Everyone has a story that is uniquely theirs and none more so than Can:Do Group’s Client Services Development Officer, Megan. Diagnosed with bilateral hearing loss at a young age, Megan has been involved with Can:Do 4Kids, Townsend House for most of her life.
“Can:Do 4Kids has been such a big part of my life throughout both my childhood and adulthood now that I’m working here. It’s great to see the opportunities that have come from that, not only for myself, but I’ve also met so many other people who have gone through the services who are now also working for Can:Do 4Kids, and seeing families come together – it is like a second home.”
Unexpectedly, Megan’s one-year-old son, Liam received a similar diagnosis to her own soon after birth.
“My journey with Liam was quite emotional to begin with because it wasn’t something that I was really expecting. No one else in my family is deaf, I am a twin and was born premature so growing up medical professionals believed that was the reason for my hearing loss. I never thought that my child could receive a similar diagnosis as me, it was quite confronting. But having experienced what Can:Do 4Kids was like personally, I knew that he was going to get the support that he needed which was incredibly reassuring.”
Liam, who now receives speech therapy once a week loves his therapy time as Megan, describes;
“His interactions with Natalie are just so wonderful because it’s almost like he knows what we’re doing; he arrives and he knows that she’ll be not only playing games and singing songs but also giving him the tools that he needs to be able to take those things home. There are always smiles and laughter which I just love because his sessions are enjoyable – it’s all play-based and not only that it also involves my oldest son which is really great so the interactions of the family are fantastic.”
And those interactions with the family go a long way towards Liam’s development, as his Speech Pathologist, Natalie mentions;
“I have been able to see Liam’s family integrate the strategies and approaches into their everyday life and be amazingly active participants in our sessions. The benefits of this to Liam’s listening and spoken language development have been really evident. Liam is able to recognise different songs and words, is starting to use his voice to make things happen and he is able to follow some simple everyday phrases and is showing off his new play skills.”
Liam is also enrolled in the Tiny Tots group program which provides Liam’s parents with the opportunity to meet other families with similar lived experiences. Megan often reflects on what that was like for her as a child and is excited for Liam to experience
“I remember all of the family days that we used to have. We used to have family picnics where lots of kids with hearing loss would come together and I remember those days being great as far as meeting other kids who were just like me. That’s what I’m really looking forward to with Liam – that he’s also got the opportunity to be surrounded by what I had. And those families really do become part of your family.”
Liam’s future is looking bright and with Can:Do 4Kids by his side he will be able to live his best life, as Megan describes;
“Because he has so much support behind him with Can:Do 4Kids, I feel confident that he’s going to be able to achieve anything that he wants to; and knowing that Can:Do 4Kids have also got services lined up for him all through his childhood and beyond makes me incredibly grateful.”
The assistance given to kids like Liam, especially from our incredible supporters, provides important opportunities such as family-centred events and family support workers. Families are able to connect with other kids around their age who share similar lived experiences; and parents like Megan can connect with other parents and build vital support networks for their journey ahead.