Support AG Bell Today

The Sounds of Success

Darren Toh was considered lower than 0.1 percentile for speech and development. When he finally learned to speak, he soared—with an IQ higher than that of Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking.

Darren Toh was considered lower than 0.1 percentile for speech and development. When he finally learned to speak, he soared—with an IQ higher than that of Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking.

Written by: May Ng, Darren’s Mother

We live in the United Kingdom, in the village of Aughton. Seven years ago, Darren’s performance on the Mensa test was not something we would have foreseen. Darren didn’t speak until he was 5 years old. He has Connexion 26 genetic recessive mutation and is entirely dependent on his hearing aids. Initially, he attended a special needs school because we were told his speech and development was lower than 0.1 percentile and he could not be in a mainstream school. When he was 5 years old, an audiologist encouraged us to let him learn the piano by teaching him directional hearing. Switching to spoken language required extensive listening and spoken language therapy as he was using British Sign Language and visual aids at the time.

By the time he was 7 years old, his teachers said he had exceptional academic abilities. We removed him from the special needs school and placed him in an independent school, but it would only accept him after he passed an assessment exam. We have not looked back since.

He has won the Academic prize every year since he joined his school and developed a love for mathematics. In addition, he gained distinctions every year in all his piano music exams, is talented with the saxophone and loves performing in drama. Darren had always wanted to take the Mensa test as he loves puzzles, challenges and quizzes. He was simply curious to know what his IQ level was. He was so surprised to find out just how high it really was. One day, he hopes to be a pediatrician, like me.

The process has not been easy as a family. Darren has a 12-year-old brother, Brendan, who has severe autism and did not speak until he was about 7. Darren often helps me care for him and has always cared deeply for his brother, even when he was young. If I could give him an award for being the best autism sibling to Brendan, I would. He has also written poetry, some of which is featured in a book I recently wrote about our journey raising his older brother. Darren is also very close with his little sister, Corinne, who is 8.

Darren does not let his hearing loss stop him, and he is a kind and caring brother. We are very proud of him.

(Originally published in Volta Voices, Volume 26, Issue 3, July-September 2019)

AG Bell membership for families is always free!

Family membership benefits:

  • Financial Support

    Scholarships for technology, therapy, and education

  • Professional Guidance

    Speak to a parent who's been there or search for a certified therapist.

  • State Chapters

    Connect with and get support from local families like yours!

  • Resource Library

    Get answers with access to our information library

  • Volta Voices

    A bilingual magazine with in-depth stories about growing up with hearing loss

  • Loft & Leap

    Access to unique leadership & educational programs for teens

Seeking an AG Bell professional membership?

Get listed on our searchable professional directory, find educational and research resources, scholarships and mentorship.

Professional Membership Has Its Benefits

Join today to connect with fellow members, exchange insights, get listed in our global directory, and celebrate the journey of listening & spoken language.

Professional benefits include:

  • Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

    Earn CEUs through the AG Bell Academy, at our yearly Symposium, or through events held throughout the year for members

  • $100 off Exam Fees

    Take your Listening and Spoken Language Specialist (LSLS®) certification exam for less!

  • Event Discounts

    Discounted registration to AG Bell’s symposium and other events, plus special discounts on travel, restaurants, retail shops and more

  • LSL Professional Directory

    Get listed and found by families that need your services and students that want your mentorship

  • LSL Leading Edge

    An exclusive e-newsletter for AG Bell professional members packed with the latest news and developments in hearing health and the listening & spoken language field

  • Volta Voices 

    AG Bell’s award-winning, quarterly digital magazine in English and Spanish

  • Access to AG Bell’s Network

    Connect with 40+ state chapters located throughout the United States and Puerto Rico

  • Professional Opportunities

    Get involved in AG Bell through committees, task forces, councils and other venues for members to interact and contribute meaningfully

  • The Volta Review 

    Stay current with the latest research through our peer-reviewed, online professional research journal

Seeking membership as a friend or family member?

Membership is always free for family & friends of people who are deaf or hard of hearing and helps connect individuals to our professional community!