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Denisa's story

Denisa smiling and pointing her fingers

Denisa is a bright little ten-year-old girl.

During the first two months of her pregnancy, her mother contracted rubella. The rubella virus can disrupt a baby’s development, causing a series of birth impairments that are known as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS).

Denisa developed CRS, was born prematurely and deaf, with congenital cataracts and severe heart problems. Doctors were pessimistic about her chances of survival.

“The day that should have been the most beautiful day in my life was actually the beginning of a long period of hardships, which is continuing even today and unfortunately won't end. Everything started when I got pregnant and I got some disease I didn’t pay too much attention at that time, as I wasn’t aware of its consequences. It was rubella.” says Denisa’s mother.

She went from hospital to hospital, trying to find the best options for her daughter.

Denisa in the classroom with one of her teachers

“After a very long time of trying to find a solution to improve my daughter’s health, when I was already exhausted and I had lost all my hopes, I got a note in the mail from the Oradea Early Intervention Support Centre, telling me about the programme in partnership with Sense International (Romania) foundation. We signed up with this rehabilitation programme, and it helps me get the child to the level where she should be, at her age.”

So Denisa began early intervention in 2007, when she was two and a half years old. She was among the very first children benefitting from this type of service in Oradea, a city in the North West of Romania.

Sense International (Romania) opened this centre in 2007, in partnership with the local school, maternity and state authorities. A team of early intervention specialists, audiologists, ophthalmologists, and psychologists were trained in the field of deafblindness, ready to begin working with these children.

After two years of intensive early intervention, she started showing obvious progress. She opened up and began communicating and exploring the environment. She benefited from multi-sensory stimulation, visual functional training, physiotherapy and speech therapy.

Denisa in a classroomIn 2009, she moved on from the early intervention programme and started kindergarten. She was included in a class of only four children, the result of intensive lobbying and advocacy efforts by Sense International (Romania) to change the legislation to allow classes to be created in special schools for a maximum of four children with deafblindness.

Denisa is now in second grade and is an excellent pupil, always inquisitive and willing to explore and learn new things.

Denisa is one of the many children that received the right start in life, due to Sense International (Romania)'s work of supporting the development of appropriate services in Romania for children with deafblindness. 

First published: Friday 7 June 2013
Last updated: Wednesday 20 September 2017