Friday, January 22, 2010

Program to Teach Deaf Children to Speak New To Wichita

Program to Teach Deaf Children to Speak New To Wichita

For toddlers, new words are a milestone.

But to Annabelle Ivy's parents, they're more like a miracle.

"There's just work all the time. It's a daily 24/7 working with her," says Steve Ivy.

Born deaf, 19-month-old Annabelle learns to speak at weekly therapy sessions after receiving a cochlear implant last year.

But until a few months ago, this kind of therapy wasn't available in Wichita.

"We've talked about it and you might have to move to another city," says Steve Ivy.

Auditory-Verbal Therapy is new to Via Christi and the Ivy's.

It works with children hard of hearing or deaf who depend on hearing aids or cochlear implants.

"We just have to provide different therapy to these kids who are dependent on technology," says Molly Lyon.

The sessions teach Annabelle not only to speak but listen without depending on sign language.

Beginning with syllables then moving to words and sentences.

"Hopefully if we're successful, the kids are conversing over the telephone," says Lyon.

Parents are taught the skills and teach their own children.

"We do not want to work from a remedial point of view anymore, we don't want to play catch up. we're taking these babies and trying to maintain them at their skill level," says Lyon.

Annabelle is still ten months behind toddlers her age, but her parents already see changes.

"I feel like she's taken off by leaps and bounds," says Kristen Ivy.

"We're just hopeful that it will keep rolling and she'll exceed her age expectations," says Kristen Ivy.

Just as important, the Ivy's don't have to leave to get Annabelle help.

"Now we have a home for her," says Kristen Ivy.

A physicians order and insurance referral is required for third-party reimbursement.

Parents may call Via Christi One Call Center at 316-268-8100.

The program is located at Via Christi Hospital-St. Francis.

For additional information call Molly Lyon at 316-268-8243.