Wollongong twins step into a whole new world

Astrid Stevenson hasn't stopped talking about how excited she is to start school.

Her mother, Kate, said the five-year-old had been chattering non-stop for the past few weeks, so keen is she to start kindergarten at Wollongong Public School with her twin brother Rylan today.

"Although they are both excited, Astrid is more demonstrative about it, asking me all week for homework, saying that they need to practise for big school."

It's an especially significant milestone for Astrid. As a newborn, she was diagnosed with mild to moderate hearing loss in both ears and was fitted with hearing aids when she was eight weeks old.

She began auditory-verbal therapy at the Wollongong branch of The Shepherd Centre soon after.

"It's almost like we've been holding our breath for five years and now we can exhale and say 'Yes, we did it'," Ms Stevenson said.

"It's just amazing to see Astrid, she's not at any disadvantage.

Five-year-old twins Rylan and Astrid are excited about starting school.

"When she was first diagnosed, you have so many questions, and it's amazing to think that we've come so far in such a relatively short period of time.

"She's so happy and confident and it's interesting having twins and seeing that there really isn't much difference between them.

"If anything, Astrid is a bigger talker," Ms Stevenson said.

Astrid will receive itinerant support at school, and there is an FM system in the classroom that is directly linked to her hearing aid.

Though school resumed for 2014 on Wednesday, kindergarten students usually start a few days later than the rest of the school.

Five-year-old Keely Boyle, another Shepherd Centre graduate, will also begin school next week, at St Joseph's Catholic Primary School at Bulli.

The girls are two of last year's 22 Shepherd Centre graduates beginning their education at mainstream schools this year. More than 90 per cent of the centre's students go to school with speech and language skills on par with their hearing classmates.

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