Gael's Gift of Hearing

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Our Goal

Sponsorship for Gael’s Gift of Hearing is a shared sponsorship between cumulative donors, giving a total of $400 per month.

 

You Will Receive

All sponsors will receive a child profile of Gael upon first donation, 6 month progress updates and private FB group access.

 

About Gael

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Meet Gael (guy el). Gael was born profoundly deaf six years ago. He currently lives in a small orphanage in Bucerias, Mexico called Manos de Amor (Hands of Love), because his young mother works everyday and does not have the resources to care for him. On weekends, Gael lives with his mother Mariela, grandmother Maria and baby brother Derik. Up until a year ago Gael’s grandmother looked after him while Mariela worked, but as Gael grew older, he became too difficult to manage alone and she brought him to the orphanage looking for help.  

Fitting into life in an orphanage is challenging for any child, but it was particularly difficult for Gael as he had no formal channels of communication, and no language to share with his new friends and the staff at the home. He went from receiving the individual attention of his mother and grandmother to sharing that attention with 20+ other children age 3 to 12. Although he had received a small amount of education at a special needs school, he had never learned sign language nor had anyone around him who could communicate with him by sign. He came to Manos de Amor with no language, no plan for his future and little hope. His primary care giver Mama Laura, and many other volunteers and staff members at Manos de Amor took Gael under their wings and into their hearts to provide a calming, loving presence. 

Gael is a typical 6-year-old boy.  He loves pretending with toys, riding tricycles, and playing with the orphanage dog Zeus.  He has a very active mind and body and cannot sit still for long. He is a bright boy that greets the day with passion, has a big smile when he greets you, and has a strong desire to connect. He can be stubborn and combative, and in crowds will run away hoping to be chased, but he is also affectionate and will cling tightly for a hug. Being deaf brings many added challenges in keeping Gael safe. 

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Currently Gael is in kindergarten, as well as attending the special needs school in Bucerias twice a week. At school, without hearing, he is out of place and progress is slow. But Gael is also smart, and he is eager to communicate. He squeaks and squeals to get your attention and uses his hands to let you know what he wants. He will get a pensive look and attempt to mouth words which come out as mumbled sound, and sometimes he will try and tell you a secret by whispering in your ear. Often you will get an ear-piercing squeal when he is excited, or impatient to get attention. 

In the fall of 2017, a group of volunteers from Manos de Amor decided that something more had to be done. Gael had never seen a specialist, so we took him and his mother to 3 different hearing specialists in Puerto Vallarta (Dra. Angela, Dra. Christine, and Dra. Veronika) to finally get a clear diagnosis. We now know that Gael is profoundly deaf, 100% in one ear and 95% in the other. Hearing aids will provide no benefit. His only options are to go to a school for the deaf, get private tutoring for his deafness, or get a cochlear implant – for which we now know he is a perfect candidate. With this implant, GAEL WILL HEAR! We received a referral to a 4th doctor (Dr. Hector Macias Reyes) who has agreed to perform the operation with his team of specialists at a reduced cost. 

Ideally implants should be done as soon as possible for infants and definitely before age 5 so that the brain will develop in the same way as a hearing child’s would. With this implant Gael will also need other tutoring to learn sign language (for when the implant is removed for swimming/sleeping/repairs) and extensive training in speech therapy. His brain will need retraining to hear and understand speech, as well as to turn thought into speech. Certainly, it is not too late for him to experience a dramatic improvement in his ability to communicate. Although time is not on Gael’s side, we are. Those of us who love Gael are grateful for all the progress he has achieved so far at Manos de Amor and full of hope for his future.