“Scamp has changed my whole view of life”
Posted by Matt Sadler
15-year-old Amelia was only four and a half when, during her recovery from having her tonsils removed, her doctor noticed she was lipreading. No-one knows exactly why Amelia lost her hearing.
When Amelia was fitted with her first hearing aids, she managed well at first, but it wasn’t long before she faced the additional challenge of starting school and trying to make friends.
It’s a big step for any child but is even harder when you’re deaf and almost everyone else is hearing. Things were very difficult for Amelia, until Scamp the hearing dog came bounding into her life. Now, Amelia and her family are having to self-isolate due to Coronavirus, and Amelia’s mum says Scamp has been the most amazing nurse and has not left her side. Another example of how amazing he has been for Amelia.
Amelia explains in her own words:
“It’s hard growing up as a hearing-impaired child. It’s lonely. I wanted to be liked and to have friends that were hearing but it never happened.
“Lunchtimes and playtimes were the worst as my hearing aids just amplified all the noise, and when people keep looking away you can’t lipread them. Not hearing what they were saying in the classroom or playground made it hard to join in. I was never invited to children’s birthday parties or picked for teams in PE.
“I would worry about not having friends. I was bullied by three girls in my class. They’d push in front of me and say things about me, but they didn’t realise I can lip read.
“When I told my teachers, they’d say: ‘Oh don’t be silly, I expect you misunderstood’. I never felt supported by teachers. I grew to hate the words ‘you misunderstood’ – they made me feel like it was always my fault.
“Life before Scamp was lonely and isolated. I suffered from severe anxiety. I never wanted to go out. I was scared because I couldn’t hear what was behind me. I had bad nightmares every night. I worried about not hearing if there was an emergency like a fire alarm or if someone broke into my home. Sometimes I was too scared to sleep.
“Scamp made a difference from the first time he walked into my life. He made me smile, he made me so happy, I felt safe.
“Since having Scamp, my confidence has grown, I’ve been discharged from National Deaf CAMHS and from the Pain Clinic. I exercise more, I take part in PE and I have more friends – all because Scamp has given me the confidence to talk to people.
“My secondary school has noticed a big improvement in me since having Scamp. My grades have improved, my health has improved, and I was recently presented with a Jack Petchey Award for achievement. I’ve also received postcards from school to home saying I’ve made great progress across all subjects.
“Before I had Scamp, I had given up. I felt lonely, scared, isolated and depressed. I was withdrawn, had no confidence, no friends and no social life. I felt unable to do anything. I thought that no one wanted to talk to me.
“Then Scamp came along and gave me the hope, the confidence, to meet people and talk to them. I’ve re-joined Guides. I’ve given talks about Hearing Dogs with Scamp at my old infant and primary school.
“I’ve completed a fundraising walk for Hearing Dogs and held a collection at a local garden centre. I asked my school to support Hearing Dogs and we raised just over £900.
“I’ve accomplished my bronze and silver training awards with Scamp, and we’re halfway through our gold award. I recently made a speech to my year 10 group – the biggest challenge for me so far.
“Scamp has completely changed my life for the better, he has given me the confidence to be able to do whatever I choose to do.
“Scamp has changed my whole view of life and how I feel about being deaf; he helps me believe anything is achievable.
“I’m planning to go to college after school. I’d like to work in medicine, maybe at King's College Hospital on the maternity or paediatric wards. Although I’d also love to work for Hearing Dogs, helping people like they’ve helped me. Whatever I do, knowing that Scamp is by my side I feel I can accomplish anything.”
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