Erin was born at 25 weeks, weighing only 585 grams, and spent the first four months of her life in an incubator.
She was diagnosed with a profound bilateral sensori-neural hearing loss at 2 months of age and amplification began at 6 months. However Erin was not wearing her hearing aids on a full-time basis. She found them uncomfortable and kept pulling them off. She was attending speech therapy on a weekly basis.
Erin was referred to HI HOPES at 18 months of age. Our Parent Advisor (PA) began early intervention with the family. During her first few visits, she concentrated on the parents' concern for Erin banging her head. This seemed to be a way to get attention from those around her.
Our PA visited the family on a weekly basis, providing informational and emotional support to the family, as well as assistance with opening up communication between themselves and Erin. A language assessment was carried out every 4 months to assess Erin's language development (both receptive and expressive language).
Topics covered by the Parent Advisor in the home visits included:
- The three communication options (Spoken Language, Signed Language, SimComm) of which the family chose to use SimComm (signing and speaking);
- Hearing aids;
- Information on cochlear implants.
On 6th May 2009 Erin underwent surgery for a cochlear implant. She is responding well to the device and undergoes speech therapy twice a week.
Erin uses the following signs: FISH, BALL, KEY, PAPER, BIRD and BUNNY.
She also waves BYE-BYE, and has her own sign for DOG and FOOD.
She also uses some sounds and words, and turns to loud sounds and music, as well as when someone is knocking at the door. She points to her ear when she hears something.
Erin gets very excited when she sees her Parent Advisor and is the centre of attention during home visits. She points to things in the room and looks for information regarding what she is pointing to. She is very receptive to gestures, signs, words and actions.
Erin loves animals. She enjoys watching animals on television, looking through her animal picture book or having signs, words and sounds made while looking at her animal chart.
She enjoys playing with her shape sorter, scribbling on paper and playing with any toy that has flashing lights. As her vocabulary develops and her communication grows, Erin no longer finds the need to bang her head to get attention, thus providing much relief to her parents as they were worried she may injure herself.
Erin's parents have worked hard towards her development and will continue to do so as they can see how Erin is now responding and how her vocabulary is increasing on a daily basis.