Our Club for children with impaired hearing and their parents has just celebrated its tenth birthday. For ten years we have been offering families help, support and friendship from the moment they discover their child's disability. For ten years we have been working to make sure that deaf toddlers don't miss out on learning to communicate.
At our party we were delighted to see children, who have already grown up and go to school, chat away, and use speech to communicate. Christina and Borya use speech and sign language. They go to school, as do Nikita and Yulia. Maxim, Makar and Seraphima all go to kindergarten. In the photos you can see how Nikita has grown up since he was a member of our Club. We also invited a group of folk musicians, he kept us all entertained.
We heard many kind words from the parents at the party. They spoke about how important it was for them to come to the Club, to be able to meet other parents in the same situation as well as specialists, and to be able to share experiences, receive support and become more confident in raising their child.
Thank you all for your support. Here's to the next ten years!
P.S. Would you like to help us prepare for the next Global Giving bonus day on May 7th? If you have 20 minutes to spare and would like to get more involved, please e-mail Sarah Gale on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arina is now two years old. She is a wonderful, active little girl. She shows a lot of initiative when she is playing and tries to do everything independently. She is trying to talk and also uses sign language. Arina likes all our activities, both the music and the games. She gets involved with everything and also helps the other children, especially her friend Yegor.
Arina and Yegor are wonderful children. Today they came to the Club in their best clothes because they wanted to have their photo taken for you. We look forward to watching Arina progress and giving her the opportunities she needs to take her place in society.
I remember the first time Misha's family came to our support group. He was eight months old then, and had only just started wearing a hearing aid. His mum called them headphones and couldn't believe that her son really couldn't hear anything.
Mishutka is the long-awaited third child in his family and is very loved. His mum herself used to work with visually impaired children as a teacher. We could see how sensitively and affectionately she interacted with her son, and in return he would smile at her with his wide-eyed look. But he didn't talk at all.
Summer passed and autumn was making itself felt.
The group started meeting again and again we saw Misha and his family. This wide-eyed boy had grown up a lot over the summer and he had also had a cochlear implant fitted. Now he turns round when you call him, even if you just whisper. True, he finds it difficult to locate where the sound is coming from, but that can be learnt. Mishka babbles away a lot now and laughs out loud! At the club he really likes to play with his brother and with the other children and absolutely loves all the different musical instruments!
With your help we've been running not one but two support groups for children with hearing impairments in St Petersburg. As we enjoy our summer holidays, I wanted to tell you about some of the successes we've had in the last six months.
One of our babies is 10 months old. She has two cochlear implants, which can help replace lost hearing sensations. At first these weren't adjusted correctly and she would flinch at loud noises. We adjusted it, but then she stopped reacting to speech. Third time lucky! Now with the correct adjustment she has started to talk.
Vova, Philip and three of their friends are now able to recognise songs in our music sessions and move to the music.
Our toddlers are also doing well. They can say short words like "da" (yes) and "dai" (give me).
One of our mums came to us when her baby was very little, straight after she had been told her baby had a hearing impairment. She was having trouble accepting this diagnosis, but with support from our leaders and the other parents, she is coming to terms with it.
Lastly, the children in our photo will all be joining mainstream kindergartens next year.
Congratulations to all our children who have made such great progres. Thank you to everyone who has helped them along the way.
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