Selena and Hailey, please accept my most heartfelt thank you for sharing yourselves and your story with anyone reading this blog. The beginning of this video is very emotional for me because I know how frustrating it is for Jordan to try to communicate without his processor on...he can't hear, so processing a verbal message is more difficult. Seeing Hailey struggle the first minute, seems like it lasts an hour. People viewing this, consider that this a realistic glance into our family lives and how we help our kids understand that deafness is a part of who they are and that they need to speak up for themselves, using words to explain their needs. We teach them that it is okay to ask for help. Lovin' the bling-bling on the aids! Believe it or not, this is my first time viewing a child with hearing aids signing...GO HAILEY!!
Hailey was born on March 22, 2002. She was tested while at the hospital and passed her newborn hearing screen. Hailey is the youngest of 4 children: she has a sister Ashley who is 10, and two brothers Derek, 8 and Andrew,6. Both of Hailey's brothers as well as Hailey were diagnosed at a young age with Sensory Integration Dysfunction. Sensory Integration Dysfunction has been known to be the cause of speech delays in many children. Like her brothers, Hailey had many speech delays which were attributed to her sensory issues; it wasn't until November of 2004, that a Speech Therapist suggested to us that Hailey's speech issues might be something more then just a manifestation of her sensory issues. On December 6, 2004, after a sedated ABR, we were informed that Hailey had a bilateral Sensory Neural hearing loss. At that point in time she was considered to have a mild to moderate hearing loss. On March 4, 2005, eighteen days before she turned 3, Hailey was bilaterally aided.
At that time Hailey had only about 4 words in her vocabulary that were understandable, Mama, Dada, cup, and no, so we chose a Total Communication approach. We've spoken, signed, gestured, pointed at pictures, anything we could do to help build communication. In April of that same year, Hailey started attending a hearing impaired preschool 3 times a week and went to a special speech class the other 2 days of the week. Now at almost 6 yrs old, Hailey attends a General Education Kindergarten Classroom in the morning where she is with 2 other deaf students she knows and has an interpreter in her classroom at all times. Hailey stays at school, eats lunch with her peers and then attends an intensive Hearing Impaired program in the afternoons, where she gets extra help with reading. They also work on her speech and signing skills.
Today Hailey is a very normal 5 yr old girl, she has deaf, as well as hearing friends, and has age appropriate skills in school. She's mainly a verbal kid, choosing to use her voice most of the time to communicate, but still relies on American Sign Language to help fill in when she doesn't understand what she hears.
Since her original diagnosis, it has been confirmed that Hailey suffers from an autoimmune disorder known as Auto-Immune Inner Ear Disease. If you know who Rush Limbaugh is, this is the same thing he has. Currently Hailey's hearing loss is classified as moderate to severe. It is not known to us how fast she will lose the rest of her hearing but we know and expect that there will come a day when Hailey is profoundly deaf. For this reason we chose to say that she is deaf, because for her and our family that is the reality of it, Hailey is deaf. Without her aides she doesn't hear much, and what she can hear she can't make much sense of.
Hailey is an amazing child, she's grown by leaps and bounds. She surprises us everyday with the things she says, especially since we were told by many doctors and therapists not to get our hopes up when it came to her speech. We've put no limits on Hailey when it comes to her deafness and I think it shows, and I believe that this is only the beginning for her.