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Early intervention helps Alexis to hear

SUPPORT GROUP: Hear and Say listening and spoken language specialists Katie Smith and Jessica Balfour-Ogilvy with Kirsty and Alexis Powell, 3, during one of their Gladstone visits.
SUPPORT GROUP: Hear and Say listening and spoken language specialists Katie Smith and Jessica Balfour-Ogilvy with Kirsty and Alexis Powell, 3, during one of their Gladstone visits. Tegan Annett

ALEXIS Powell is a bubbly three year old who loves pepper pig, pink and playing with her toys.

But without one small device, Alexis would be a very different little girl.

The three year old has been wearing a cochlear ear implant since she was one.

She has severe hearing loss.

Without the device she would have little to no hearing.

But through language and speech therapy, she's achieved a level of speaking and listening comparable with the average for a child her age.

Mum Kirsty Powell does regular activities with Alexis to improve her speaking and listening.

She also meets with Hear and Say specialists from Brisbane four times a year.

Kirsty found out that Alexis, her second child, had hearing problems when she was three weeks old.

"It was really shocking, because you just don't really think about what's going to happen if your child has a disability.

"I wasn't devastated, I knew she would still have a normal life," she said.

What followed was many appointments and tests.

Hear and Say clinical manager Jessica Balfour-Ogilvy said Alexis was another example of how early intervention can help the long term development of a child.

Ms Powell said her overall goal was to get Alexis to a mainstream school.

The mother of two has also taken it upon herself to help other families going through similar circumstances.

She's created a Facebook page, Cochlear Kids Australia.

The page connects mums and dads with children with hearing loss --- where they share information and stories.

Topics:  cochlear implant, hearing



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