Our son was born at Mount Elizabeth hospital in Singapore. As part of Singapore’s Universal New Born Hearing Screening program he underwent the hearing screening and ‘failed’.
We were given assurances by the nursing staff that this was common especially if the baby is ‘sleepy and jaundiced’. We took our baby boy home, content in the knowledge that all was well. Those first few weeks and months were busy but we did notice that our son would startle at loud noise (i.e., when the door banged or when there was thunder) and would stop feeding to ‘listen in’ when I was on the telephone.
Four months later we returned to the hospital to repeat the screening test. Our son failed this test a second time. Panic set in. That day in November was the beginning of a very anxious period. Can our son possibly have a hearing loss? New and foreign to Singapore, we struggled to find the answer.
In our panic and desperation to have our son hear, we rushed to the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York (part of North Shore LIJ Children’s Hospital).
We learned that our son had a moderate to severe, bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. Within three weeks of our arrival in New York, and at five month’s of age, our son began his ‘full-time’ wearing of hearing aids. Since that time we have dedicated ourselves to helping him listen, learn and speak.
The Inspiration For Singapore Little Hands Big Voices
In New York we met other parents with children who did not hear “typically”. We learned from them, were greatly encouraged by them and were awed by the communication skills of their children and the possibility of what might “be” for our son.
Our experiences abroad and our need to connect locally motivated us to start a parent support group here in Singapore. We struggled to establish a parent group but the site remained and we are committed to maintaining a site containing local, relevant information for parents of children that are deaf or hard of hearing in Singapore.
Singapore has excellent resources and skilled professionals that are dedicated to making a difference and helping our kids listen, learn and talk.
HELP US HELP OTHERS
We have chosen to focus on the availability of auditory verbal therapy resources in Singapore because this is what we have chosen for our son. We would be delighted to receive information from others on alternative communication options and local support services and resources. Please contact us with any relevant information.
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With the help of the many people that engaged with our son during those early days, we were able to achieve an optimism that I would not have thought possible. We think of you all often.