Jiya Bavishi was born profoundly deaf. Unable to hear the sounds and speech around her, she was given cochlear implants as a baby. Cochlear implants are given as early in life as possible to help facilitate the development of speech. Unfortunately, the Cochlear implants failed and Jiya's hearing did not improve.
According to the USA Today article "Little Girl Speaks After Breakthrough Surgery", Janet St. James states "In May, the now six-year-old Frisco girl became one of the first in the country to receive an experimental brain surgery in North Carolina. Instead of stimulating the ear, an auditory brain implant, or ABI, stimulates the brainstem."
This is a completely revolutionary approach for the surgical correction of deafness, and with the help of speech therapy it has been much more successful than anyone had hoped. Jiya is now learning how language works. She is learning to recognize and mimic sounds.
It may be years before anyone knows how refined her speech will end up being. Learning to use language skilfully will take time, just like babies listen to many words before they attempt to use words, the goal right now is to continue to expose Jiya to lots of words and sounds and to help her recreate the sounds she hears.
The diligent help of speech therapists combined with the support and patience of her parents will help Jiya reach her full potential. The success of this experimental surgery may lead to new options for patients who had given up on the idea of being able to hear and speak.
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