THREE-year-old Ciara Burns from Neston is described as a “little fighter” by her mum Lucy.
After a number of operations as a new born, Lucy felt her daughter had her fair share of problems, but at the age of 14 months she was diagnosed with glue ear.
Ciara, who has Down’s Syndrome, was born with a hole in her heart and cataracts, and had to undergo a number of very serious operations just months after she was born.
Although it appears a minor problem compared to those Ciara had as a new born, glue ear causes hearing loss which in turn causes language development and learning problems.
Glue ear is where sticky glue-like fluid builds up in the ears and children with Down’s Syndrome are more at risk.
Lucy said: “Ciara did have a number of head colds as a baby and also experienced a couple of ear infections prior to being diagnosed with glue ear.
“When Ciara had hearing tests which showed there was some hearing loss, I was surprised. Ciara loved to sing and music and making noises with her toys, so I knew she could hear.”
It was sometime later when Lucy noticed Ciara’s hearing problems herself.
“I noticed her speech was not developing quite as it should. She couldn’t pick up the differences between similar sounds. I didn’t know whether this was because of her learning difficulties or because of something else.
“My experience has taught me that you can never have enough information. I was on the look-out for ear problems and still missed the initial signs, I am sure with better information that I would have picked it up quicker.”
In September Ciara underwent an operation to have grommets fitted.
Lucy said: “After all she had been through as a baby it was horrible to once again take her to hospital and have the operation. But Ciara is a little fighter.
“It was quick and relatively simple operation but it is always horrible when your child has to go under an anaesthetic.”
Lucy said the change in Ciara was remarkable, and she could see the difference almost straight away.
She said: “She has come along so much and is much happier. Her speech and language development has improved significantly. She loves music and is dancing around and enjoying all the sounds she can now clearly hear.”