The Infant Hearing Program at JMCC: Providing kids with hearing loss the best start for communication success! Date Posted: Thursday, November 3, 2016
When asked what being part of the Infant Hearing Program at the John McGivney Children’s Centre means to her and her family, Rachel Morin had a very powerful one-word answer: “Everything.”
Morin’s daughter Sophie is a graduate of the Infant Hearing Program at JMCC. She wears cochlear implants and is thriving thanks to the help of the program and its amazing staff.
“JMCC made a difficult time so much easier. We were taught how to work with our daughter and we were given strategies to help her thrive. We are forever grateful for all JMCC did for us,” says Morin.
In Ontario, babies are given a hearing test in their infancy. Nearly four in 1,000 babies are born deaf or hard of hearing. Many of these children will need to learn speech and language differently than other children and with early detection they have the best chance for success. This is where the Infant Hearing Program comes in. This program at JMCC, a great resource for families with children diagnosed with hearing loss in Windsor and Essex County, is staffed with Speech Language Pathologists who have specialized training to work with children with bilateral or unilateral hearing loss. Brooke Dalley, Agapi Varacalli and Nancy Homes, the JMCC Infant Hearing Program team, guide and coach families to work with their children to develop their speech and language skills from infancy to six years. The children who access the program often use a variety of technology including hearing aids or cochlear implants.
“If it wasn’t for JMCC, Ethan wouldn’t be where he is today,” said Allison Belliveau whose son Ethan is also a graduate of the Infant Hearing program at JMCC.
Sophie and Ethan’s families were two of the graduate/mentor families who attended the Infant Hearing Program Family/Caregiver Luncheon & Tea on Oct. 28. This luncheon brings together families of kids with hearing loss and gives them the chance to network and meet others who may be going through similar situations. The children have a chance to play together with other kids like them, helping them to realize, they are not alone.
“It is very rewarding to see how far the kids have come. The inclusion of the mentor families and graduates of the program allows other families to see what is possible for their children,” says Brooke Dalley, Speech Language Pathologist, Infant Hearing Program, JMCC.
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