Five-year-old Valentino Bartuccio is getting ready to educate his buddies at kindy about what it means to live with hearing loss – and he’s asking them to wear ear muffs to help him do it.
Valentino has worn hearing aids since he was six weeks old when he went straight to an early intervention program tailored especially for him by expert therapists at NextSense.
His mum Jocelyn has seen the benefits of early action first-hand.
For children with hearing loss, early intervention makes a big difference to speech and language development long-term. And Jocelyn wants all families to know that help is out there.
This Loud Shirt Day on 20 October, she has organised for Valentino’s friends to wear ear-muffs so they can experience a total lack of sound and understand how Valentino feels without his hearing aids.
Valentino can’t wait to talk to his friends about what they think of their ear-muffs, and to explain how his hearing aids and his speech therapy have helped him manage in the classroom.
20 October is Loud Shirt Day across the nation. It’s all about wearing your wackiest shirt to celebrate, increase community awareness about hearing loss and raise critically important funds so children like Valentino can get the support they need – not just when they are babies and toddlers but through all their years of schooling and into adulthood.
With the right support, children can reach their potential.
It’s vital that families are at the centre of services so they can navigate the system and have therapy tailored to their child’s individual needs.
'Our family lives in the Penrith area so we have access to every service. Right from the beginning, we have been able to choose from an incredible range of services with the help of a whole range of experts who have picked our family up and shown us the way to give Valentino every opportunity.
'The NextSense services have really worked for Valentino, to the point where he will start school next year – and he is set up to attend any mainstream school. He does not need a school specialising in hearing loss because of the efforts of everyone on his team - medical staff, speech therapists, audiologists, teachers of the deaf.
— Jocelyn Bartuccio
The support for our family has been such a gift.
'I am concerned that there may be families out there who have a new baby with a hearing loss diagnosis who are simply not aware of the help they can get – and how easy it is to get the services their child will need.
'That’s why we are fundraising for NextSense on 20 October. To help this life-changing organisation reach out to even more children like Valentino.'
You can help Valentino and Jocelyn raise funds by donating to their Loud Shirt Day page.