Sky's the limit for young Hugh

Janet with Hugh and their RIDBC Teleschool Speech Pathologist, Neryl HornJanet and Hugh with RIDBC Teleschool Speech Pathologist, Neryl Horn, during a residential week for families of children with hearing loss recently held in Sydney

Janet and Degen’s son, Hugh, is four years old and has hearing loss. The family lives in Ballarat, Victoria, and accesses Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) Teleschool which provides families in regional and remote Australia access to specialist support via high quality videoconferencing technology.

When Hugh was born with hearing loss it was a difficult time for the family.

“I lost those precious early weeks with my newborn to clinical appointments and a desperate search for information about hearing loss,” said Janet.

“With my determination to support Hugh, RIDBC Teleschool has been an incredible support for me, particularly as we are a country family and we struggle to find quality services close to home. RIDBC has taught me so many strategies to promote Hugh’s learning.

“I learned more in my first RIDBC Teleschool session than I had read in any book or ascertained from any person. Accessing the service has been the best thing I’ve ever done.”

RIDBC Consultant/Speech Pathologist, Neryl Horn, continues to work to develop Hugh’s speech and language.

“I encourage very high expectations about the precision of Hugh’s speech and language, to help make maximum use of his hearing. When we are not sure what Hugh means, we say “I don’t understand” and let him take the challenge of clarifying what he said,” said Neryl.

“Hugh is using his hearing extremely well to develop spoken language which is above average for his age.”

Janet is very hopeful about Hugh’s future.

“We are currently focusing on transitioning Hugh into a mainstream kindergarten in 2013, so we’re definitely thinking about that a lot,” said Janet.

“The fact is, though, the book isn’t written for Hugh. Children are now receiving specialist services, technologies and education programs at such a young age. So for Hugh, who was diagnosed with hearing loss by three weeks, received hearing aids by eight weeks, and has had the benefit of the expert early intervention services of RIDBC – the possibilities for his future really are endless!”