Sophie may not yet have celebrated her third birthday, but she is already a big help in the kitchen.
From her home on the Sunshine Coast where she lives with her parents and older brother, Sophie loves baking up a storm – not forgetting the all-important final task of licking the beaters.
Sophie was born with hearing loss in both ears relating to a genetic condition known as Treacher Collins syndrome, as well as microtia and atresia (underdevelopment of the external part of the ear and absence of the ear canal). Sophie wears hearing aids – purple and pink, her favourite colours – to ensure she is picking up all the sounds around her.
Supported by the Hear and Say Sunshine Coast Centre in Nambour, Sophie attends fortnightly specialised speech therapy sessions to assist in the development of her listening, speech and language skills.
“Sophie is making beautiful strides in the development of her speech and language skills, and is tracking at the same rate as children her age who don’t have hearing loss,” said Sophie’s listening and spoken language specialist, Rebecca Parker.
“Our future speech therapy sessions together will look at further developing Sophie’s language skills, such as combining words in grammatically-complete sentences; understanding a range of pronouns; and answering ‘What?’ and ‘Where?’ questions.”
Sophie and her family also regularly attend the LEAP Group Social Skills program, which offers play-based educational activities with an emphasis on social communication skills.
“Our whole family has benefited from the fantastic support we receive at Hear and Say,” said Sophie’s mum, Kate.
“Sophie especially enjoys going along to LEAP, and all the kids are so friendly and happy to be there. Sophie loves music and singing songs with [clinical facilitators] Liz and Kirsty. Singing has really helped Sophie to use spoken language, and she’s always singing in the car on the way home. My son has also benefited from attending, to see other children and families the same as ours.
“It’s a happy activity for us as a family to attend and we have made some great new friends. We have really benefited from talking to other parents on a similar journey.”