Read Ella's story
"Ella was born in 2019 and after failing the newborn hearing screening we were told she was profoundly deaf. Luckily, we were immediately allocated a fantastic Teacher of the Deaf who told us about The Elizabeth Foundation. I was initially hesitant to drive down from London to Portsmouth every week, but after a phone chat with Julie I needed to go and see what it was all about.
"We never looked back from our first session when Ella was seven weeks old. She got very little from her hearing aids but she loved baby group. She began to develop early listening skills despite probably not being able to hear anything. Lying on the big drum feeling the vibrations and sensing the wind chimes were some of Ella’s favourite things to do and they were one of the few things that would stop her screeching. Thursdays swiftly became the highlight of our week.
"During her first year, we went through the cochlear implant assessment. The scans revealed Ella had incomplete cochleae and thin hearing nerves. No one could tell us if implantation would be possible, let alone the outcome. The view was that she would probably only have access to environmental sound and would rely on lip reading and sign at best. Thanks, however, to an incredibly talented surgeon, just after her first birthday Ella received partial bilateral implants.
"To start with, Ella hated her cochlear implants, pulled them off constantly and refused to wear them. Her behaviour indicated that she was becoming increasingly frustrated. Julie and Emma would reassure us that one day it would click into place and she would want to wear them, but it was hard to imagine if and when that day would ever come! A tip from Julie to get audiology to adjust a setting was the turning point. Ella started to accept them more and with this we saw daily increases in her understanding.
"Ella moved up to Nicki’s toddler class where sitting and listening was a challenge – to say the least! However, Nicki and Lily’s unwavering patience meant Ella could learn in her own style, even if it was under the table. Slowly, as her understanding improved, so did her behaviour and ability to listen. We started to hear babble and a few incomprehensible words.
"Before we knew it, Ella was ready to move up to Rachel’s preschool class for two days a week, which is where her language finally took off. She adores going to ‘Rachel’s house’, sits and listens to every word and loves to tell both Rachel and the other children what to do!
"It is entirely thanks to the support she has received from The Elizabeth Foundation that Ella has defied the odds to have the listening and speaking skills she has today. Her life and ours have been transformed. We will all be sad when the day comes for Ella to leave to go to mainstream school, but she has been given the best start to her education that we could ask for."
"It is entirely thanks to the support she has received from The Elizabeth Foundation that Ella has defied the odds to have the listening and speaking skills she has today"