When Kaden Artemenko was born on Christmas Eve 2006, at 25 weeks gestation and weighing just over a pound, his chances of survival were slim.
“We were told on three different occasions he would likely not make it,” says Stevie Artemenko, Kaden’s mother. “If he did, he may have permanent challenges, including being deaf or blind.
Kaden spent the next several months fighting for his life in neonatal intensive care. At seven and one-half months, he finally went home to parents Ross and Stevie and older siblings Taylor and Nikki.
Kaden was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and his development was closely monitored. He was screened for hearing loss several times and passed all tests. At the age of two and one-half, an audiologist tested for hearing loss at a higher frequency.
Kaden was diagnosed with sensorineural bilateral hearing loss and would need to wear hearing aids.
“When we found out that Kaden had hearing loss, we were not devastated.” says Stevie. “He had already had such a critical start to life that we were simply grateful that he was with us regardless of any challenges he might end up having. However, we certainly needed guidance and support through this process.”
The Artemenko family was referred to BC Family Hearing Resource Society (BCFHRS) which offers a wide range of family-centered programs and services. BCFHRS is the largest non-profit in the province that provides services to children under the age of five with hearing loss or deafness and related communication disorders.
“From our initial intake session to accompanying us when Kaden was fitted for his first hearing aids, BC Family Hearing was there for us,” says Stevie.
Within a few months of receiving services, Kaden’s speech became clearer and his vocabulary expanded. The family received one-on-one intervention services as well as in-service sessions to Kaden’s preschool to educate parents about hearing loss. The Preschoolers Esteem and Emotional Readiness (PEER) program for children transitioning to Kindergarten taught Ross and Stevie how to be the best advocate for their son in the school system.
Today, Kaden is a happy, fun-loving six and one-half-year-old. He has transitioned to Kindergarten and continues to make great strides in his communication skills.
Stevie is very positive about Kaden’s future. “We feel empowered and prepared thanks to the amazing support and guidance from BC Family Hearing.”
The Artemenko family will be among the participants of the Bright Futures Walkathon held at Campbell Valley Regional Park in South Langley on Sunday, May 26.
Hosted by the Langley Elks and emceed by Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese, the Walkathon is a family event that includes a 1.5 kilometer walk or 3 km walk/run to raise money for BCFHRS programs.
To learn more or register for the event, go to www.bcfamilyhearing.com