Dancing to the beat of his own drum
Kayte Murphy found out her baby boy Jack was deaf when he was just two days old.
Kayte Murphy, blogger at Woogs World, found out her baby boy Jack was deaf when he was just two days old.
“It was a terrible time,” Kayte says. “We didn’t know anything about hearing loss or deafness and we just assumed he was profoundly deaf and would need sign language.”
Determined to give him the best opportunities she could, Kayte and her husband took Jack to several audiologists who told them he had moderate hearing loss – and would need hearing aids.
They were referred to the Shepherd Centre, a charity organisation which helps deaf children develop speech, when Jack was just four months old.
By the time he was five he graduated with full speech - he’s now nine, and is thriving in a mainstream school.
“Sometimes I think they’ve taught him to talk too well because he won’t shut up.” Kayte jokes.
But the journey was long and hard.
“At first when I would take him to the supermarket and he had his hearing aids in, people would stare at me and I got so upset,” she says.
“So I had to get over myself which took a while I suppose.”
Kayte gave up her job and devoted her time to Jack’s development.
“I knew I had to give him those years to take him to appointments and speech therapy,” she says.
The family spent countless hours focused on weekly sounds taught by the Shepherd Centre.
“We’d have a pretty intensive session and I would take notes and go home and sit down with my husband and go through the homework,” says Kayte.
“We would just practice, practice, practice those sounds with Jack so by the time the next week came around we were ready to tackle the next little hurdle.”
It paid off.
Not only is Jack (pictured with mum Kayte below) speaking freely, he’s also a talented ballet dancer with a love of music.
“He does not stop dancing; he does not stop dancing ever,” says Kayte. “He’s very confident; he’s very much walking his own path and forging ahead.”
“He’s not your average boy. He likes dancing and ballet and fashion, he’s very much into theatre and performing and arts.”
Kayte says early intervention made all the difference to Jack and her family.
“I think the earlier you can get on with it the better, because even though they’re not speaking they’re picking up so many auditory cues and listening to language,” she says. “It’s vital to get onto it as soon as you can.”
Although everyone’s journey is different, Kayte’s advice is to stay positive.
“I think as long as you keep moving forward it doesn’t matter where you are as long as you don’t give up hope and think it’s all hopeless,” she says.
Kayte is now an ambassador for Loud Shirt day. On Friday 16th October 2015 businesses are encouraged to have staff wear t-shirts with crazy colours and slogans to raise money for organisations like the Shepherd Centre, which help deaf children speak.
“They just really care and really want kids talking and out in mainstream schools, just because you’re deaf it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything,” Kayte says.
“They run on the smell of an oily rag and I think it would be heart breaking if families didn’t have access to the service there.”