From a newborn hearing screening result, to a GP’s referral, to word of mouth and everything in between, families come to Hear and Say via many different pathways.
For parents Tamara and Brian, discovering Hear and Say was in part thanks to the power of social media.
“We found out our son, Cohen was born with hearing loss, and while searching for information we were looking up hearing loss and Australian deaf children on Instagram,” recalled Tamara.
“We came across a page run by a family whose son went to Hear and Say, and we started to watch all of that. In the background, my sister was also trying to find out information for us, and it was her who had actually first contacted Hear and Say to find out about their Early Intervention program.
“From our first appointment – which we did over Zoom because of the pandemic – we suddenly didn’t feel as alone. Before that conversation, it had felt like the end of the world, but suddenly here we were hearing about all the outcomes that were possible for Cohen.”
Amidst the height of the coronavirus pandemic, Cohen and his family weren’t able come into the centre for several months – instead attending all their initial speech therapy sessions online.
“I remember the first time we could come into the centre, and I overheard another mum there with her child telling someone that going down this path was the best thing they’d ever done,” said Tamara.
“It made me feel so positive, and called my partner straight away to tell him about this little boy I’d seen a few years older than Cohen, who seemed so happy and outgoing. It’s really nice to see other kids wearing hearing devices when you come in to Hear and Say and see how well they’re doing.”
Now a bright and curious one-year-old, Cohen uses two cochlear implants and is making great strides in his hearing and early speaking skills.
“Cohen isn’t going to be limited by his hearing loss. He’s a really happy boy, and completely typical for a child his age except for the accessories he wears on his ears,” said Tamara.
“It’s important that families know the help is out there for them. Coming to Hear and Say and speaking with our speech therapist has been so good in normalising things, and having conversations with other families who are going through this too.”