Feb 2021 Wollondilly Advertiser
Archie Mason is just one Macarthur kid who is excited to start 'big school' this year. The Tahmoor six-year-old is also one of 53 children with hearing loss who will start kindergarten at mainstream schools across NSW. Archie was diagnosed with moderate hearing loss just before he turned three. He was given hearing aids in both ears and started visiting The Shepherd Centre for their early intervention services.
Archie was diagnosed with moderate hearing loss just before he turned three. He is excited to start school this year.
Archie's mother Emily Mason said the Shepherd Centre helped to give her son the confidence to start school this year. The Shepherd Centre has given Archie the hearing, listening and practical life skills he has needed to get him ready for school," she said. "As parents, we just want the best life for him and for him to have equal opportunity.” The excited youngster starts at Tahmoor Public School, where he will be joining his older sister Eliza and brother Teddy.
The Shepherd Centre chief executive Dr Jim Hungerford said it was incredible to see so many students on their way to reaching their full potential - something all children deserve regardless of their disability. "I cannot think of a better way to mark the beginning of a new year than recognising the exciting new chapter these children are embarking on," he said. "Many of these children were diagnosed with hearing loss shortly after birth, and so their first day of school is something that their families have been preparing for almost their entire lives. Especially after a particularly challenging year, we look forward to watching these children wow their teachers and classmates with their outstanding listening and language skills. Many people don't realise the remarkable future possible for people with hearing loss, but these children are sure to set these misconceptions straight."
Deafness is the most common disability among children in the western world. In Australia, the incidence rate rises from one in every 1000 babies at birth to one in 300 children by school age (due to acquired and developing hearing loss), 92 per cent of these children born to two hearing parents.