A WHOLE family is taking steps to communicate with a profoundly deaf Gaywood toddler after taking a special course. Two-year-old Erin Vanhinsbergh’s mother Rachel Weir, grandmother Karen Wells and aunts Jenny Vanhinsbergh and Kelly Weir were taught how to “cue” on a course run by the Norfolk Cued Speech Group. Two of them have already gone on to a higher-level course and more members of the family plan to learn later. Erin was diagnosed as profoundly deaf by doctors when she was just one and underwent surgery last June to improve her hearing.
Surgeons placed a cochlear implant in her ear, a sophisticated device that converts noise into electric currents which the brain understands as sound.
Mrs Weir (22), of Thoresby Avenue, Gaywood, said: “It was terrible at the time of the operation but she is now much more confident and is learning to speak.”
“It’s been fantastic having the family learn because so much responsibility falls on the mother. Now the whole family can pull together and are able to understand Erin.”
The family members were joined on the course by Amanda Castleton, a learning support assistant at Lynn’s Greyfriars Primary School in London Road, who was supporting a severely-deaf child.
Julie Carter, education officer for the Norfolk Cued Speech Group, said: “It was wonderful to have so many members of one family supporting a child.
“Cued speech is a simple sound-based system. Using eight different handshapes in four positions around the mouth it is possible to show all the sounds of speech and therefore give full access to spoken language.”