The Little Things

Much needed speech and hearing therapy provides little Toby and his family the crucial help needed during his young developmental years.When Katrina took her four-week-old boy Toby for a routine hearing test in March 2013, she didn’t expect to be told, for the second time, that her child was deaf.

Katrina’s first born, Elijah, was diagnosed with bi-lateral profound sensorineural hearing loss in 2011 at six weeks old. Interestingly, neither parent carried the gene and so their chances of having another child with the same diagnosis were slim. Little did they know, their newborn would be facing the same future as Elijah.

Although her tears of shock flowed freely, Katrina was able to quickly take action and make crucial appointments, knowing all too well how to manage from previous experience. Toby was fitted with his Cochlear Implant one day before his first birthday. Katrina explains that while it enables Toby to hear, he still requires intensive speech therapy and regularly attends hearing tests. “Technology is amazing, but it can only do so much,” she says.

While the device makes life easier, Toby will always struggle in noisy situations and hearing over long distances. If he wakes in the middle of the night upset, Katrina struggles to soothe Toby without her words. And keeping track of the implant is another story. Lost a few times now, they are eventually found attached to toy trucks in the garden or hanging from a tree branch.

The little boy that loves playing in the dirt and the whispers of “twinkle, twinkle little star” sung by his mother show the true importance of therapy and aids. “Our only wish for Toby’s future is that he can be whatever he wants to be. To not be limited by his disability,” she says. ToyBox International sponsors both boys in attending Telethon Speech and Hearing for Audio-Verbal Therapy. “Early intervention is crucial in giving Toby the best start possible and the Gold Sponsorship allows him to have the intensive therapy he needs,” Katrina says.

Troy Barbagallo