Everything has started when a mother looking for social activities for her hearing disabled child applied to Viki Özromano who had been the Chair of the Skill Building Committee of 118-T Lions Federation.
Participation in the courses was increasing day by day. The number of parents (members) exceeded 100 in 4 months.
Everyone was looking for a better life for their hearing disabled children. In Istanbul, there were many associations for the hearing disabled people. However, these were more localized or adult-continued associations.
Until today, there was no any institution that helps and guides families with hearing disabled children.
On 12 April 2004, we set up our association in a studio of only 9 m2 with 6 parents thinking that no one should have the same challenges that they have had. Then we immediately started to work.
Since the greatest problem of hearing disabled people is education, we announced the hearing disabled problems by organizing panels. We prepared the “Problems and Solutions reports” and presented these reports to Former Ministry of National Education Hüseyin Çelik. We watched the process with pleasure that many of the articles we recommended were put into effect.
While we have been working in our 9m2 place to organize variety of seminars, conferences and panels, we had worked on raising awareness in families with hearing disabled children, informing disabled rights, sending hearing disabled children to rehabilitations and providing hearing aids for people who cannot afford to buy.
With our slogan “Does he/she hear?”, we followed the implementation of the newborn babies’ hearing tests in all hospitals.
We formed a method “3-E” which means Early diagnosis, Early device, Early education. We have been explaining to families and normal hearing people about how 3-E would be quite effective on hearing disabled children’s speech.
Every child has a hidden talent, whether you are disabled or not. Therefore, we said “why not?” and then we started the piano lessons for our hearing disabled pianist Ceren Karayaka with the piano teacher Linda Kaso of Bakırköy Municipality – Yunus Emre Cultural Center. Ceren Karayaka still continues her piano lessons. Nilay has been educated in ballet community and Eda Tavacı has had high performance in ballet demonstrations with other non-disabled children. They are the best examples of what can be accomplished if opportunities are given.
Since the foundation of our association, we have offered our children various social activities – courses of reading and writing, chess, mini golf, tennis, basketball, swimming, English, music, rhythm.
Firsts in Turkey:
Symposium “Give Ear to the Silence” for 0-6 years old hearing disabled education with the cooperation of IED & TİV supported by the Provincial National Education
Visits in abroad for the examination of education systems of 0-6 years old hearing disabled children (2008 – 2009)
Symposium “Catch at the age of 0, End the Silence” for the education of the educator (2009)
Friends of hearing disabled early childhood education center (2009-2010)
Bakırköy Barış Manço mainstream Kindergarten (2012)
Preparatory courses for sign language interpreters (2009 – 2015)
We provided hearing aids from the loan hearing aid bank to thousands of children with the campaigns “With Your Hearing Aid, Use Your Silence”.
The sign language instructor training program was organized in cooperation with Boğaziçi University (2015)
We printed out the “Guide Booklet” which raises awareness and provided it to everyone for free.
We contributed to increase of formation of the audiology departments in the universities.
We realized the variety of written examinations (special question booklet, visual examination system). (2016)
We provided the purchase of hearing aids to children by organizing the campaign “Waste battery” with the cooperation with Zeytinburnu municipality.
We have become even stronger by establishing the IED Youth Commission (2010).
We touched on the problems of hearing disabled young people.
We presented the solutions for the problems with Call Centers.
We touched on the problems with the intermediate difference in the payments of hearing aids by Social Security Institution (SGK) with our campaign “SGK, how will I hear?”. (2010)
Our campaign “Excise tax-exempt is also hearing-disabled person’s right” still continues.
We organized the campaign for implementation of Turkish subtitle in Turkish movies and also organized “Subtitle sensitivity awards ceremony.” (2011)
In Turkey, we established the first subtitled Turkish films library.
Although our association has been in operation for 12 years, we have come a long way in this time. The number of registered member exceeds 700. The parents are no longer as unconscious as before. We have a phone number that any hearing-disabled people and families from anywhere in Turkey can reach to us: +90 538 224 40 83
Babies that had been diagnosed with hearing loss must have hearing devices or get implanted if necessary without losing time,
Implementation of the 2nd CI if necessary,
Increase of the sign language instructors and interpreters,
Hearing disabled people receive high quality education as much as their peers,
Getting fund for the necessary training materials (FM system) from the State,
Our hearing-disabled young people should be able to graduate from the university,
Our hearing-disabled young people should be able to become a lawyer, judge, doctor like in other countries
We have never lost our hope. What we have done so far guarantees what we are going to do.
Sometimes all we need is a hand to reach us and a heart to understand us…