The Paquin-Lambert family embraces life with all its adventures. They are an active family and are always on the go. They faced the diagnosis of Emilie’s hearing loss with the same adventurous spirit.
**A story from our archives – Emilie is now 9 years old.**
We have two children, Emilie, who is now 4 years old and Thomas, 18 months. Our daughter Emilie was born October, 2008 in Revelstoke, BC and had her hearing tested through the BC Early Hearing Program when she was just 3 months old. After several trips back and forth to Kamloops to have further testing completed, she was diagnosed with a severe sensorineural hearing loss in her left ear and a profound sensorineural hearing loss in her right ear. She received hearing aids for both ears at 5½ months of age. At 18 months Emilie received a cochlear implant for her right ear.
“ It was like falling off a balcony, like falling off [while] climbing [a cliff]; it was… whoa”
Following the initial diagnosis, we started working with our community Speech and Language Pathologist in Revelstoke and we also explored the three specialized agencies for young children with hearing loss for outreach services. We chose the BC Family Hearing Resource Centre (BCFHRC).
“At the beginning it was a bit, well, quite overwhelming but over time it all fell in place somehow…You just have to keep going and accept what is going on. Do the best you can”
We have to go see our CI Audiologist twice a year at the BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver and so from day one we have always tried to combine our visits to the Lower Mainland to include a trip to Surrey to BCFHRC.
When Emilie was still a baby, we dropped in to participate in the Bouncy Babies group where we met with other families as well as the wonderful facilitators of the group. As Emilie grew older we also brought her to participate in other Centre events such as Mingle and Play during the summer. We always meet with our Outreach Consultant, Dyan Spear for individual therapy sessions and every time we come we meet new people and learn new things.
“Meeting people with a hearing loss helps. Talking about it helps; Being open minded. Be aware that other kids will ask you, “What’s that on your kid’s ears?” You have to explain… and teach your kid to feel good about it.”
Time flies… now Emilie is a four year old and is starting school in the fall of 2013! So, this year we packed up the whole family so that we could spend a week at BCFHRC so that Emilie could attend the pre-school aged group program. We wanted Emilie to meet new friends who were also wearing CIs and hearing aids.
While we were planning our latest trip to the centre, we were very focused on how this experience might be good for Emilie, but during our time there we realized that we (the parents) were really the ones to benefit from the experience!
We met other families with children who had a hearing loss. We met with the wonderful Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Role Models who work at BCFHRC, Suzie Fairweather, Karen Jackson and Sharon Neufeld. We were all exposed to people signing ASL and also using specific strategies to promote listening and spoken language. We had time to learn more about Emilie’s hearing loss from professionals and time to have fun and yes, Emilie was introduced to other children and adults that wore hearing aids or a cochlear implant—In Revelstoke the average age for people with hearing aids and CIs seems to be 60 plus…Now Emilie knows that she is not the only young one for whom this is a part of life. All of these learning experiences have really, really helped us. As a family living in a remote community we would recommend that all families who live in outreach areas take the time to visit BCFHRC (even if it means travelling a great distance to get there).