April 2019 Scottish Daily Record
A Dumfries tot who was born profoundly deaf can now hear - and has spoken for the first time.
Little Robyn Boyd, who could not communicate with her parents for nearly two years, has endured countless hospital tests and procedures since birth. Mum Megan Lindsay and dad Sam Boyd feared their baby would never be able to hear them say “I love you” or hear Robyn speak at all.
Megan, 25, admitted that the first year of Robyn’s life was “extremely emotional” and “worrying”.
But her life has been transformed after she underwent surgery to have a cochlear implant.
“I was ecstatic,” said Megan. “It was lovely because, as a parent of a deaf child, you don’t know if they will ever be able to speak - even with the cochlear implant. “I remember the moment so clearly. I was reading Robyn a story and she was sitting on the couch cuddling her doll. “I said to her, ‘is baby listening to the story too?’ “And Robyn just started saying ‘baby, baby, baby’. “The progress she’s made has been amazing. She can say 12 words now, such as ‘mama’, ‘dada’, ‘thank you’, ‘nana’, ‘papa’, and ‘cat’. “She even says her older sister Stella’s name and is always looking for her all the time and following Stella around.” Robyn, who attends Kids Ahoy Nursery, can now hear people talking to her and, although her health improvements are gradual, medics are stunned at the progress she’s made so far.
Little Robyn Body pictured with dad Sam, mum Meghan and sister Stella; Robyn has started to speak after being able to hear for the first time
Robyn was born in February 2017 in Dumfries, and within four hours it was identified she had serious hearing problems. A series of tests were done in hospitals in Dumfries and Glasgow and by the time she was eight weeks old doctors diagnosed Robyn as profoundly deaf. It was a shock for parents Sam and Megan, whose eldest child Stella has no health issues. Megan said: “We don’t have hearing problems in either side of the family and, because she was so young, we didn’t have any deaf awareness. “We didn’t know if Robyn would ever be able to talk, we didn’t know if she’d be able to communicate with friends and so we were worried about how she would cope in the future. “It was a really stressful time with a lot of worry.” The couple were given plenty of support, with an audiologist in Dumfries and family support worker Alison Hogg. Dumfries Deaf Society and the National Deaf Children’s Society also provided invaluable support, helping in the fairly lengthy process for Robyn to receive a cochlear implant operation. Aged 13 months, little Robyn underwent implant surgery on March last year at Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock .
Megan said: “That operation was the longest six hours of my life. “It was a difficult experience and I wouldn’t wish that on any parent. “Sometimes videos on YouTube make it out that the operation always produces this magical moment where people can hear for the first time. “But a deaf child has no experience of what sound is like. “For that reason, the implant sound is switched on very low too so the child can adapt and not get frightened. “But we had several special moments in the months that followed when Robyn started reacting to sounds, she began developing and began saying those first words. “She is making progress really fast, and it’s really on us now to keep communicating with her as much as possible to continue that.”
In the past six months, Robyn has also been learning with the support of teacher Elma McCutcheon. Megan said: “Elma is fantastic and is very supportive of Robyn and the family. She also supports Robyn’s nursery to enhance her development. “She’s the only full-time teacher of the deaf in Dumfries and Galloway and works really hard.”