Hearing experts give family hope
TO see your child play and laugh is one of the joys of being a parent and it is no different for Dave and Beck Wiskar.
Since their 11-month-old son James was born with permanent hearing loss, Dave and Beck have been on a long journey, but are already starting to see huge rewards, which includes James starting to communicate with them.
“Exciting, rewarding, all those emotions mixed in,” Beck said.
“We’ve put in so much work - to see the reward is so great.”
Seeing the rewards is partly due to the work of Hear and Say, a world leading program that supports young children with hearing loss and their families.
From March 28 until April 28 is Hear and Say’s Butterfly Appeal, to raise money to help deaf babies.
“Hear and Say have given us a start, middle and end,” Beck said. “We have a path to follow and without them we would just flounder along without knowing which way.
“Hear and Say take him from birth to age six. He should by then have the same listening, hearing and speaking skills as his hearing peers. He will go into primary school just like any other hearing person.
“They just do such a wonderful job and are a wonderful organisation.”
Beck said when James was two-days-old he had a healthy hearing program to test his hearing, which he failed, and was sent to have a full diagnostic hearing test at the Mater Hospital at one-and-a-half weeks old.
“After a number of goes, James was found to have a bi-lateral sensorineural, which means that there is damage to the hair cells within the cochlear,” she said.
“The doctors haven’t found a cause, but through the use of digital hearing aids and auditory-verbal therapy he will hear and speak as well as his hearing peers.
“It was devastating when James was found to have hearing loss.
“When he was born you check breathing then fingers and toes, but hearing?
“It was a slap in the face.”
Beck said it was hard to introduce him to the world - to go out in public with a little baby with hearing aids, as people stared and pointed.
“James will be one on April 26 and everyday we flood him with rich language and talk through our daily routine, unpacking the dishwasher or peeling vegetables, so he hears everything well and correctly,” she said.
“He is starting to use his voice to communicate with us - it’s awesome, it’s what we’ve been waiting for.”
To support the Butterfly Appeal, butterfly brooches, pens, charm bracelets and other merchandise are available from Suncorp bank branches and KFC outlets and other selected locations with every box of butterfly merchandise sold during the appeal funding one therapy lesson for a deaf child.
To donate directly phone 3870 2221 or go online to www.butterflyappeal.com.