On Thursday, 26 September, Newcastle Jets players Emile Heskey and Michael Bridges hosted a corporate lunch for the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) in the Hunter.
The lunch was held to officially launch the RIDBC Hunter Sight and Sound Local Business Community Program, calling on local business 'heroes' to help deliver critical early learning programs for children with hearing or vision loss.
These programs ensure children can access the same opportunities as other Hunter kids and reach their potential.
Andrew Moss, whose son Edward was diagnosed with profound hearing loss at birth, spoke at the lunch about his journey with a child who is deaf. Edward is learning to listen and speak with the aid of two cochlear implants.
“Edward is now almost three years old and is doing wonderfully well,” Andrew said.
“His speech is well above the average level of a hearing two year old which is truly amazing. We are so grateful for the support of RIDBC Hunter.”
Access to technology and skilled early intervention remain key to ensuring children with hearing loss reach their full potential. Newborns identified with hearing loss get the best possible start to life when they, and their families, receive immediate support and assistance through quality early intervention
“We are extremely appreciative of the support of Michael and Emile from the Jets in giving their time so graciously and for the ongoing support from the local community, which stays in the Hunter and supports local Hunter children,” RIDBC Hunter Relationships Executive, Grace McLean said.
“RIDBC Hunter relies significantly on fundraising and community support to be able to continue to make a difference in children’s lives and we are calling on more local businesses to get behind the initiative.”
About Andrew Moss and Edward
At just a few days old, Edward's hearing was routinely screened at the hospital where he was born. The result of the screening indicated that there was a problem. Following further testing, Edward was diagnosed with a bilateral profound sensorineural hearing loss.
“Though Edward was fitted with hearing aids from just a few weeks of age, it became clear that they were not giving him enough access to the speech sounds needed to develop language,” Andrew said.
“My wife and I decided that he would have the best chance of learning to listen and speak through cochlear implantation.”
“Edward had missed out on 10 months of the language and sounds around him that hearing children are exposed to, so he had a bit of catching up to do.”
Even with cochlear implants, children who are deaf must learn to understand the new sounds they hear. They have to learn how to interpret words and they have to learn to develop speech. This takes hard work from a dedicated family and specialist teachers and therapists.
“Edward is now almost three years old and is doing wonderfully well. His speech is well above the average level of a hearing two year old which is truly amazing.”