Ainsley’s Story as Told by Her Mom

We knew at the age of 3 that Ainsley had some hearing loss from a hole in her eardrum from ear tubes. The audiologist Ainsley had at the time told us it wouldn’t affect her and there wasn’t much we could do other than just wait and see if the hole healed.Ainsely Smith3

Ainsley had been in speech therapy since the age of 14 months old because she didn’t talk. She continues weekly speech therapy, has been to occupational therapy, two different audiologists, allergy doctors, 2 ENT’s, her pediatrician, and been assessed at school atlas three times annually. No one could tell us exactly why Ainsley was slow to speak, had trouble following directions, seemed to ignore directions, and was struggling to keep up in school. Her speech therapist had discussed Auditory Processing Disorder as a possible cause of some of Ainsley’s struggles. Unfortunately, there is not a doctor in our area that can test for it and most doctors won’t test until the age of 8.

It wasn’t until one of the assessments through her school that came back with results that were obviously not accurate did I start searching desperately for help. In the hopes of finding more information about Auditory Processing and desperate for help with the IEP system in our school district, I called every place I thought might be able to help. Thankfully, one of those places was Beginnings SC.

From the first phone call, I knew I had found not only a wealth of information and guidance but a sympathetic ear. I finally found someone who listened to my whole story of what Ainsley had been through (it was a long call!) and help for my amazing girl. Mary and Cara spent so much time with me on the phone the first day, met with me the same week and gave me step by step directions of what I needed to do next, helped us get an appointment that eventually diagnosed Ainsley with unilateral hearing loss. For the first time in 6 years we had answers about what Ainsley was dealing with and how to help her thrive. They have not only educated her family but also her teachers about students with hearing loss.

After meeting with Mary and Cara I felt very confidant is what questions to ask Ainsley’s doctors and teachers. They gave “key” words to use to explain Ainsley’s hearing loss and also told me how to explain how her hearing loss has affected her.

So much has changed for Ainsley, myself, her Dad, our family and friends. There isn’t anybody who knows us that hasn’t learned from our experience. Just my confidence in being an advocate for her has grown so much. I finally feel like I’m not “grasping at straws” to guess what is wrong but am empowered to speak confidently for my daughter. I don’t feel alone in this search to help Ainsley be successful anymore. I don’t have to take information from professionals that I know is incorrect.

From the second Ainsley got her hearing aid, her speech was clearer.  She can focus on tasks longer now, she is reading and writing better (because she can hear her own voice now), she orders her own food at restaurants, doesn’t hesitate to speak up for herself, and is much more confidant communicating with kids her own age.

My path to finding Beginnings SC was full of misinformation and wrong diagnosis,’ and by the time I found them I was lost. They have given me so much information and most of all been so supportive. There are no words to thank them. No amount could repay the gratitude I felt watching her face light up after she had her hearing aid.