Im­plant changes Luke’s life

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Start­ing school is a mile­stone for any child, but for As­cot Park boy Luke Stade it was a life-defin­ing mo­ment.

Luke, 5, was pro­foundly deaf un­til a cochlear im­plant re­stored his hear­ing in one ear two years ago.

Since then his lan­guage de­vel­op­ment has caught up with other kids his age, and he proudly took his place at Rangikura School last week.

Luke’s mum Marcine Cooper says that af­ter years of strug­gle and pain, Luke start­ing school on a par with other five-year-olds means there is light at the end of the tun­nel for the fam­ily.

‘‘That was one of our fears, that he wouldn’t be able to start school with his peers, but he is able to. It’s very pleas­ing.’’

De­spite Luke’s dad Matt be­ing pro­foundly deaf, the cou­ple had no idea their son shared his dis­abil­ity un­til he was 18 months old, and his de­vel­op­ment was lag­ging.

He had been ap­pear­ing to re­spond to his par­ents’ speech and could say ba­sic words like ‘‘ bye bye’’, Ms Cooper says.

‘‘It was a bit of a shock but I think we just dealt with it how any par­ent would. Your child needs help and you do any­thing you in your power to help.’’

Within six months the fam­ily was fly­ing to Christchurch to have a cochlear im­plant fit­ted in Luke’s right ear, the first of 20 trips to Can- ter­bury that year as the im­plant was fine-tuned and ad­justed.

‘‘It was def­i­nitely a test­ing time,’’ Ms Cooper says.

‘‘It was prob­a­bly the long­est two hours of my life when he was in surgery.’’

The pay­off came when Luke fi­nally heard his mum’s voice for the first time.

‘‘That part of it was just the best. That re­ac­tion when he heard sound and he heard his mum, his face lit up.’’

Luke’s dad Matt Stade says Luke will breeze through school com­pared with his own dif­fi­cult ed­u­ca­tion.

‘‘I used to have a teacher aide with me the whole time but with Luke he’ll have a bet­ter life­style.’’

Mr Stade, a drain­layer, gets by with hear­ing aids, but is on the wait­ing list for a cochlear im­plant, which will make him a dif­fer­ent per­son, he says.

‘‘Hav­ing a hear­ing aid is like hav­ing a mi­cro­phone – there’s white noise, it picks up all the back­ground noise and some­times you don’t hear peo­ple talk­ing,’’ Mr Stade says.

‘‘It was hard for me, but with Luke he doesn’t have to have that.’’

Loud Shirt Day, on Fri­day, Septem­ber 21, funds post-surgery ther­apy for chil­dren with cochlear im­plants. It is a joint fundraiser by The Hear­ing House and the South­ern Cochlear Im­plant Pae­di­atric Pro­gramme. www.loud­shirt­day.co.nz

Loud and proud: As­cot Park’s Stade fam­ily, Luke, 5, dad Matt, brother Jay­den, 3, and mum Marcine Cooper are get­ting be­hind Loud Shirt day, which sup­ports kids like Luke who have had cochlear im­plants.

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