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The Elizabeth Foundation | Helping preschool deaf children and babies learn to listen and talk   The Elizabeth Foundation - Helping preschool deaf children and babies learn to listen and talk


Joel's success story

"Joel was offered the newborn hearing screening test on the day he was born. He failed it twice. I knew instinctively something wasn’t right, no matter how many times the nurse reassured me if could be just fluid build up.

"Joel was then tested again at 6 weeks old by the Audiology department of the hospital where it was confirmed that he has a permanent hearing loss. To say we were devastated was an understatement. It was an awful shock. I’d had a perfect pregnancy and we had no history of deafness in the family so it was really unexpected.

"He had his little hearing aids fitted at 9 weeks old and it was only then that reality set in. I think I cried every day for a month. I was so upset and embarrassed for Joel in the first weeks that I used to take his hearing aids out when we went out in public for fear of people staring at him. I felt so sad for Joel and I worried about his future.

"We were then told of the Elizabeth Foundation by the audiology department and we received a lovely letter from them introducing themselves and inviting us to go and see them. I felt so alone at that time that I thought it would be a really good idea to meet people who deal with deafness every day. I also thought that they would be able to teach Joel how to talk and listen properly.

"Joel and I have been attending The Elizabeth Foundation for over a year now. We go once a week for an hour’s session and Joel loves it. The teachers of the deaf are lovely and they almost feel like family now! Joel gets excited when he sees the front door of the building! They teach Joel how to listen through play and each week they do different activities to teach him different sounds. I have also picked up lots of tips and advice from them for when Joel and I play at home. Hopefully when he gets a little bit older he will be able to go to their nursery and play with other children.

"The great thing about The Elizabeth Foundation is that you no longer feel like you are going it alone and dealing with things on your own. They are there to support you and your child and you realise in the end that a hearing loss isn’t really a big deal. It doesn’t change who your child is. It doesn’t make them any different from any other child. Joel is 14 months old now and he is the most amazing little boy. He is developing in line with any other hearing child and he has just started to talk. He says mama, daddy, grandma and granddad. ‘Get down’ and ‘all gone’ are his favourite words to say at the moment! He is very cheeky and very charming! He runs everywhere at top speed and he loves to throw himself off the sofa into his toy box! He is always covered in bruises (a typical little boy!) I am sure he wants to be a stunt man when he grows up!

"Everybody adores him and now, rather than being sad and embarrassed for Joel I am so very proud of him and I don’t care who sees his hearing aids- in fact people often ask me about his hearing loss when we are out and rather than being upset about it, I proudly tell them all about how well he is doing learning to talk and listen.

"Joel is such a special, amazing little boy that when I think back to my feelings and thoughts of desperation and sadness for him in those first few months it was clear that I had no idea about hearing loss. Through the help and support offered by the Elizabeth Foundation and the Audiology department I have learned so much about deafness and I have come to realise that just because you have a hearing loss it doesn’t change who you are. If Joel had been born with perfect hearing he would still be exactly the same little boy who is sitting on my knee in front of me today messing with the computer. Same laugh, same beautiful eyes, same golden hair, same funny walk…it's just that he just happens to have two tiny pink aids peeping out from behind his curls…"


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