MAB-Mackay Centre shows off new space
Published Saturday, October 13, 2012 2:49PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, October 13, 2012 7:18PM EDT
When two-year-old Liam was born, his mother didn't know he had a hearing impairment until she took him to the doctor one day.
“We thought he had an ear infection and they couldn't see his ear canal,” said Catherine Drew, the boy’s mother.
Liam was born with a closed ear canal, and so only hears out of one ear.
His problem isn’t unique - many thousands of people in Montreal are affected by vision and hearing impairments that range from mild to severe.
Thankfully, people like Liam who have visual or hearing impairments can benefit from the variety of services and therapies available from the combined effort of the Montreal Association for the Blind and the Mackay Rehabilitation Centre.
Six years ago, the centres merged to form the MAB-MACKAY Rehabilitation Centre.
Last week, they showed off a newly renovated space that opened up after a long-term care facility was shut down.
The new building aims to serve the community for years to come.
“We had empty space here and at 3500 Decarie, where services for the deaf and hard of hearing were, it was too tight,” said executive director Christine Boyle. “It wasn't adapted for the clients.”
It was a prime opportunity for the Mackay Centre to relocate to the MAB site at 7000 Sherbrooke St West in Notre-Dame-de-grace.
The move was made possible with the financial support of the Quebec government and the centre's foundation.
Now, clients of all ages have designated areas. The new facility is great for Liam, said Drew.
“There are social services here, we've had audiology, speech language pathology - and he enjoys it,” she said.
Edward Plover was diagnosed with complete hearing loss after he suddenly developed a medical condition in his mid-40s -
“That evening, I went home and sat at the kitchen table and I actually cried with my children and my wife because I just could not see what I was going to be able to do,” he said.
A rehab program associated with the Mackay Centre, though, opened up a new world to Plover, who has improved hearing thanks to a cochlear implant.
“I function, as far as I'm concerned, almost normally,” he said. ”All the facilities they have at Mackay are Grade A, number one.”
The elderly are more prone to developing both visual and hearing impairments, and now all the services they need are under one roof.
“For the vulnerable frail, elderly, only having to displace once, that really helps,” said Boyle.
Deaf man Edward Tager, who uses sign language to communicate, said the new facility bring hope for the future.
“Technology is advancing,” he said. “Various means of communication are happening and I can see there are advances for the children.”