THE coronavirus pandemic has hit everyone with many different problems which no one could have seen coming a year and a half ago.

While most of us dealt with dodgy internet connections and robotic Zoom voices while working from home and socialising with friends and family, for some, the lockdown has created a myriad of issues which have affected their overall development.

Seven-year-old Maia Sharp is a primary two pupil at Hallside Primary School in Cambuslang.

Maia was diagnosed as moderately deaf at a very young age after implications with birth trauma following an emergency section.

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Glasgow Times: Pic: Gordon TerrisPic: Gordon Terris

Emma Sharp, Maia’s mum, said: “She has been deaf since a young age and has been wearing two hearing aids since 12 weeks old.

“It was tough at the beginning, having a baby with hearing aids, but it seems to be that as she gets older, it hits you a bit more just how much it impacts everyday life.”

While Maia has been in a mainstream school with support since the start of her education, the coronavirus pandemic has proved a challenge to keep her supplied with the same level of support.

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Emma said: “Homeschooling has been nearly impossible for us.

“Maia was really struggling with the live classes in things like Zoom. She couldn’t keep up with the rest of the class.

“They have these apps as well to send work home and I think that the slightly robotic speaking voice that comes out of Zoom and these other apps is something that she struggles to hear with her hearing aid.”

Glasgow Times:

Maia has some perception of noise, although her deafness is moderate.

While she doesn’t lip-read at the moment, seeing faces covered while trying to hear people speaking has been stressful on the seven-year-old.

Emma said: “I don’t think we realised just how much Maia relied on seeing people’s mouths when they speak.

“She gets anxious going places where she or other people have to wear a mask. She can’t lip read but there is obviously something extra that she gets from being able to see people speak.

“In terms of development, it’s really important for kids in general to be able to see faces when speaking, to get a perception of what is good and bad by seeing what someone’s face looks like when they say it.

“Maia just has that extra barrier in terms of understanding someone.”

Glasgow Times:

As lockdown progressed, it became more and more evident to Emma and Maia’s dad, Byron, that she had started to fall behind the class.

She said: “I can’t fault the school in terms of trying to help Maia, it was just the situation that we were in. They would do one-on-one classes with her and whatever they could do to help but it only helped to a degree.

“Maia was getting really frustrated. Now that the kids are back at school, we had a parents evening and we can see that she has fallen behind.

“Our priority, now that she is back in the classroom, is helping to get her up to the level she needs to be to move on to Primary Three and make sure that this interruption does not have a knock on effect.”

During the pandemic, the family have worked closely with the National Deaf Children’s Society and even raised nearly £500 as a family for the cause during last weekend’s Kiltwalk.

Emma said: “I have worked with the Society for a few years now and the support that they provide families around the country is great. It has been tough for us but I knew where to look for help.

“For families who don’t know where to look, or have children with more severe deafness, I can imagine that the past year has been a big, big struggle.”

This week marks Deaf Awareness Week, which will run until Sunday May 9. For more information on Deaf Awareness Week, visit the National Deaf Children's Society website