Amaya, 7, attended DCA’s Family Camp in October 2017 with mum Renee, dad and little sister. Renee explained how they felt they got so much out of the camp as a family: “Amaya really got a sense of herself being deaf on the camp. We had the instinct that accessing these kinds of activities is the path we need to follow and the camp reinforced it. After coming back from camp, Amaya started feeling, ‘I am deaf and I’m proud of it’. So now when people ask about her hearing aids, she feels confident explaining and telling them she is deaf.
“Amaya was diagnosed through the newborn hearing screening but they don’t really know what has caused her hearing loss. By the time she was three, she had a mid to severe bi-lateral hearing loss and it has deteriorated since then. We want her to have the supports in place for whatever she may need in the future. One of the reasons we moved from country NSW to Melbourne was so we could access more supports for Amaya. We used to drive three hours to access her Ear, Nose and Throat specialist.
It’s been great to attend DCA’s Auslan for Families classes on Sundays and the Auslan Auskick program during winter. They just make it so accessible for her at the South Melbourne District Football Club with the interpreter.
We felt it’s so important to give Amaya every opportunity to have a positive sense of herself as a deaf person. On camp, she realised there are so many different kinds of deaf and hard of hearing people too. She was chatting about who has cochlear implants, who speaks, and who signs… It means so much to hear her say that it felt like home.”
Grade 6 student Darius told us, “I think it’s important for children to come on a camp like this to meet other people who are deaf because they might feel like they’re weird not having perfect hearing. It’s important to realise you’re not weird, it’s just normal. They realised I had lost my hearing only a year and a half ago. It must have happened between Grade 2 and Grade 5. I want to come to camp again. My favourite parts have been the climbing wall, building the bush hut and flying on the giant swing – even though my heart was thumping on the swing when I had to pull the string and go flying.”
Mum, Marie Madigan, who came on camp with daughters Keira and Mia, told us on Facebook: “As one of the 21 other families, thank you DCA for your support, education, advocacy and for the opportunity to spend time with families who are navigating the same journey with our children… the time at camp has been an invaluable experience for us too… keep up the great work!!”
Look out for the family camp video coming soon.
We are pleased to announce we have just received more funding for another family camp and another Deaf Aboriginal Cultural Youth Camp in Victoria in 2018 so look out for more news on these camps and your chance to apply!