More than 90 per cent of deaf children are born to hearing parents, who often have no prior knowledge of the complex world they’ve been thrust into, SBS News reports.
Natasha and Marc Kenney’s first daughter Amelie was born deaf, and their first reaction was shock.
“It’s like being in a newborn bubble and enjoying your first moments with your baby, and then all of a sudden that bubble bursts,” Natasha told host Kumi Taguchi on this week’s episode of Insight.
“I thought: wow, she won’t hear me say, ‘I love you’. Laughing together, talking – what does that mean for school and reading?”
After weighing their options, the family decided to start auditory/verbal therapy at the Hear and Say center near their home in Brisbane, Australia. Amelie received a cochlear implant at the age of seven months, along with intensive therapy to learn to listen and speak.
Amelie and her younger brother Xavier, who is also deaf, are now seven and five years old and have started at a mainstream school, where they keep up with their peers. Dr. Dimity Dornan, the founder of Hear and Say, said this is possible for most deaf children, provided they start therapy as early as possible – ideally at birth.
But some deaf people see cochlear implants as unnecessary, even ableist, implying that deaf people needed to be ‘fixed.’