Charlotte Crutchington, Chair
Ian and I have 2 sons, Oliver, our eldest is profoundly deaf and uses cochlear implants.
Oliver was diagnosed as profoundly deaf at 6 weeks old and fitted with his first hearing aids at 11 weeks, he began assessment by Great Ormond Street Hospital for cochlear implants at 9 months and tests showed that he was receiving little benefit from the hearing aids and was a suitable candidate for implants. He had his surgery at 13 months and was switched on 2 weeks later, he showed no response to switch on but made good progress with listening and some progress with making sounds in the short term but as time went on he made slower progress than expected. However he continues to make progress which amazes us as parents and we are thrilled with everything he has achieved. I have been on the committee since April 2012 and love working with the younger children, especially arranging soft play events but seeing all ages together at our larger events is one of my favourite things about SDCS.
Kris Harvey, Vice Chair
Our son, Thomas was diagnosed at birth with a severe - profound hearing loss; he has been wearing hearing aids since he was 9 weeks old. Like many families we were really shocked to learn of his diagnosis, having had no experience with deafness before that. We opted for a natural aural approach and have focused heavily on speaking and listening with the support of places like The Elizabeth Foundation in Portsmouth. Thomas attends a mainstream junior school with a HI Unit. He clearly takes after me; he loves to talk...non stop! We love being a part of SDCS and we've made some lifelong friends through here.
Helen Le Page, Treasurer
I have two children, my eldest is profoundly deaf. She has bilateral cochlear implants (implanted quite late at five and six years old). My youngest has a severe loss and wears bilateral hearing aids. Although both aural, I felt it important to be one step ahead and signed with my daughter when she was a baby (I’m currently learning BSL level 3) now my daughter even helps teach sign in her HI unit at school to the teachers and six formers!
Both kids are very different but have both thrived going to a mainstream with HI unit school – the only downside… it’s 20 miles from home so I feel like I live on the A3 sometimes!
I feel privileged to say I'm the SDCS treasurer, after attending a ‘Family Signing’ course many years back. It was the best thing we ever did, as it opened up a whole new support lifeline and we have all met life-long friends through SDCS. I can’t emphasis enough how important it is to have friends with shared experiences to lean on. Plus the kids have fun at the events!
Xenia James, Secretary
I have three children; two boys aged and a girl. My younger son (William) was born hearing but suffered from Meningitis at 15 months and as a result was diagnosed deaf at 16 months. The diagnosis came as a shock as I had not noticed any signs that he was deaf, although his brother was not surprised and said it explained a lot about why William ignored him. I have a background in psychology and currently work as a Supply Teacher in KS1 and KS2 and also as a Home Care Assistant. I love social and outdoor events.
I have three children – my son, is profoundly Deaf and has bilateral cochlear implants. My daughters are both hearing. When my son was diagnosed Deaf at ten months old our first thought was to learn sign language and we found the SDCS and the family signing classes that were running at the time. Max still signs but since having implants his speech has developed so that he finds it difficult to stop talking! He now goes to a specialist school for Deaf children and is progressing well. We attended many events and made many new friends through the SDCS and now I have been chair of the charity for several years. I think it has proved very valuable to Max to make friends with other Deaf children and to meet Deaf adults who are good role models. It is also great to share experiences with other parents – and have a laugh and a moan!
My daughter is profoundly Deaf and has bilateral cochlear implants. It was a complete surprise to my husband and I to be told our daughter was profoundly deaf after she failed the new born screening hearing test as we have no deaf relatives or history of deafness on either side of our families. She was implanted at St. Georges Hospital at 11 months. We use total communication with our daughter and I have my BSL level 1. She enjoys singing and dancing much like most girls and being deaf is just another facet to who she is. She is currently attending a main stream infant school with a HI unit and is doing very well. We have found the SDCS a wonderful group of caring families who have been very supportive. The opportunities we have been given to learn more about deafness and seek advice from families who have been thorough similar has been invaluable. We have all made some great friends and have a lot of fun at SDCS events.