The American Cochlear Implant Alliance (ACI Alliance) recently profiled Neil Maes, an 11-year-old boy who was born deaf, but has worked hard to develop spoken language. His hearing loss was early identified, he was implanted early with cochlear implants, and he has been raised in a family that works hard to support his spoken language. In fact, his mastery of spoken language is so successful that in May 2016, Maes traveled from his home in South Carolina to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC.
According to Susan Thomas, MA, CCC-A, who interviewed Maes and his family for ACI Alliance, he was identified with a hearing loss through newborn hearing screening, fit with hearing aids early, and received his first cochlear implant at 11 months of age. His family worked with an auditory verbal therapist and utilized a parent-centered therapy approach that emphasized talking, listening, and play. He has two younger sisters; one is also a cochlear implant recipient.
Early identification and intervention for children with hearing loss can make a huge impact in helping a child reach his full speech, language, and social development potential, and ACI Alliance was excited to see first-hand what happens when the early intervention process is carried out the way it should be–as it was with Neil Maes. ACI reports that the Maes family is a wonderful example of how early intervention and detection leads to success. Please visit the ACI Alliance website to read the interview and all about the Maes family’s hearing journey and the importance of early intervention.
Source: ACI Alliance
Image credits: AG Bell; Scripps National Spelling Bee; Frances Parrish, Independent Mail