With their matching wide smiles and can-do attitudes, it’s hard to imagine twins Emily and Reese Prior spending the first 11 weeks of their lives in an intensive care unit.
Born at 29 weeks, the twins weighed less than 1.2 kilograms at birth. A brain scan when she was four weeks old revealed that the youngest twin, Emily had cerebral palsy. Four years later, Reese was diagnosed with the same condition after her mum noticed she was unusually clumsy as a toddler.
From a very young age, the twins’ mum Jenny also picked up on little things that made her suspect Emily and Reese weren’t hearing properly. As toddlers, both girls constantly suffered from ear infections and middle ear problems. We took them to many specialists and initially, it was thought that their hearing would improve over time, Jenny says.
It eventually became clear that this was not the case.
Their hearing problems continued. For example, the girls kept saying ‘pardon’ and ‘what did you say?’ They also kept asking for the TV to be turned up, she says.
Emily and Reese were referred to Hearing Australia and test showed both girls had difficulty hearing in both ears. At first, Jenny was a little upset but she also felt relieved that she could now focus on helping the twins hear better and improving their speech and language.
I recently took the girls to Hearing Australia so they could pick out the colours of their hearing aids. Emily chose a funky blue pair of hearing aids, while Reese chose a purple pair. She’s a huge fan of the Fremantle Dockers!" she says.
That wasn't the only reason Jenny loved seeing her kids get fitted.
It was so exciting to see their faces light up when they put on their hearing aids for the first time.
They’re really looking forward to wearing hearing aids at school and not struggling to hear all their friends and teachers.
A world of difference
Despite their setbacks, Jenny is so proud of how the two girls never let anything get in their way.
Reecently, Emily was one of the stars of a Seven Network Telethon charity fundraiser and both girls recently completed a three kilometre ‘trike hike’ to support the Asthma Foundation of WA.
“I’m so proud of how my girls just take everything in their stride, no complaints, no tears or tantrums. They just get up and on with life!”