Mikaylah moves onto mainstream schooling with support from RIDBC

Mikaylah DeGennaro with RIDBC Garfield Barwick School teacher Ruhi Malhotra.Mikaylah DeGennaro with RIDBC Garfield Barwick School teacher Ruhi Malhotra.

Eight-year-old, Mikaylah DeGennaro, is ready to start mainstream schooling with support from Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC). It is an exciting time for parents, Sue and Corrado, who are grateful for the support they have received.

Mikaylah was diagnosed with hearing loss at birth through the SWISH Program and at 6 weeks of age she was diagnosed with mild to moderate bilateral hearing loss.

‘Her diagnosis has been a progression that lead to the loss of the rest of her hearing over the first 18 months of her life. Once routine testing confirmed that her hearing loss was now profound, it was decided she should receive a cochlear implant in her left ear, with the second ear implanted at age five,’ said Mikaylah’s mother, Sue. 

Mikaylah was referred through to RIDBC for early intervention and has been utilising the range services ever since.

‘We cannot speak highly enough of those who have supported us at RIDBC. Mikaylah simply would not have speech and be the happy, outgoing little girl she is today without their devotion’ said Sue.

Graduating from RIDBC Garfield Barwick School to begin her mainstream schooling in 2018, Mikaylah has shown exceptional literary and numerical skills which are on par with her hearing peers. Her new school teachers will be provided with the necessary equipment to enable Mikaylah to start her schooling seamlessly.

‘Mikaylah is an amazing little girl who has worked hard and approaches every new task with enthusiasm. Her personality will serve her well in her new mainstream environment and we are confident that she will continue to shine,’ said Sue.

RIDBC operates five specialist preschools for children with vision or hearing loss, which operate on a reverse-integration model, where children with vision or hearing loss attend alongside children from the local community, who are excellent language and learning models for their peers.

RIDBC supported 49 children through their five specialist preschools in 2016, in addition to 80 children from the community to act as learning and language models.

RIDBC VisionEd Preschool in North Rocks caters for children with vision loss, RIDBC Rockie Woofit Preschool caters for children with hearing loss learning to listen and speak, and RIDBC Roberta Reid Preschool caters for children learning Australian Sign Language (Auslan). RIDBC also run preschools in the Hunter and Nepean for children with vision or hearing loss.

RIDBC is a charity and Australia’s largest non-government provider of therapy, education and cochlear implant services for people with vision or hearing 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 people's lives.