Family Stories: Harrison's Story
"Our son Harrison was born in Hong Kong in March 1997. By February 1998 our doubts and concerns were confirmed: little Harry was profoundly deaf. After trying hearing aids without success, he was implanted in August 1998.
After switch on the issue of how we could develop our relationship with Harrison through an effective communicating technique came to the fore. The Auditory Verbal strategy became known to us, and we flew to Australia to learn more. We were hooked! It offered a sensible and constructive method of teaching a baby about the sounds around him and turning this awareness into words through play.
Harrison is now three and a half years old, and talking in simple sentences. He is attending mainstream kindergarten and he has been accepted to start a mainstream private school next September.
Auditory Verbal therapy has brought us as Harrison's parents into the forefront of his support team. Indeed we have found that we are the most critical element. How we go about our daily life, and how we integrate Harrison into it through example, modeling discussion, description and reviews of his comprehension, build on the foundation provided by the Auditory Verbal Therapist.
For a child like Harrison, issues of good behaviour, problem solving and taking responsibility, are critical building blocks for later life. It is so easy to forget these important areas of learning and let our profoundly deaf child's discipline slip. In Auditory Verbal Therapy these areas are highlighted and they have helped us tremendously to ensure Harrison is no different from any other child and learns to make the most of every opportunity that life offers.
However, on paper all this sounds wonderful, but putting it into reality is another story! For the results every parent dreams for, it requires dedication and discipline not only from the parents, but a therapist who has to guide and support all aspects of the process into a formula which can be easily practiced by each individual family.
Hong Kong has limited support facilities and we seek every chance we have to meet people around the world who can help us to move on, and help Harrison. As Auditory Therapists are still few and far between it is not very difficult to locate them!
Our summer leave in the Year 2000 was spent in England, and Jacqueline Stokes came to the rescue to help us in every way she possibly could and fulfill each and every one of our dreams. We had a fabulous time learning new teaching techniques and discover the things that Harrison found most difficult as well as the things he has achieved and could apply with ease.
Jacqueline made life fun for us all and took the stresses and strains out of the reality of our situation. Harrison could not wait to go to see Jacqueline each morning and he had absolutely no idea he was being taught, tested, and pushed to his limits. We were able to return to Hong Kong with more confidence and ready to move on and help Harrison in every way possible to learn to listen, talk and integrate just as any other child his age would do.
We find a lot of the techniques do not come to us naturally and we have to learn to be more communicative and apply the goals for our week with purpose and repetition in a new framework. It becomes much easier especially when the rewards of the hard work start being seen. It is simply magical.
Harrison is certainly not a fluent language speaker for his age of three and a half. However, he can talk with confidence in short meaningful sentences for everyone to comprehend, he can problem solve and work out his own agenda. He is truly a dream come true for our family!"