Dear Mrs Speechie (as you always will be known),
In recent months we discussed how today’s deaf children can become verbal, thanks to newborn hearing tests and timely access to cochlear implants and digital hearing devices.
Some areas of concern still existed however – namely that:
- Ireland has lacked a specialist speech therapist for deaf children since your retirement.
- Parents did not know how to work with their children to develop their spoken language.
- Families needed coaching for everyone to know how to talk with the child who is deaf.
The ‘ tragedy ‘ of children with digital hearing devices not being taught to hear and talk by their families was mentioned by Chrissy Morris, the trainee coach in auditory-verbal therapy (AVT) who recently volunteered her services to Sound Advice.
While in Ireland, Chrissy teamed with families who have late-detected children with cochlear implants and shared tips for parents to teach spoken words wherever they are, with a child.
Families routinely advocate for services they have never accessed. After a long process however, some enthused parents are now championing auditory-verbal therapy in Ireland, by inviting speech therapists and audiologists to upskill as auditory-verbal therapists.
How much has changed, in such a short time. As a colleague said, “it is a dynamic and thankfully borderless world we now live in [ for access to training and information ].” This reminds me how my folks wrote to the UK and US, and consulted with you, in the 1970s when knowledge about teaching deaf children to speak was so much harder to source.
Thanks to a recent group of committed parents, today’s children can access the best possible hearing and speech services. They, like me, will be fully equipped to receive a quality mainstream education and to work as full, tax-paying citizens on their own merit.
The next chapter will be most interesting. I for one, am thoroughly looking forward to it.
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