As part of our 40th Birthday celebrations, we asked parents of deaf children, who undertook the Natural Aural Approach with DELTA, to give us an update to their Now and Then Stories – originially made 10 years ago – and tell us what they are doing in 2021!
Our young deaf adults are our success stories of the Natural Aural Approach from DELTA, providing inspiration and support to families of newly diagnosed deaf children proving that deaf children can speak for themselves, naturally.
We have been delighted to hear from Emma Beck, mother of two brilliant boys – Jacob and Reuben, who are both deaf, and she shares her story from where her family was 10 years ago and what they are doing today.
Then – 10 years ago when Emma shared her story
My family consists of my two sons and myself; I’m a profoundly deaf adult with a hearing loss averaging 110db, while both my sons Jacob (6yrs old) and Reuben (5yrs old) have a hearing loss of 85dB. Our deafness is bilateral sensorineural loss which is genetic and hereditary. All three of us have NHS digital aids and use radio aids.
Jacob was diagnosed at 3 weeks old and began wearing analogue hearing aids at 10 weeks old. The hearing aids made a huge difference to his life, for the first time he smiled at sounds, and turned towards spoken voice. From very early on he loved the most noisiest of sounds possible and would beam with smiles. I kept a diary to show the noises and sounds he was making, it would serve two purposes firstly, it kept me positive when I looked back and was able to see his development and also it allowed the Teacher of the Deaf to see which sounds he could hear allowing adjustments to his hearing aids.
When Jacob was 15months old. Reuben was born his neonatal screening and Brain Stem testing were inconclusive. By the time Reuben was 9months I began to see evidence of his deafness, he would favour one ear to listen to me singing, his utterances became louder, he became less responsive to normal sounds that I felt he had previously heard.
My lack of confidence in my local NHS hospital meant I went private for the hearing test, they detected a slight loss. With this evidence I was referred to a different hospital and after a four month wait Reuben was fitted with NHS analogue hearing aids. Reuben’s speech development milestones were slower than what Jacob’s had been at the same age.
With a new hospital came digital hearing aids, which supported the boys learning. As an Early Years teacher I had the advantage of having the knowledge of developing vocabulary through play. I also had excellent Teachers of the Deaf who set targets and as I was not working I was able to fully focus on the boys development. I used every opportunity to build up their understanding of the world around them, whilst driving I would play musical songs and nursery rhymes. I stimulated the boys learning by taking them to play groups, local places of interest even the supermarket was made child orientated by giving the boys shopping lists with visual pictures to find foods. I made chores fun, we made up games of hide and seek or the ‘hoover monster’ for cleaning, I involved them in every area of my day.
Now – Emma gives her update in 2021
Both boys are now in full time education, I found a supportive school that I trusted with the responsibility of looking after the boys education. I will admit I am a demanding mother, with two deaf sons and knowing how hard I found school I want them to keep their curiosity of learning fresh.
I know the boys will reach their potential because they are confident children who have the skills that are starting to develop in communicating their own needs to others. As siblings they support each other and are very close, I am sure that this ‘special’ sibling relationship will continue as they grow older.
They are deaf and they, at this present time, accept their disability, nothing holds them back because whatever they do I as their mother will always support them and be there to comfort and guide them, until they are old enough to do this themselves.
So fast forward ten years…and where am I now…?!
I have been living in Horsham for the last three years, a market town in West Sussex near Gatwick Airport. I am really settled here and I love the ease of getting into London on the train (only 50 minutes) as well as being within close proximity of the South Downs National Park and coast.
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Read more DELTA Stories
We provide stories from more young deaf adults from across the UK and also from parents and professionals sharing their experiences of going through the Natural Aural Approach.
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