Taylor ready for 'big school' with support from RIDBC

Taylor with mum, Amanda.Taylor with mum, Amanda, enjoying fun activities to help her learn language at RIDBC.

Five year old Narara girl, Taylor Harvey, who has hearing loss, is ready for 'big school' with support from Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) Gosford.

When Taylor's hearing loss was diagnosed at two years of age, it came as a shock to mum, Amanda.

"Taylor was diagnosed with heart disease and a cleft palate when she was a baby, so as she grew up any speech and language issues were attributed to that," said Amanda.

When Taylor was a year old a series of ear infections started to raise concerns.

"She had 20 ear infections in one year," said Amanda. "It was then we were referred to Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon, Associate Professor Catherine Birman, which was just the best thing. Dr Birman tested and re-tested Taylor's hearing and that's when we found out she had hearing loss.

"When you have a child with a number of different health issues you think that you would get better at hearing about other diagnosis - but it was really hard. We just thought - really? There is something else?”

During this time Amanda had her second daughter, Bodhi, who was diagnosed with hearing loss through newborn hearing screening and began receiving support from RIDBC Gosford when she was seven weeks of age.

"Having Bodhi on service with RIDBC Gosford made a huge difference," said Amanda. “We'd had such a great experience with them - we had faith in the fact that we had the right service provider and that with early intervention we could start getting Taylor onto a good path with good progress.

"I knew that with RIDBC, Taylor’s development would really be supported – not just her hearing loss, but also her self-confidence and overall development. Since she began receiving support from RIDBC she has grown so much."

Taylor is now learning to listen and speak with two hearing aids, and is ready to start ‘big school’ in 2016.

"When Taylor received her second pair of hearing aids the difference was out of this world," said Amanda. "We put them in her ears and the first thing that came out of her mouth was, 'I can hear mummy!' It was bittersweet.”

"When we started with RIDBC Taylor’s speech was almost 12 months delayed. When she started to access sounds through her hearing aids, life changed. With RIDBC it's like there is this beautiful, big umbrella of support over your entire family– everything from speech therapy to occupational therapy to assessment to diagnostics.

"Taylor is very unique – she's not into frills and tutus. She asked for a star wars light saber for Christmas! The idea of her transitioning to school has definitely been stressful but RIDBC has just been fantastic supporting us through the process. I'm really positive about the future. She has been through so much and I’m now really looking forward to her starting school and having new adventures!"

RIDBC is a charity and Australia’s largest non-government provider of therapy, education and cochlear implant 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 people's lives.