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Kim Chadda working with children at the AURED centre in Hyderabad

Parent as therapist

Umesh Anand, Harsha Sai and Photographer P. Anil Kumar 

It was a beautiful baby that Kim Chadda gave birth to. She weighed 3.5 kg and the hospital said she was perfect. The way she looked, everyone agreed. Chadda was especially relieved. Doctors had cautioned her about a one percent chance that the baby would be deformed because of antibiotics she had taken when she didn’t realise she was pregnant. They had in fact suggested an abortion so as to be on the safe side. But Chadda had decided to go ahead with the pregnancy and now, after the successful childbirth, she was over the moon with joy.

As a year went by Chadda felt concerned that her baby wasn’t walking or repeating words. The paediatrician assured her that all was well. But further checking revealed that the baby couldn’t hear  — and because she couldn’t hear she couldn’t find the early balance needed to walk.

It was 1994 and in Hyderabad at that time there was the equipment but not the expertise to test a baby’s hearing. To know how deaf her daughter was Chadda rushed off to Mumbai, where the expertise existed. It turned out that the baby was profoundly deaf.

Soaking in the disappointing news, she returned to Hyderabad and found help from the John Tracy Clinic in the United States which worked with parents. In this way she helped her daughter for four years. She then found EAR in Mumbai but it refused to take her daughter because she was already four. In 1999 Chadda found AURED or Aural Education for the Deaf, which had been started in 1986 by Aziza Tyabji Hydari.

AURED provides Auditory Verbal Therapy, which literally means listen and speak. Children like Chadda’s daughter who are born deaf need their hearing supported either ...

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