Cheeky, playful, smart, cute and funny.

These are the five words 11-year-old Cale used to describe his dog Freddie, in his speech that took out the top prize in his age group at the 2019 Calanna Public Speaking Competition. Winning this prestigious award in his hometown of Cairns was no easy feat, with Cale taking part in four rounds of public speaking competitions, with the final speech hosted in the Cairns Regional Council Chambers.

“The topic was, ‘My Five Favourite Words’, and my speech was about my dog, Freddie. Now I am the best public speaker in my age group in Cairns,” said Cale.

Born with profound deafness in both ears, Cale received cochlear implants in 2009. With the support of listening and spoken language therapy, he is now achieving results at school above the average of his typically-hearing peers.

Boy Holding Award

“Cale likes learning; he is very interested in and inquisitive about the world, with a particular interest in countries and animals,” said Cale’s mum, Donna.

“That’s what you want your kids to have, a love of learning – because it will take them anywhere.

“He can decide what he wants to do and where he wants to go after finishing school. He can gain employment in whichever field he chooses just like everyone else, because he can hear and speak. Being able to hear has opened up so many doors for him.”

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“This research project is very exciting because it helps to show that children who receive a cochlear implant for single-sided deafness saw significant improvements in their day-to-day hearing abilities, which are maintained over time."

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