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Play it LOUD

TERRY KARATAU
Last updated 13:00 28/08/2012
brooklyn
LITTLE STAR: Brooklyn Taitimu is learning to play and sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. She is our Loud Shirt Day ambassador.
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Brooklyn Taitimu is learning to play and sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. She is our Loud Shirt Day ambassador.

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Central District Times

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Brooklyn Taitimu, who will be six next month missed out on so much of her early childhood days because she could not hear.

Thanks to a cochlear implant her hearing is restored and she is working hard to catch up to her peers with the help of Margie Wyatt who does remedial reading, and special needs teacher Elizabeth Cottrell who helps Brooklyn and is teaching her to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on the piano. The children of Waiouru School also take great care of Brooklyn.

Brooklyn's mum Nyre Grace Taitimu Swainson took her as a baby to a specialist in Palmerston North who put Brooklyn on a possible six-month waiting list to have grommets put in her ears. Ms Swainson's parents paid $2000 to go private and the grommets were inserted four weeks later.

“They didn't work,” Ms Swainson said. “The hearing aids she was given helped a little.”

When Brooklyn was 3 years old she was given an AVR test (inner hearing test), which found that her left ear was severe to profoundly deaf and the right ear completely deaf. Four months later she had the cochlear implant done in Christchurch.

“We learned to gesture a lot and taught Brooklyn to read our body language so you learn too,” Mrs Swainson said.

On November 23, 2010, now four years old, Brooklyn was "switched on" and it changed her life.

Her mother said she was very confused and scared at first. Brooklyn was suddenly hearing - everything.

“She used to watch cartoons on TV. After her implants she heard the voices and cried. She stood under a tree for a long time listening to birds.”

However she is now in control. She was growled at recently so she "sneakily" turned her ears off.

There are still visits to the Southern Cochlear Implant Paediatric Programme (SCIP) in Christchurch.

At first it was a monthly visit then every three months, six months and now once every year until Brooklyn is 18.

Mrs Swainson and Brooklyn are asking readers to join them in the Loud Shirt Day fundraiser to support deaf children on Friday September 21.

The theme is "Become a Hawaiian hero and help raise money for deaf kids in New Zealand", this gives the opportunity to wear a loud Hawaiian shirt, maybe have a luau at work or school plus Hawaiian pizza for lunch.

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Loud Shirt Day helps profoundly deaf children. Funds raised on the day help The Hearing House and the Southern Cochlear Implant Paediatric Programme to provide free therapy to deaf kids in the region where the funds are raised.

Loud Shirt Day also gives you a chance to wear your most outrageous bright shirt. Businesses and schools can register at loudshirtday.org.nz. They will receive a pack to help them make September 21 the brightest day of the year.

- Central District Times

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