Events, News and Events • May 05, 2022

2022 Can:Do 4Kids Tax-time Appeal

“When we found out that our twin boys were both deaf, we were devastated. We weren’t expecting it, we have no history of deafness in our family, and we had no idea what would come next.”

Watch Holly’s story in full here:

Hi, my name is Holly, and I’m the proud mum of beautiful three-year-old identical twin boys, Owen and Darcy. They’re both fun-loving boys who enjoy playing, whether it be outside or with their cars and train sets. They’re also very inquisitive – constantly investigating, learning how things work and they’re always building and tinkering with things.

To begin with, I had a smooth pregnancy – as smooth as can be for twins – and they were both born healthy at 37 weeks. What happened next took us by surprise, they failed their universal newborn hearing test. However, my husband, Matt, and I weren’t overly worried. We trusted the medical staff who told us at the time it was just fluid in their ears causing the failed test result.

Nothing could have prepared us for the results of the secondary tests three weeks later. At three weeks old we were told they were both profoundly deaf in both ears. Our little love bubble of newborn bliss had burst.

Having twins can be difficult enough, but then to find out that they both were deaf was shattering. The deafness wasn’t a genetic condition either, it was by pure chance that they both received the same diagnosis. I felt overwhelmed, not just from coming to terms with the emotions, but there was so much information, so many unanswered questions – everything felt uncertain.

Thankfully, soon after I was introduced to Can:Do 4Kids. They immediately stood out from other support services. They had a high degree of expertise and offered services that suited the boys’ needs. They also reassured me that everything was going to be okay, the boys’ futures were still bright; and perhaps most importantly, they were willing to support my whole family –not just Owen and Darcy.

We began our services with a Listening and Spoken Language therapist and have added Occupational Therapy more recently. There were certainly struggles early on: we didn’t see much growth for the first 12 months due to their level of deafness and the hearing aids they wore weren’t as effective as they needed to be.

This was also the time when the boys began their surgeries to receive cochlear implants. As a mum, being told my two sons needed to face surgery at such an early age sent my emotions into overdrive – this is never news that a mum wants to hear.

Owen had his first operation in August 2019 and his second in October the same year. His first surgery had serious complications that left him in hospital with an infection for quite a while – the added worry was almost unbearable. Darcy had his first in January 2020 and his second in September 2021. Four seemingly neverending surgeries between them was an incredibly trying and emotionally exhausting time for our family.

The moment their cochlear implants were switched on was upsetting as we didn’t get one of the amazing reactions that you hear about and that was hard. But with the persistent guidance and support of the Can:Do 4Kids therapists, who explained to us that this was normal, the boys soon began to flourish.

“It was an incredible milestone. Seemingly out of nowhere, they’d start repeating words back to us that we were saying. It was unbelievable because they’d never done anything like that before.”

Being deaf, we knew there would be challenges surrounding social interaction and so we enrolled them into the Talking Buddies group program run by Can:Do 4Kids. The group provided them with the tools they needed to begin learning those skills. It was so rewarding for them to be able to see other children with hearing aids and cochlear implants – to feel ‘normal’ and know there were others just like them. Watching them thrive in these settings has given me a sense of relief that I can barely describe.

Our next major milestone that we look forward to is preparing them for kindergarten which is truly amazing. If someone had told me a year ago that we would be looking to join the boys with their hearing peers at kindergarten, I wouldn’t have believed them. Now, it’s a realistic goal.

At the beginning of our journey, after the diagnoses, I felt so alone and worried about their future. Now, with the help of Can:Do 4Kids and people like you, I know that their deafness isn’t going to hold them back, there’s so much they can do and their future possibilities are endless – my outlook has completely changed and I can’t wait to see them start kindergarten next year.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope that you gained something from reading our story, whether that be a new perspective or even a smile from knowing that you have helped families like mine so very much. Your support truly cannot be understated.

Yours truly,

 

 

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