River McQuitty is seven years old. He loves writing stories and his favourite is about a giant scary dinosaur that likes to eat people!
River goes to Toowong State School. It is a bilingual school. This means they learn two languages, English and Auslan – the language of the Australian deaf community.
‘My school is for kids who are deaf and kids who can hear – and my whole class can sign,’ explains River.
A World with no Sound
In River's world there is no sound. He was born deaf. To talk to other people River uses Auslan. It's made up of finger spelling, where different finger movements mean a letter of the alphabet and also sign language. This is using your hands, fingers, and arms to make words. River can also read other people's lips when they talk.
Classrooms at River's school have red and blue lights that flash. A red light flashing means it's lunchtime.
River's mum and dad are deaf too. His parents taught him Auslan since he was a baby, just like hearing kids learn sounds and words from their parents.
River has a brother called Nyle, a pet fish and a cat called Willy. Some week-ends River’s family goes camping with their friends.
‘We go over big hills in the 4WD and it gets very muddy sometimes, but it's so much fun,’ he says.
River already knows what he wants to be when he grows up.
‘I want to be a police captain!’ he says with a big smile.
What is a cochlear implant?
It is an electronic device fitted inside the ear to help deaf people understand what sounds mean. It's also called a bionic ear.
Thanks to Toowong State School teachers and Patricia Galliford from Deaf Services Qld for their assistance.
Photo and article by Carrol Baker/PA