Setting a new PB by inspiring others

03/07/19
Teigan represented Australia at the Beijing (2008) and London (2012) Paralympic GamesTeigan represented Australia at the Beijing (2008) and London (2012) Paralympic Games

For people who are considering whether a cochlear implant is the right solution for them, a platform to ask questions and listen to the experiences of recipients is vital to make an informed decision. One of these recipients is Teigan Van Roosmalen, who recently shared her journey to a group on the NSW Central Coast.

“They [the group] were quite shocked at the level of my independence” Teigan explains, “For me you need to be positive about what you can achieve and give it a go”.

  

RIDBC Hunter Area Manager, Wendy Dorn declares “Teigan is a fantastic, young person – we are so appreciative of her speaking at this event and sharing her story”.

“Events such as these are extremely important to people considering cochlear implants – they are able to ask questions and hear experiences of people who have lived experience of what it is like, as well as talk to other people with hearing loss” Wendy continues.

Put simply, Teigan is inspiring. A positive, highly-successful person with a can-do attitude determined to help others.

Born with bilateral deafness, Teigan was diagnosed with Usher Syndrome at the age of six, which affects her vision. “That has never stopped me, I have no regrets and have never been held back in life” she says.

Having received a cochlear implant before her second birthday Teigan recalls at the time this made her the youngest recipient who was born deaf – the operation performed by none other than SCIC founding Director, Professor Bill Gibson OA.

 

Today, at the age of 28 Teigan acknowledges “My life would be completely different without a cochlear implant, I wouldn’t be able to meet new people and wouldn’t have independence”. For Teigan, independence is a recurring theme demonstrated best when she talks about the four months she travelled solo overseas in 2017. Visiting a total of 32 countries, she was keen to learn and deal with any challenges that arose, including any language barriers.

About her childhood, Teigan recalls her parents encouraging her to try new things, achieved through her passion for sport – playing soccer, surf lifesaving, netball, basketball and touch football. But it was in the swimming pool Teigan would spend most of her time.

Teigan represented Australia at the Beijing (2008) and London (2012) Paralympic Games in a career that saw her winning medals locally and abroad including setting a World Record in the 200m Butterfly. As well, she spent three years in the leadership group of the Australian Paralympic swimming team, a role that allowed her to share wisdom with younger and less experienced athletes.

She continues to share that wisdom as a swimming teacher. Her students adore her, one of which is a seven-year-old girl who is deaf. Teaching this young swimmer involves a combination of Auslan and visual methods. For Teigan, Auslan is important to the Deaf community, and thus, is important to her.

And Teigan’s advice for people with hearing loss who are considering a cochlear implant – “it isn’t easy but definitely worth giving it [cochlear implants] a go. It is about what you can achieve and the better social relationships you can have”.

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