Mary's story is about the family's experience with later identification of bilateral hearing loss, and living outside the Lower Mainland.
We discovered that our daughter was hard of hearing when she was 5 years old (the summer before she entered kindergarten). Newborn hearing screening had not yet started in BC when she was born, so unfortunately we did not have the opportunity to have her hearing loss identified when she was a baby. We were shocked to find out about her hearing and didn’t know where to turn as we live in a small community with limited resources.
I had once worked with a woman that had an older child who was hard of hearing. I contacted her and asked many questions about what life was like raising a child with a hearing loss. She gave us the hope that we needed to move forward and take the necessary steps to provide our daughter with the needed support. We attended workshops and had the opportunity to listen to a panel of deaf and hard of hearing individuals. It was exciting to see that they were all successful, even though their stories and chosen methods of communication varied.
We were a bit frustrated that our community had limited resources and feared that we may need to move to a larger community. We were grateful to discover that there were provincial outreach programs that offered support to outlying communities. There was also a local hearing society that was run by a group of families that had children with hearing loss. They provided opportunities to meet other families and hosted informative workshops. We appreciated the opportunities, experiences and connections that we made through this society.
Our daughter was fitted with hearing aids in both ears and now uses a FM system while at school. She was provided with weekly support from the hearing resource teacher. We also met with the school to set up an individual education plan to meet the needs of our daughter.
Our daughter is now a pre-teen and is interested in a variety of sports, fashion, reading and cooking. She performs well academically and is popular amongst her peers. She has a great personality and loves to joke around with family members and friends.
Through our journey we did go through some ups and downs but were able to get through them by learning and growing. We turned some negatives into positives and leaned on each other and our support network. We are very proud of our daughter and are pleased that she has turned into such a wonderful young woman.