Diagnosed with hearing loss through Newborn Hearing Screening, Archer’s listening and spoken language therapy sessions are complemented with age appropriate playgroup. This not only helps Archer to process sound using his hearing aids but also provides an environment where he is surrounded by the other children just like him. Mum Alicia explains, “Archer loves the LEAP social skills program. He has friends that he sees all the time, gets lots of play time, and I learn a lot in those sessions, too.
“He is such a little explorer and loves finding whatever his speech therapist, Katie has in the room. Anything that opens and closes, anything that has a lid, he gets into everything!
“That is the biggest thing for us: knowing that he’s not getting left behind and is receiving the best start to life that anyone could possibly give him. Hear and Say have provided us with all the skills and tools both he, and we, need to make this happen.”
Megan and Andrew thought Newborn Hearing Screening was just anotherstep towards returning home with their third child, a baby boy – Edward. Mum, Megan explains, “When we found out that Edward had a genetic hearing loss, it was a bit of a shock, especially since we learned it was a one in four chance. It was a stressful time for all.
Meeting other Hear and Say families and seeing older children listening and speaking was really reassuring. Since he was switched on in January 2016, he has never really looked back! One day, I saw Edward walk down the corridor at Hear and Say all by himself, carrying his lunchbox and saying ‘hi’ to everyone. I never thought I would see him being so independent, and at such a young age too, I was amazed.
Hear and Say really are making a huge difference in children’s lives, just like Edward’s, every day. Your support really does make such a difference. Thank you.”
Like so many Hear and Say families, Hudson’s story began in a world of heartbreak, confusion and fear that he would never be able to communicate with his family and the world around him.
“Hudson’s birth was supposed to be one of the happiest moments of our life, but after our hearing screening at the hospital, our worst nightmare became a reality.” Jenny explains.
“I can remember visiting the Hear and Say Townsville Centre, red-eyed and unsure what the future would hold for us.”
“But when I walked in, I heard deaf children… speaking! My glimmer of hope sparked into fireworks, and I walked out thinking, ‘We can do this! He’s going to be ok! I’m going to be able to speak to my child!’”
As Jaradeenah talks to her little brother about his day while helping him with his homework, the differences in their schooling is evident. The math problems may be the same but attending class in Papua New Guinea (PNG) with cochlear implants was very different to her brother’s schooling in Brisbane.
Jaradeenah shares her story:
“Growing up in PNG, I had no support with my deafness at the schools I attended. In Australia, there is a great range of technology and support available that can help people who are hearing impaired in the classroom, at home and at social occasions.
People who have hearing don’t know what it is like being deaf, which is why they don’t always understand why I get so excited when I hear what I think is a special or new sound, especially with new technology that is making it
easier for me to hear.
I have always thought of myself as a normal person, and I just want to hear like everybody else, so I can be part of the conversation.”
Hear and Say is delighted to have Jaradeenah back with us, as a volunteer at our weekly LEAP playgroup in Brisbane.
In July, Jillian graduated from The University of Queensland with a Doctorate in Sociology and International Development. Achieving her PhD has been no easy feat for Jillian, as she celebrates getting her weekends back.
Jillian was born with moderate to severe hearing loss, which deteriorated to a profound loss during her early primary school years and rendered hearing aids ineffective. Jillian received her first cochlear implant at age nine and opted for a second implant 12 years later.
“The cochlear implant and the early intervention I received at Hear and Say has provided me with the freedom to be independent and resilient and in turn to pursue opportunities, such as completing a doctorate.
Without this scaffolding supporting my life journey, I certainly would not have been able to achieve some of my personal goals.”