Maddison applied for a DCA Youth Grant to do a week of work experience at the Cochlear Implant Clinic and Cochlear Care Centre in East Melbourne, observing speech pathology and audiology sessions as well as pre- and post- cochlear implant surgery patients! She shared with us her experiences each day, and intends to pursue a career in audiology to help others just like her in the future.
Youth Grant applications for 2018 will reopen early in the year. DCA Youth Grants support young people aged 14-23 in achieving a special goal or completing a project that will benefit themselves or their community. To learn more about DCA Youth Grants and to read stories from other grant recipients, visit our Youth Grants page.
My name is Maddison. I was born with a profound hearing loss in one ear and total hearing loss in the other. When I was 15 months old I received my first Cochlear Implant and my second as part of the research program into bilateral hearing when I was 3. I am now 15 years old in year 9. My inspiration to do work experience at the Cochlear Implant Clinic is because I find the ear fascinating, and the audiologists and speech pathologist that have worked with me through the years to get me where I am today. I want to be able to do what these people did for me and I want to be able to make a difference for others with hearing difficulties, just like me. I do karate for a sport, I go to competitions and compete in the all persons section. In my spare time I do my homework and I also care for baby animals that have no where to go and then I ﬁnd them a home when they are ready and ﬁt.
Day 1 – Monday
On Monday I started my first day at the Cochlear Implant Clinic (CIC), I spent the first part of the morning talking to my assessor and filling in some details and signing off some paper work agreeing to the hospitals rules. After that I had a little tour around the place and got to know the staff that I would be working with for the next few days. I went into my first mapping session with a patient, I found it a bit strange at the start because I am used to being the patient! I had 2 more mapping sessions through the day. I also learnt a few things on that first day, a few of them were that I was able to see that the audiologists have to adapt to different situations and different patients and to be able to keep calm and have good communication skills. Being able to come up with a solution to a problem quickly as well as making sure the client is not stressed out, always talking to them and explaining to them what you are doing. Also on a Monday everyone (all professions) come together and talk about the patients and decide together what they think is best for the patient.
Day 2 – Tuesday
On Tuesday I came to work and I started off by doing some photo copying and made some folders. The folders are for the people who are deciding to get Cochlear Implant. Then I went into a mapping session and then straight after that one there was another one. The second one we had to have a speech pathologist come in because the child was only a one year old. After lunch I was able to sit in with a surgeon and watch how he prepares his clients ready for surgery. Today I gained some more understanding on the things I learnt yesterday and I was able to see what the head looks like before an implant and after an implant has been implanted. During the day’s appointments I met with a young 1 year old girl with her mother and grandmother, they found comfort in knowing about my experiences and my journey and seeing how I am capable at doing things a “normal person” can do.
Day 3 – Wednesday
On Wednesday I did a few jobs around the clinic and helped out some of the staff, Wednesday was a quiet day. I did go into a speech pathology and a audiology session and that was followed by an speech pathology session. A few things I learnt that day were that in a speech pathology session you have to rely on the child’s facial and body language because the child can not communicate yet. When you are teaching a child to speak you have to relate the sound with the object, e.g. ‘toot toot’ with a train, and ‘quack quack’ with a duck.
Day 4 – Thursday
On Thursday I walked down 2 blocks to the Cochlear Care House. At the Cochlear Care House I did some troubleshooting, troubleshooting is where we get a client with a problem with their hearing aid of implant and we assist them with it or get new parts for them. I also went into some mapping sessions, the patients at the Cochlear Care House are the ones who go there just for their regular check up. So it’s a little bit more easy going and it’s a quicker process than what it is up at the Implant Clinic.