Girl's future on sound footing

FIVE-YEAR-OLD Layla Yateem (pictured) never ceases to amaze mum Emma Jackson with her determination to lead a normal life.

At six weeks old, the Prestons preschooler was diagnosed with moderate bilateral hearing loss, a congenital impairment missed on prenatal screening.

Luckily, the impairment was detected through the statewide Infant Screening for Hearing program, which along with early intervention gave Layla a great head start to a productive and socially engaged life.

On Friday, Layla graduated from the Shepherd Centre's early intervention program with age appropriate speech and language to begin her journey in "big school".

The Shepherd Centre taught her to listen and speak using her residual hearing and a listening device.

Ms Jackson said she was very proud of her daughter's achievements.

"These days, she doesn't stop talking," she said.

"Nothing holds her back. She can and will confidently go up to anyone and start asking them questions.

"It really is a tribute to the therapy she received at the Shepherd Centre that she can talk so well."

Ms Jackson said the most challenging part of Layla's condition was educating others about her impairment.

"People often assume that when a person wears a hearing aid, they are completely deaf," she said.

"Sometimes they ask a lot of questions and don't really understand, or they feel sorry for her, so what we try to do is educate them about the hearing device and I let Layla advocate for herself."

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