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Sunday, 26 October 2014 01:00

Jack and Usher

Written by  Nicky Hodgson
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My lovely son Jack has usher type 2. Way back when he was small we were concerned about his hearing. He seemed to fail all the hearing tests but the health visitors didn't action anything. it wasn't until we moved to Germany at we finally got a diagnosis that Jack had a severe hearing loss and needed 2 hearing aids.

Jack coped really well with aids and we were fortunate that he had had enough residual hearing to achieve perfect speech. even now, if you could not see his aids you would not realise he is deaf - the reality though is that his hearing declined around the age of 8/9 and he is actually profoundly deaf.

At one point he was offered cochlear implants, but when we went through all the testing they decided he would not get as much out of them as he does aids, so he remained aided.

When Jack was around 7/8 he started to get crippling migraines, little did we know that this was was the beginning of our journey with Ushers!

When he was 11 we noticed that he was struggling in the dark, we got referred to Ophthalmology and after a lengthy process we got the diagnosis

!Life has certainly been different since that!

Jack is a very bright boy and took his 11+ exam and passed it which meant that he went to Grammar school. His additional needs were quite a challenge for them as they have very few students with SEN. but we got there in the end and he left with good results, and is now studying Law and Sport at college.

Jack's achievements outside of education though are very impressive. He proudly carried the Olympic Torch, has been Sense's Young Deafblind Person of the Year, Young Deaf Sportsperson of the Year, Nationwide Disabled Sports Award Winner, and he is currently on the England TASS scheme (Talented Athlete). He is currently on the Great Britain Visually Impaired Judo Squad and competes all over the world. His senior ranking is no 9 in the world! His sights are firmly set on Rio 2016 and it is well in reach for him. Already in the pipeline for next year are competitions in Brazil, Azerbaijan, Seoul, Austria and France - he's a  busy boy! 

He also competes in mainstream judo competitions and just today he has won a bronze medal at a mainstream event in Belgium. He also achieved a place on the mainstream England Judo Squad.

Jack has had a few part time jobs and currently works at McDonald's. He likes going out with his friends, and does everything that a normal 18 year old does. Thats not to say it is always easy, but he just adapts things as he goes along. He has a lovely girlfriend and plans to take a year or two out when he leaves college in June to train full time at the Judo Centre of Excellence. Long term plans at the moment are University to possibly be a PE Teacher or Physiotherapist!

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