With days packed full of favourite activities including trips to the beach and dancing to The Wiggles, the holidays have been a fun-filled time for 18-month-old, Violet.
Born with two rare ear-related conditions known as microtia and atresia, Violet has used hearing aids since she was three months old – and is relishing all the special sounds that summertime brings.
It was through a dedicated Facebook page set up by Hear and Say for families of children with microtia and atresia that Violet’s parents first stumbled upon a community of others forging a similar path.
“I first joined the Facebook group when Violet was only a few weeks old,” recalled Violet’s mum, Clem.
“I had asked a question and Simone from Hear and Say responded and offered to call me. She answered a lot of questions I had about future options for surgery and hearing aids, and invited me to the Hear and Say centre in Brisbane. There I learnt about listening and spoken language therapy lessons and [Group Social Skills] playgroups that we could attend.”
For Clem, the opportunities to gain local support proved invaluable, following Violet’s surprise diagnosis at birth and resulting moderate-to-severe hearing loss.
“Once a fortnight we now visit Hear and Say for an hour-long listening and spoken language therapy lesson which includes lots of interactive play, singing and reading,” said Clem.
“It has been very helpful to have the support of her therapy specialist and to be reassured that Violet is making progress and within typical development for her age. Participating in some of the online parent training webinars Hear and Say offers has also provided useful parenting information and advice.”
Clem also noted that the annual Australian Microtia and Atresia Conference hosted by Hear and Say each year – run wholly online for the first time in 2020 due to coronavirus – had offered the unique opportunity to meet other families from around the country, and to have consultations with Australian and international specialists.
Hear and Say’s Microtia and Atresia Support Centre, the only one of its kind in Australia, provides services, training, support and advocacy for families of children born with microtia and atresia. To find out more, please click here.