NORTH ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOV.com) - Inside Lusher Elementary, Mrs. Sawyer teaches her students fundamentals, like reading, writing and overcoming obstacles.

The students she teaches are on the autism spectrum and struggle where most others don’t.

“The best part really is when they get excited because they know they got it right,” said Sawyer.

What her students don’t know, is that Sawyer struggles with a disability of her own. She was born with a defective x-linked chromosome, a genetic disorder, and relies on lip reading to communicate with her students and family.

“I am completely deaf in one ear and I have less than half of my hearing in my other ear,” said Sawyer.

With a 1-year-old son, Sawyer said her desire to hear is stronger than ever. Her hearing is declining each year and she said it’s hard to make out her son’s first words.

“I can't hear him cry at night, can't hear him cry during nap time,” said Sawyer.

Sawyer decided to get a cochlear implant to help improve her hearing after her deaf father had two put in a few years ago. Wednesday at Mercy Hospital, Sawyer sat in the exam room alongside her mom, dad, husband and son. While it will take a few months to reap the full benefits, she was able to hear sounds she’s never heard before.

“Hearing him say his first words and cry, I can hear him right now, it's kind of cool,” said Sawyer.

She hopes the gift of hearing will make her a better teacher, mother and daughter. You can follow along Danielle’s journey on Facebook.

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