One day after my oldest was born, when the maternity nurse first came to tell me that my newborn infant daughter did not pass her hearing screening, I was overcome with fear and panic. What I realize now is that it was a fear of the unknown, of what would be, what her life would be like if she could not hear. I had no idea what was to come. I felt an overwhelming loss of control. Over the coming months, my baby would undergo numerous tests, screenings, a CT scan and would be put to sleep to undergo an auditory brainstem response procedure (ABR). The ABR ultimately showed that she had a severe/profound hearing loss. Overall, after everything we had been through and everything we had feared, this news actually came as a relief. With some existing residual hearing, we were told she would be able to be fit with hearing aids to amplify the hearing that she had. We had something to work with. With some hearing, she would have an easier time learning to speak. Her life would be full of challenges, but she would be OK. She would need speech therapy, deaf and hard of hearing special education, hearing aids, FM system, regular audiology appointments, ENT, and hopefully, with all this early intervention, hopefully she would develop on track with typically developing kids. Hopefully, she would be able to attend a mainstream school. That would be the goal we were told. We could only hope. Hope and work hard and pray that she’d be OK, that she would be able to keep up and get a good education. With all those hopes and unknowns, never did I imagine a day when that little girl would come home from elementary (mainstream) school with a perfect straight A report card. That day came this week. I learned very early never to underestimate Leila but I guess she’s just determined to prove it again and again. I’m so proud of her, words fail me at the moment.
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