Confidence grows as Cindy’s language develops
Neptune Ren and Tracy Zhu say watching their daughter’s language progress makes all the hard work and tough decisions worth it.
Cindy was born in China in February 2015 and after a number of tests the family was told the youngster’s hearing was normal.
They moved to New Zealand in 2016 and the following year Cindy’s kindergarten teacher pointed out that she wasn’t responding when her name was called from a distance.
After undergoing more tests Cindy’s hearing loss was confirmed in February 2018 – Cindy had a severe hearing loss in her right ear and a profound hearing loss in her left ear.
Neptune says the news filled them with “despair” because they were “worried about her future”.
Cindy wore hearing aids for 6 months but it was discovered Cindy has Large Vestibular Aqueduct Syndrome (LVAS) – a structural deformity of the inner ear, which means any hearing she does have would disappear in the future.
“Cochlear implants were the only way to help Cindy,” Neptune says.
Going ahead with cochlear implants was a difficult decision for the couple to make because they were worried about her having surgery.
“But we saw children at The Hearing House and how well they had recovered after getting their cochlear implants which encouraged us to make this step.”
Cindy had surgery in September 2018 and with the expertise of the Audiologists and teachings of the Auditory-Verbal Therapists, who coach the parents in the hard work that needs to be happening at home, Cindy is progressing well.
“We’ve been taught a lot of games to help Cindy learn more English, grammar and vocabulary. They’ve shared a lot with us about how we can teach Cindy at home.”
Cindy also speaks a Shanghai dialect and she’s learning Mandarin.
Neptune says it’s been wonderful to see the four-year-old’s social circles grow as her language skills have developed.
“Cindy was always playing alone and seldom communicated with other children, now she is very active in the classroom and she’s made many friends in preschool.
“She feels more confident in listening to other people and expressing her thoughts.”
Neptune says Cindy has adjusted well to her cochlear implants and treats them as part of her body.
“We hope Cindy will live a happy life and she can do everything she wants to do such as playing, studying and listening to music.”
Neptune says Loud Shirt Day is about raising awareness of hearing loss amongst children and raising money so that deaf children get the help they need.
“When we see Cindy making progress with her language we feel that everything we did for her was worth it.”