for enrollment, contact 1-800-344-3732. For more information, visit