Read Olivia's story
"Olivia was diagnosed with a hearing loss after failing her newborn hearing tests. This was a complete shock as no one in our extended family, in fact no one that we knew, was deaf.
Our local peripatetic Teacher of the Deaf was absolutely fantastic, making us aware of various different groups and organisations for deaf children and families, including The Elizabeth Foundation. At this early stage however I decided that the 1½ hour journey from home to the family centre, with a small baby was just too much; looking back, this is something I now wish I could change!
However, fast forward 18 months later and The Elizabeth Foundation came onto my radar again and this time I acted on it! Straight away we were welcomed into Nicki’s Toddler group with open arms. The knowledge that Nicki imparted to us (being both a professional and the mum of a deaf child herself) was second-to-none and the lessons were fun too – they included lots of ideas that we could take away and use at home with Olivia to improve her communication and confidence. The rest of the parents were really friendly too and we soon formed strong friendships. We were encouraged to raise any issues that we had (like keeping hearing aids in or discussing Cochlear Implant assessment) and discuss them in class as a group; it was normally the case that someone had been through exactly that issue before.
Olivia moved up to Rachel’s Preschool group after a year and started attending twice a week. She didn’t look back when I had to leave her for the sessions – and it was nice to finally have some ‘me’ time. Rachel and the team were always so happy and again, just like in the Toddler group, their knowledge was immense. They listened and acted upon any concerns we had and went above and beyond to help us with what was needed for Olivia’s development.
Once a month Julie, the CEO also ran parent information sessions – these were on a variety of different subjects, ranging from Emotional Literacy, writing an Education and Healthcare Plan (EHCP) and preparing your child for school. These were fantastic sessions where Julie would impart her knowledge, and other parents would share their stories too.
We have been unfortunate to end our Elizabeth Foundation journey during lockdown – but the education and family support has continued from the fantastic team. They have kept the curriculum ticking along, sending us practical learning activities to complete at home, with lots of hints and tips. We even managed to complete a Speech and Language session with therapist Charlotte via Zoom!
Olivia still has a long way to go to continue to improve her speaking and listening skills, but we are so very grateful for everything that everyone at The Elizabeth Foundation has done for her and our whole family. The Elizabeth Foundation really is her favourite place in the whole wide world!"
"Their knowledge was immense ... they listened and acted upon any concerns we had and went above and beyond to help us with what was needed for Olivia’s development..."