Lucy is ready for 'big school' with support from RIDBC and her cochlear implants

L-R: Hannah, Lucy and 'big sister' Bella are all smiles.L-R: Hannah, Lucy and 'big sister' Bella are all smiles.

Five year old Roseville girl, Lucy Ryan, is ready for 'big school’ with support from Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) and life changing technology — the cochlear implant.

When Natalie and Sean's twin daughters, Lucy and Hannah, were born their lives started to take very different paths.

"The girls were affected by twin to twin transfusion in utero," said Natalie. "When Lucy was born we found out she had mild cerebral palsy and auditory neuropathy, a condition that can cause hearing loss."

In 2013, Lucy received a cochlear implant through RIDBC's cochlear implant program, and went on to have her second implant in 2015."Before the implants Lucy was definitely more frustrated, but then her learning just accelerated," said Natalie.

"Sometimes it was hard — Hannah would answer questions so quickly but Lucy would take a few seconds to process. RIDBC gave me strategies to support them both — like encouraging games where they took turns so that Lucy had an opportunity to take the lead."

Natalie says RIDBC's lessons were always fun and engaging.

"Our RIDBC Early Learning Program consultants did incredible things to get Lucy to laugh and talk," said Natalie. "We had treasure hunts in sandpits and jumped and danced down corridors to key speech sounds! RIDBC really knows how to get the best out of kids.

"Early intervention made such a difference. Lucy was able to attend a local preschool alongside her sister, and now she is going to Roseville Public School alongside her too! Our transition to school really has been guided by RIDBC."

RIDBC worked with staff at Roseville Public School to ensure a smooth transition for Lucy and her family.

"RIDBC has been supporting the school with information about Lucy's cochlear implants," said Natalie. "They have also been providing information about classroom acoustics and the specialist equipment Lucy needs - such as a hearing loop that can link to her cochlear implants during school assembly.

"With RIDBC's support and the right technology, we feel confident about Lucy starting 'big school'. She is fortunate to have had early intervention from RIDBC from an early age — I sometimes now find it difficult to tell the difference between Lucy and Hannah by voice!

"Our hope now is that Lucy's learning will continue and that this year will be the beginning of a wonderful time for Lucy and also for her sister, Hannah."

RIDBC is a charity and Australia’s largest non-government provider of therapy, education and diagnostic services for people with hearing or vision loss, supporting thousands of adults, children and their families, each year.

RIDBC relies heavily on fundraising and community support to be able to continue to make a difference in the lives of children and adults with vision or hearing loss.