The Sooner the Better - Rolan’s Story
- By Selina Mlambo, Head of Programs and Training Coordinator at NZEVE Deaf Children’s Centre
Deaf children need early intervention for them to gain communication and social skills for their learning and development. ‘The sooner the better’ has been NZEVE’s motto for early intervention, but it is not always easy to convince parents of young children to bring their child in for early intervention before Primary school years. Often parents, after hearing the diagnosis of their child, do not immediately accept this. Many go in search of alternative interventions such as traditional healers, returning 2-3 years later when the other options have failed or when the child is school going age the parents realise they cannot get their child enrolled without intervention and support. Denial and lack of understanding about disability is one of the reasons for late response and intervention. However, the story was different for the little boy, Rolan Matende.
Rolan was tested and found to be deaf when he was only a year old. His parents received counselling about deafness and its effects on language development. After receiving counselling, his parents realised that they and their child Rolan, needed communication skills. Rolan was enrolled at Nzeve when he was only 13 months old. His mother has always been very committed and rarely missed a lesson with her child
At 3 years, the results of early intervention began to show up, as Rolan had acquired some receptive language through play activities. His mother learnt various ways of playing with him in order to stimulate language development. Although it was later discovered that Rolan had additional challenges other than deafness, his mother has always been good at participating in her child’s learning activities.
Rolan’s mother became an inspiration to another mother who began to bring her child to join the play group. This helped in both children’s social and emotional development.
Through this participation, Rolan and his mother have developed a stronger relationship; and have become exemplary to other parents.