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Stay at home mother, Carly Ruzzicone, of Union Grove is her daughter’s best advocate. In September of 2021, she pled to the Village of Union Grove’s Board to install “Deaf Child Area” signs on her street, near the Union Grove Elementary School.

Daughter’s Diagnosis

Ruzzicone’s daughter, Skylar Ruzzicone is deaf and hard of hearing. She has a condition called Microtia, an ear deformity and birth defect of the ear. The mother explains that her daughter has an inner ear, but no outer ear on one side. She is deaf in this ear.

The 3-year-old’s other ear has a crooked ear canal which causes her to be hard of hearing. Skylar wears a Baha hearing device. The innovative technology allows her daughter to partially hear; she is considered both deaf and hard of hearing.

Advocating for the Area

“We bought the house when Skylar was at such a young age,” explained Ruzzicone. “Now she is 3 years old. She is curious and playing outside more with her older sister.”

Ruzzicone knew that in order to best help her child, she had to advocate for road signs. The Union Grove resident took her concerns to “The Grove Community Group” for insight and help. This Facebook group connects people in the Union Grove area and allows them to promote and share information.

Board Supports Mother’s Efforts

The response was well-supported by residents of Union Grove. The Village President, Steve Wicklund, was quick to help when he saw her post. Ruzzicone called to have her concerns put on the board meeting’s list to review. She also needed to attend the meetings in order to make a case for her child.

The Village Board of Union Grove saw the need and wanted to provide. They agreed to install what Ruizzicone described as “handicap signs.” The mother knew that this wouldn’t suffice for her young daughter. She needed specific signs acknowledging that someone in the area is deaf.

Temporary and permanent “Deaf Child Area” signs

“If someone honks their horn, she may not hear you,” said the mother. For this very reason, she knew that “Deaf Child Area” signs were needed. The Village Board understood the message.

Village President Steps Up

The signs were ordered, but there was about a 2-month delay between the shipment and when the signs were received. Due to the pressing issue and concern, Wicklund took it upon himself to help the family in need.

Ruzzicone said, “without asking, he bought temporary signs and put them in our yard.” The gesture warmed this concerned mother’s heart. As of December 1, 2021, there are permanent “Deaf Child Area” signs on the back of Ruzzicone’s property, which is adjacent to 16th Avenue.

Signs Make Their Way to Union Grove

“It is not going unnoticed,” she said.

Their other daughter, Myah, attends Union Grove Elementary School. People are aware and talking about the new signs placed in the Ruzzicone’s backyard, which can be seen from 16th Avenue. School children and their parents are cautious and conversations about the signs have been created.

Ruzzicone said that the signs “give us the extra peace of mind. Now it’s in the hands of others.”

Advocacy Continues

The front of the Ruzzicone’s property faces Durand Avenue also known as Highway 11. The family would also like to have signs in their front yard. Due to the technicality of this road being a highway, the State of Wisconsin is in charge of placing the roadsigns.

The Ruzzicone family will continue to share their story in hopes to create change and increase safety for Skylar. The mother’s next advocacy efforts are getting in touch with the Department of Transportation and Governor Evers.

Local News

Like this story? Read local news on the Racine County Eye. Have a story to share? Contact Emma Widmar by emailing ewidmar@racinecountyeye.com.


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