We’d like to introduce our family to you. We’re Tim, Christina, Justin (4) and Alisha (2) Leung. We enjoy trying new things and are especially looking forward to our first camping trip together this summer.

Our son Justin is a smart, social and caring boy who is looking forward to entering Kindergarten this fall. He was born with a rare birth defect called Microtia, which means “small ear.” His ear canal is very narrow, leading to hearing loss on that side. In other words, Justin has Unilateral Moderate-Severe Conductive hearing loss. We were definitely surprised to see a small ear on our newborn upon birth, but we began educating ourselves on Microtia and in the following months Justin began seeing an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Specialist and an Audiologist. We found great support systems within our family, friends, healthcare professionals, and online support groups. We began services with BC Family Hearing Resource Society just prior to Justin’s 1st birthday, which has been an amazing experience for our whole family. Justin continues to work on his speech sounds with an SLP and attends social events at BCFHRC.

Justin is excited to begin Kindergarten at our local catchment school in September, 2018. We have begun discussions with the District Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing who will visit Justin weekly at school and help to ensure his needs are met. Our biggest concern is his access to sound in a noisy Kindergarten classroom. To help with access he will wear his Bone Anchored Hearing System (BAHS) and utilize a Digital Modulation (DM) system. We also expect Justin’s peers to be curious about his ear and hearing equipment and will be coming up with a plan for him and his teacher to be able explain it in simple terms.

As a way to prepare our family for the transition ahead we all attended the PEER program through BCFHRS. This program educated us on what to expect for our son as he enters the school system, equipment options, available supports, and how to effectively advocate for Justin. 3- Day PEER also taught Justin how to begin to advocate for himself and be confident in individual differences and hearing equipment. Justin was pleased to see other children wearing hearing aids and made several friends, some of whom we have stayed connected with after PEER ended. Since attending PEER, Justin has been able to confidently tell us when a sound or conversation is too quiet, and he recently explained to me that, “sounds enter into our brain.”

We encourage families to take part in PEER the year leading up to their child’s Kindergarten start date. The program not only provided us with education and insight, but allowed us to establish social connections and further support systems. The icing on the cake was the amount of fun the whole family had at PEER, especially during the 3-day component.