With smiles on their faces as they play together in WA's first dedicated early literacy library, it is hard to imagine Chloe and Makayla Dunn need speech and hearing therapy several times a week.
One-year-old Chloe was born with profound hearing loss in both ears and Makayla, 3, has moderate hearing loss in one ear.
The Canning Vale sisters are two of thousands of WA children set to benefit from a centre for deaf children opened in Wembley yesterday.
They get therapy at the Telethon Speech and Hearing Centre for Children, which has now been expanded to house the new Bendat Parent and Community Centre.
The site is now a one-stop shop for a range of health professionals, with five state-of-the-art audiology booths, the early literacy library, a parenting centre and training and conference facilities.
It is funded by Lotterywest, Telethon Trust, Wesfarmers, Commonwealth government grants and private donors, including philanthropists Jack and Eleanor Bendat.
The girls' mother, Jessica Dunn, who currently ferries her daughters between Royal Perth Hospital, Armadale Hospital and the Wembley centre, said having access to more services in one place would help with their treatment.
Ms Dunn said the therapy would soon be particularly important for Chloe, who would hear for the first time today when her cochlear implants were switched on.
"It gives them the best opportunity that they can have and having it all in one centre makes things so much easier," Ms Dunn said.
"There's a lot more involved in having a child with hearing loss than people would think."
Telethon Speech and Hearing chief executive Paul Higginbotham said its staff helped about 15,000 families each year, but that could rise to 25,000 families within three years.Mr Higginbotham said the centre had previously struggled to meet demand. He said the audiology booths doubled capacity and the early literacy library would help children prepare for school.
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