A new life for Lucas

After suffering life threatening meningitis in the early years of his life Lucas lost the hearing in his left ear.

Before his hearing impairment, Lucas was a happy, thriving child who would babble away to anyone- he was just finding his feet and his vocabulary. His parents Damien and Tamara thought he was developing perfectly.

“It was such a traumatic thing to go through, we thought we were going to lose him, and then when we found out about his hearing loss, we were grieving all over again,” says Tamara.

Lucas has a unilateral hearing loss which means he is deaf in one ear. This type of loss is something that can happen gradually or like Lucas, unexpected and suddenly because of disease or injury.

“We took a different child home from the hospital that day, where had our Lucas gone, and how could we get him back?”

It was recommended that Lucas wear a hearing aid in his left ear to assist him to use what little was left of his hearing.

“There was a great initial improvement in him, Can:Do 4Kids were supporting us with early intervention, helping us with his behaviour and he was also receiving speech therapy - he was responsive in ways he wasn’t before” adds Tamara.

This wasn’t enough for Lucas. As he was getting older he needed more input from his environment, he was getting extremely frustrated with his inability to communicate and participate fully amongst his siblings and peers. His verbal development was very low and his parents were tired of being told ‘he has one good ear, he will be fine’….because Tamara and Damien knew their child was not fine!

The little verbal language Lucas did have was with a lisp, and his frustration with not being able to communicate was being launched at his parents with bouts of physical and disruptive behaviour. It was time to fight for an alternative solution to enhance Lucas’ quality of life.

With dad Damien using a wheelchair and mum Tamara having cerebral palsy, they were terrified to leave the house with Lucas.

Providing therapy in the home is vital for Tamara and Damien, their own conditions mean that transport can be challenging. Can:Do 4Kids Speech Therapist Jo says, “Not only are home visits vital for families who have challenging transport circumstances, they allow for better upskilling of parents, setting up of the home to be more accommodating to a child’s needs and the ability to use the toys and resources in therapy that children have already at home - all resulting in better therapy outcomes.”

Tamara adds “fighting for an auditory discrimination test was an uphill battle, but it was what I had to do, I knew that a cochlear implant would improve his life and as a parent, we have to advocate for our child’s best life and safety.

Discrimination testing is a technique used to determine whether there is a detectable difference between two or more products, in Lucas’ case a difference in response between his hearing aid and cochlear implant technology.

With the support of Can:Do 4Kids Lucas was fitted with a cochlear implant in November 2017.

“From the moment it was switched on I had Lucas back, my bright bubbly child instantly returned and his behaviour dramatically changed.”

Now, with two good ears, and thanks to Can:Do 4Kids Lucas will start school and not be disadvantaged, he will be at the same development level as his peers and he will not get left behind.