What’s the problem?
Finding out that your baby is deaf can be devastating? In Russia, there is still a great deal of stigma surrounding disability, which can make it worse. Without support and information parents can become depressed and their relationship with their child suffers. Without early help, children with a hearing impairment may never reach their potential.
How do we help?
St Gregory’s has provided specialist equipment so that hearing loss can be diagnosed in the youngest babies in St Petersburg. This makes it possible for families to get support as early as possible from two organisations in the city that we sponsor.
The Club for hearing impaired children and their families runs three groups for pre-school children from as young as four month. It is a friendly, welcoming place, where children are helped to communicate, whether by signing and/or speaking. Their development is nurtured through music and play. Their parents can find out what their child can do, not just what their limitations are. The parents are wonderful at supporting each other, and passing on what they have learnt at the Club to other families in the same situation.
“I Can Hear You” is a relatively new charity, set up in St Petersburg by energetic parents with hearing impaired children. They use the internet, theatre shows and meetings to raise awareness, provide information and advocate for families with hearing impaired children. Most importantly they give hope.
These organisations work miracles. Thanks to them, children are getting the appropriate hearing aids or cochlear implants to help them hear. Thanks to them toddlers are learning to talk and going on to attend mainstream kindergartens and school.