The summer ahead looks bright for Sunshine Coast one-year-old, Hayden who loves nothing more than playing with the hose outside in the garden and getting soaked.
Hayden’s ability to hear the sounds of this classic backyard pastime – the rush of the sprinklers, his family’s delighted laughter – is something Hayden’s parents don’t take for granted, after he was diagnosed with hearing loss at birth.
“We love watching Hayden start to understand what we say and hearing him babble away while he plays,” said mum, Kyla.
Having learnt of Hear and Say during the process of getting Hayden’s first hearing aids fitted in those early months of his life, Kyla said stepping into the Hear and Say Sunshine Coast Centre immediately brought a sense that it “was exactly what they needed”.
“Right from the start Hear and Say was very positive and helpful in answering all our questions, and now I don’t know where we’d be without them,” said Kyla.
In addition to listening and spoken language therapy, a highly specialised form of speech therapy, Hayden’s family also began going along to the LEAP Group Social Skills program at the centre. Kyla said it was a great experience for children and parents alike.
“LEAP is great for the kids to be able to learn together with other children with hearing impairments. It’s also a fantastic opportunity for the parents to meet and encourage each other,” said Kyla.
“Not only do the activities help us by reinforcing how to give our children the best opportunity to gain speaking and listening skills, but we can share and learn from each other in ways that only parents of children with hearing loss would be able to.”
Reflecting on the busy first year of Hayden’s life and everything he has already achieved, Kyla said their family was excited to see Hayden continue to flourish.
“We want Hayden to hear, listen and speak so he can be a confident person who’s able to express himself freely and communicate with anyone he wants to. Our son will be able to reach his full potential, which will in turn open his world to abundant possibilities and enrichment which may not have been possible otherwise.”