Stefani once lived in a world filled with sounds...
her grandmother’s goodnight whisper as she tucked her into bed, her older brother’s teasing tone, the whoosh of cars speeding past .. Hearing aides, paired with the cochlear implants, were this shy 7-year old’s means of communicating with the world around her. In one day, that world fell silent and Stefani soon stopped speaking. While on the school playground she removed her hearing aids, perhaps at a classmate’s request. Some of the children grabbed them and Stefani’s lifeline was destroyed. Growing up in a rural village about 20 km from the Vibrant Kids Holistic Center, Stefani lives with her grandmother and brother. Their home is in one of the poorest parts of the E.U. and Stefani was extraordinarily lucky to have gotten the cochlear implants. But there is no money for another set of properly fitting hearing aide that will work with her implants. Stefani has developmental disabilities, which are an additional hurdle as she copes with the loss of hearing. It’s been over a year since the hearing aides were broken and Stefani, who was once a happy child, has become withdrawn and nearly mute. No longer able to attend public school, Stefani stayed at home with her grandmother until the family learned about Delia's Friends Learning Center. Our team has sought to encourage her to participate in group activities and to engage her interest in learning.
The town Social Services Department has sent Stefani for sign language lessons rather than pay for new hearing aids. Perhaps this is because of the expense. Or perhaps it is because children with developmental, intellectual and physical disabilities are marginalized in Romania.
Our goal is to get appropriate hearing aides for Stefani and then employ a speech therapist to assist her in learning to speak again. With these steps, our teachers can then provide additional educational assistance. With the proper support, Stefani can return to public school and return to being a happy, communicative child with a bright future.