Singing toddler is music to mum’s ears
Before Matilda Crompton learnt to speak, she learnt to make people laugh.
“Very early on she realised she could make her big sister laugh by making funny faces,” says mum Elsa Palmer. “She learnt to make us all laugh before she could talk.”
The sprightly three-year-old is deaf and has had hearing aids for just over a year.
“In the last year she’s made huge improvements. It’s really been a transformation.”
When Matilda was born she failed the newborn hearing screening. Elsa, who is French, and her husband John Crompton, a Kiwi, took their daughter to a number of tests in an effort to diagnose her level of deafness.
A test carried out under general anaesthetic when Matilda was two, confirmed she had a moderate hearing loss.
“She wasn’t talking a lot and she was hard to understand,” Elsa says.
“On the day she got hearing aids, she sung for the first time. It was very moving. It was like she had discovered her voice. It confirmed she really needed hearing aids.”
Elsa says when Matilda was born and they learnt that she is deaf things were quite overwhelming for the family.
“We were worried. It was all a big unknown, we didn’t know what it meant and what it would look like for her.
“But we also knew we’d deal with it and make it work.”
Elsa says a turning point for the family came when they were referred to other organisations for support.
One of those was The Hearing House.
“As a parent you always believe in your child. But now we had someone that also believed our child could talk. It was very empowering to have someone, who is not your family, believe in your child as well.”
Once the confident youngster got her hearing aids, the hard work began.
“A lot of people think you put hearing aids on and that your problems are sorted. But it’s not like that. It takes a lot of effort to make progress.
“The Hearing House has given us tips and tools to model language. Everything that The Hearing House has given us has been achievable.”
Elsa says Matilda took a long time to start talking which caused her a lot of frustration.
However, with the help of Auditory-Verbal Therapist Renique Tenhagen, Matilda is learning to speak more clearly – in English and French.
“Everything that we’ve been doing with Renique is really age appropriate. It feels like a really tailored approach that looks at what Matilda needs.”
Renique says once the resourceful and determined youngster received her hearing aids her vocabulary increased.
“She is talking more which is a great sign that the hearing aids are giving her better access to the listening world and a positive sign for language growth and development,” Renique says.
Elsa says her and John, who also have a 4-year-old daughter named Louise, have high hopes for Matilda.
“She can do anything she wants. We don’t feel her hearing loss will hinder her in the future. She has so many options.
“We hope she will be just as vivacious as she is now.”