Monday, March 31, 2014

Guest Post // Children's Hearing and Speech Center of BC Fundraiser

^^ Alice enjoying a cookie on a recent walk at Trout Lake ^^

**guest post by Andrea Manchon

You may remember having your baby’s hearing screened shortly after birth– or maybe you were exhausted from labour, or busy falling in love with your little one. For my husband and I, it was a moment we won’t forget. That was when we discovered there was an issue with our daughter’s hearing. We soon learned Alice has permanent hearing loss in both her ears and will require hearing aids for life.

This was a tough, scary pill to swallow.

Would she ever learn to talk? Would we need sign language to communicate with her? What schools would she go to? Should I quit my job to support her?  We had so many questions. Luckily, the BC Early Hearing Program, which is responsible for the screening test for newborns, also connects families with three organizations in BC that work with children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

One of them is the Children’s Hearing and Speech Centre of BC. The Centre focuses exclusively on teaching deaf and hard of hearing children to listen and to speak. It is the only listening and spoken language school in Western Canada.  

Alice was fitted with her hearing aids when she was three months old. Since then, we’ve had a weekly appointment at the Centre, and I’ve been learning to teach Alice to talk. The Centre showed us that with the right technology and teaching, there was every hope our daughter could find her voice. Now almost two years old, Alice is doing very well. She’s becoming a real chatterbox, just like her big sister. She is developing much like any hearing child her age, but she is still young. We hope she will attend a regular public school when she is ready. Until then, the Centre offers pre-school, pre-K and kindergarten to grade 3 programs.

The Centre is a non-profit and relies heavily on fundraising. On April 12, 2014, it will host the 2014 Grammy winner for Best Children’s Album, Jennifer Gasoi, in a benefit concert. Jennifer grew up in Vancouver and is the first Canadian to win a Grammy in this category. Jennifer writes smart, jazz-based songs that are popular with music lovers of all ages. Proceeds from the event will go to the Children's Hearing and Speech Centre of BC. Tickets are available for purchase here.

As a parent to two little ones, I’m always looking for fun activities the whole family can enjoy. I hope your family will enjoy this concert too. Please join us, and help kids like Alice learn to speak – for themselves.

^^ Alice and big sister Lucy working on some crayon masterpieces ^^


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