Eastern Courier : September 14th 2011
www.aucklandnow.co.nz Wednesday, September 14, 2011 LIVE DAY -- Sunday 18th September 10am-4pm CNR BELLS RD & LADY MARIE DR, LLOYD ELSMORE PARK, PAKURANGA PH (09) 576-9506 OPEN 7 DAYS WWW.FENCIBLE.ORG.NZ Normal Admission Fee applies (Under 5 years free) Our British Roots Explore the icons of our past - food, games, superstitions & traditions. There'll be musket drills, games, crafts, food (bring your pocket money), a school lesson & church service, something for everyone. A new beginning Connected, above: Serena and Brett Stewart with their three-year-old son Sam who is deaf but can now communicate with the world around him thanks to cochlear implants. Cochlear, right: The magnetic implants that send messages to Sam's brain to help him talk and listen. Photos: ADRIAN EVANS By ADRIAN EVANS WEARING a loud shirt on Friday will speak volumes for deaf children and their famil- ies.It s already given Serena and Brett Stewart s deaf son Sam the chance to communi- cate with the world. Loud Shirt Day raises money for The Hearing House charitable trust to cover the $12,000 annual cost of on-going treatment for chil- dren with cochlear implants. Three-year-old Sam received his first cochlear implant in July last year. The government-funded $40,000 implants are only available to profoundly deaf children or those with severely impaired hearing. Sam was diagnosed as pro- foundly deaf at 16 months when his parents world turned upside down , Mrs Stewart says. The Hearing House has since become a huge part of the Stewart family s life. I remember walking in there for the first time and feeling like it s going to be okay, they were so warm and welcoming. At that point I knew we weren t in this alone, she says. Sam s first cochlear implant made such a differ- ence the Stewarts spent a year raising enough money for him to get a second one. These are just amazing devices, Mrs Stewart says. To think he wouldn t hear without them is too scary to imagine. While he might get a little bit shy at the beginning, he s quite out there. Now Sam and his mum go to The Hearing House in Greenlane once a week to see an auditory speech specialist. It s there they learn to listen and speak with each other. Mr Stewart says his son s bi-lateral cochlear implants are opening up a new world of possibilities for the whole family. Each milestone Sam reaches is just that little bit more special. The things we hear and take for granted, he s just dis- covering for the first time. Mrs Stewart agrees. The other day the phone and rang and he ran and got it for me. And it s like: Oh my God did we just have that? To be honest I don t think about having a deaf son anymore -- he just fits in. Loud Shirt Day on Sept- ember 16 is the national appeal for The Hearing House and Southern Cochlear Implant Paediatric Programme. The two charities are dedicated to providing deaf children with cochlear implants or hearing aids so they can listen and speak like their hearing peers. Neither charity charges deaf children or their families for its services. Go to www.loudshirtday. co.nz to register for an information pack or to donate.
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