A parent's perspective: Facing everyday challenges

Jeremy Kelly and his dad David. Jeremy was diagnosed as being moderately or profoundly deaf shortly after his birth.

Jeremy Kelly and his dad David. Jeremy was diagnosed as being moderately or profoundly deaf shortly after his birth.

A parent's perspective: Manning residents Leanne and David Kelly

Our son Jeremy was born in 2002, the younger of twins who were 15 weeks premature. Jeremy was diagnosed as being moderate to profoundly deaf at his newborn hearing screening at John Hunter Hospital.

Further testing was required to determine what type of hearing loss.

Due to Jeremy's prematurity he was diagnosed with auditory dysynchrony late in 2002.

We were living in Bellingen at the time and needed to travel to Australian Hearing in Newcastle and the Sydney Cochlear Implant Centre (SCIC) to determine the right approach for Jeremy. Jeremy was given bilateral hearing aides in 2003 at 18 months of age.

Jeremy struggled with hearing aids and we started to see behaviour changes which was why we started to look more towards a cochlear implant.

We used Makaton signing as a temporary measure from diagnoses to his first cochlear implant.

We were fortunate that Jeremy was a talker and wanted to improve his speech.

During this time we had amazing support from both his itinerant hearing support teacher and the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind children teleschool (RIDBC).

In 2006 Jeremy had his first cochlear implant surgery in Sydney. This required ongoing trips to Sydney for suitability, surgery, switch on, mapping and learning how to listen post switch on (habilitation).

In 2007 we moved to Alice Springs and relied heavily on the teachers of hearing impaired children through the remote teleschool of RIDBC.

This proved to be beneficial to Jeremy in the development of his listening and learning skills.

When Jeremy was able to read and discovered subtitles he was elated.

While living in the NT we travelled to Darwin or Sydney for his mapping and speech assessments with SCIC.

In 2013 we relocated back to NSW with Jeremy having a second implant in February this year as he informed us that he couldn't hear well enough from his right ear with his hearing aide.

Jeremy now has bilateral implants.

He uses an FM system for school and will often sit in the front of the class.

Again we are very fortunate to have the support of the itinerant hearing support teachers during school time.

Jeremy tries to explain to his peers about his hearing loss and feels isolated being "the only deaf kid in the school".

Next year Jeremy will go to high school where there are several other students with hearing losses and he is looking forward to making connections with other hearing impaired peers.

As a parent the challenges faced are avoiding background noises during conversations and ensuring Jeremy is included in all family discussions which can be challenging at times.

Quite often there is misinterpretation of information which leads into a whole new topic this gives us all a focal point for the next journey.


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