Leo and his family are supported by RIDBC Remote Services, allowing him to access the support he needs, from speech pathology to reading assistance, via video conferencing in his home. “Having support at home makes things much easier for Leo. He can concentrate and focus – he’s going so well and has really come a long way,” Jason says
Leo’s Teacher of the Deaf at RIDBC, Tim Byatt, says the sessions are about confidence as much as communication. “Our sessions with Leo are about increasing his ability to interpret high frequency sounds that can be hard to hear, broadening his vocabulary and developing social communication skills, such as storytelling. Much of this is about building not only the tools but the confidence to advocate for himself in any setting.
“By delivering the services in-home, we can involve his family in the sessions and help him embed these skills in daily life, at home and at school,” Tim explains. “It also means the sessions fit in with his school, sporting, and family commitments so that they become part of his life, not a disruption to it.”
Jason adds, “What has also been great for us is the way everyone has worked together, from the hospital to RIDBC and his teachers at school and karate. Leo has a team in his corner.”
It’s clear, though, that his biggest supporter of all is Jason, who never stops looking for ways to support Leo’s goals.
Leo recently made the transition from primary to high school, where he attends a local, mainstream school that also offers a class for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Jason says this class complements the support Leo gets from RIDBC and is helping him to build life skills beyond the classroom. “They help him understand how to tell others what he needs, how to do everyday things with hearing loss, and as he gets older, they’ll find work experience for him to try working in an area he is interested in.”
As for what that interest is, Jason says that, like most kids, Leo’s plans change regularly. “Sometimes it’s working in video games or on YouTube, or being a police officer, a whole heap of things,” he laughs. “But whatever he decides to do, I have no doubt he’ll find his place in the world.”