Dennis' Story involves an Aboriginal/First Nation family living in a rural and remote community. Dennis' parent shares more about his unilateral hearing.
We live in a remote community of Bella Bella (Heiltsuk), in the North Central Coast of British Columbia. The only means of transportation out of our village is by air flight or ferry.
Our third child Dennis was born in 2008. He was delivered at 34 weeks, and weighed 5lb 13oz. We were informed by hearing screening that he may have a hearing loss. We did not know what to think at that time. When he was a couple of months old we visited BC Children’s Hospital and it was confirmed that he has a severe to profound unilateral hearing loss in his left ear. After that we travelled to BC Children’s Hospital every four months for follow-up visits for Dennis. His visits were all well, with no concerns or changes in his hearing, so now the visits are once every year, but could possibly change.
When Dennis was a baby, I did not connect with early intervention services right away, as I wanted to enjoy my newborn. When Dennis was eight months old I decided to find out more about outreach services, and it was the best thing I could have done for him, given that we don’t have these resources in our community. The service provider observed and assessed him to see where he was at, and gave us tools to help Dennis as he was growing. She helped us develop speech and language goals to focus on, and gave us “to do” lists. Now I wish we had connected with early intervention services right away because it was very helpful and reassuring!
Things have developed well over the years with Dennis. We put him in a program that is run in our community for children aged 0-3 years. That advanced him, and then he went to daycare and preschool. Dennis will begin Kindergarten this September.
Although he is still working on some speech sounds and expanding his vocabulary, Dennis has come far considering where we are situated. He has received help from a Speech-Language Pathologist that travels in to Bella Bella quarterly.
Dennis is a very happy, content, observant young boy who likes to explore everything. The support that we have been offered along the way has helped us and has made a big difference in Dennis’ life. We work together with his teachers and professionals, observing him as he learns and grows. Our hope for the future is that Dennis always understands that he can ask for help if and when he needs it – and we will be there to support him.