When little Martin Majtán was diagnosed with a severe hearing disorder, his parents refused to give up and tried to secure the best possible conditions for his proper development.
The family got into the Telekom Endowment Fund programme at the Pontis Foundation called Mobile Teacher, where they received necessary information and met the specialists, thanks to whom Martin is now able to communicate, talk and go to the nursery.
"We have found that almost every child with a hearing disorder has a chance to have a full-fledged life and that our son is no exception. Early care, the right settings of hearing aids, and the help by professionals make successful children with hearing impairment a standard," says Ms. Ľubica Majtánová.
The family did not want to keep that finding to themselves and founded the civic association NepocujuceDieta.sk, a platform putting in touch families with children with hearing impairment. They gathered all the information that a parent needs after having learnt about the diagnosis on the web page. The sooner parents get the necessary information, the greater the likelihood that the child will be successful in life and the handicap will have minimal consequences.
"The web page was just a beginning. A community was born around this civic association, and we gradually found that this issue concerns all of us. We felt a great responsibility to pass on what we had learnt in the beginning. Not all parents were so lucky, and for lack of information their children did not get help in time, "says Martin's father, František Majtán. Hence, on the web page, among other things, there is also a counseling for parents available, through which more experienced parents help families who find themselves in a new situation.
According to their experience, such families struggle most with feelings of loneliness: "Their parents and old parents who have advised them so far, people to whom they have always been able to turn for advice with confidence, suddenly remain helpless. Unless they find experts, community, and information, a sense of loneliness and impenetrability can be unbearable, " says Ľubka, adding:" It is all reinforced by the fact that the fate of a child depends on the daily work of the parent and the child. Without the experts, the community and information, however, the parent does not know how to help the child. "
That is also why they are now preparing an event with the title I Cannot Believe What I Hear which highlights the importance of timely help, the interconnection of experts and the community with the families with children with hearing impairment. At the event, a book We Have a Child with Hearing Impairment, which is also a great source of information, will be launched. It will take place on the 30th of September in the afternoon Bory shopping mall in Bratislava. It is an opportunity for both hearing and unhearing children, and their families to meet, get information, learn a bit of a sign language, and get examined by experts for free.
In addition to helping parents, the association also addresses systemic changes. If necessary, they advocate for the rights of children and families with hearing impairment. In collaboration with experts, they have managed to get the state contribution towards listening devices increased from the original 190 euros to 500 euros per unit. Thanks to this, Slovak children can benefit from truly modern and sophisticated hearing aids. The association also intervened at the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic when cochlear implants had been stopped in the whole country for several months. Representatives of the association were part of a ministry working group which aimed to find a solution to this problem. The implants have been successfully restored.
Thanks to their efforts, the first audiocentre in the hospital in Kramáre was established in Slovakia. "We had a phase when we "exported "children for examinations to Vienna and Brno to find out what exactly the children can hear with the hearing devices and how the settings can be changed for the better. At that time, in Slovakia, doctors were not used to proceeding this way. Hence, the idea to encourage the emergence of a specialised audiocentre in our country came to life, "explains Lubka. They, therefore, organised a public collection that collected 20,000 euros towards the equipment of the clinic.
"When these children grow up, they can also become parents of a child with a hearing disorder. We want to do everything we can to prevent our children from what we have been through. We want them to find Slovakia as a better place for children with hearing impairment. Nothing should be in their way of fulfilling their dream of a full-fledged life in the society, " they explain.
If you the good cause of the association NepocujuceDieta.sk, you can support it via the DobraKrajina.sk portal.
The Slovak Spectator has teamed up with Dobrá Krajina (Great Country) to create a space for stories of people and communities who need our help. Each article in the series For a great country will give you the opportunity to support a specific project and actively contribute to building a great country.
25. Sep 2018 at 16:10 | Zuzana Schaleková, Pontis Foundation