22 March 2021, By Poorna Prakash
Jema and Lexi’s Story
For Jema and her five year-old daughter Lexi, living in a regional area during a pandemic was no barrier to receiving support from early intervention service Hear for Kids.
Jema’s daughter Lexi was diagnosed with hearing loss during a hearing assessment in 2019, an experience which Jema describes as a bolt from the blue.
“I was shocked, initially,” Jema says, “but after I got over it I remember thinking right, we’re going to do what we need to do.”
After Lexi received a complex diagnosis including Global Developmental Delay, Jema began exploring her options.
Eventually, her search led to a referral for Hear for Kids, Deaf Services and the Deaf Society’s early intervention program. Jema says she knew the flexibility and individual service was a perfect fit almost straight away.
Today, Lexi receives support from Hear for Kids Speech Language Pathologist Nicole Zurillo via monthly face-to-face sessions in their home town of Mackay, as well as weekly ‘telepractice’ support over video call.
“I wasn’t sure how we’d go with telepractice at first,” Jema says, “but Lexi loves it. We get to use toys from home, stay in a familiar place, and I get to have a coffee while we’re doing it. It’s so good. I wouldn’t do it any other way!”
Lexi now primarily communicates in Auslan at school where she has just started Prep, and at home with the rest of the family.
“My partner and I do an Auslan course, and Lexi’s two younger brothers use it too – even our youngest who’s just turned one. I’d encourage anyone to learn.”
Jema says there has been no disruption to Lexi’s support throughout COVID, and the flexibility Hear for Kids offers is still something that gives her great peace of mind.
“The level of support has never, ever changed,” Jema says. “I would recommend Hear for Kids to anyone. One hundred per cent.”