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08-Jul-2016 00:01

Her mum, Amy, 31, was devastated, but quickly ensured her daughter was fitted with hearing aids and later underwent an operation to have a cochlear implant fitted - an electronic device that replaces the function of the ear.As she grew up, Abbi spent hours drawing hearing devices on to her existing dolls, longing for one who looked just like her.Abbi started speaking again after receiving her hearing devices, and now uses a combination of lip reading and Australian sign language, Auslan, to communicate.'Abbi has her own Facebook page as she loves sharing Auslan with others,' Amy told Caters News.'She is a very good lip reader, and since having her cochlear implant fitted aged three, she began talking again.'Abbi fell ill at around seven months old and it was soon after that she stopped talking.'I don't know if the two are linked but I've done my best to ensure Abbi has always received the best support.'Amy contacted Just Like You Dolls, in August this year after a therapist spotted their services online.The mother-of-three said she was delighted to find an affordable custom doll, as other companies were charging up to 0 for a single doll.

'It's a lot easier explaining Abbi's condition by using the dolls as we can take off her cochlear implant and reattach it to show the kids how it works,' Amy explained.

As a little girl, she would sit on her grandfather’s lap while he played the accordion in order to feel the air whoosh in and out of the bellows, and she recalls how the feeling of the music filling up her body made her “giddy with delight.” As an adult, she experimented with different hairstyles that would help intensify the way sound moved around her head.

(These days, she wears her dark waves cropped mid-neck.)By day, the 45-year-old music obsessive travels the Midwest as an advocate for deaf children.

The Obama White House included two deaf women in prominent roles – Leah Katz-Hernandez, the first deaf person to serve as the receptionist of the United States (one of the first people to greet White House visitors), and Claudia Gordon, the public engagement adviser for the disability community in the Office of Public Engagement, who is also the first deaf black female attorney in the US.

Around the same time, Seattle Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman became the first deaf Super Bowl champion during Super Bowl 48; Coleman’s status as the NFL’s first deaf offensive player prompted a major halftime commercial by Duracell batteries (the tie-in being Coleman’s use of battery-powered hearing aids).

'It's a lot easier explaining Abbi's condition by using the dolls as we can take off her cochlear implant and reattach it to show the kids how it works,' Amy explained.

As a little girl, she would sit on her grandfather’s lap while he played the accordion in order to feel the air whoosh in and out of the bellows, and she recalls how the feeling of the music filling up her body made her “giddy with delight.” As an adult, she experimented with different hairstyles that would help intensify the way sound moved around her head.

(These days, she wears her dark waves cropped mid-neck.)By day, the 45-year-old music obsessive travels the Midwest as an advocate for deaf children.

The Obama White House included two deaf women in prominent roles – Leah Katz-Hernandez, the first deaf person to serve as the receptionist of the United States (one of the first people to greet White House visitors), and Claudia Gordon, the public engagement adviser for the disability community in the Office of Public Engagement, who is also the first deaf black female attorney in the US.

Around the same time, Seattle Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman became the first deaf Super Bowl champion during Super Bowl 48; Coleman’s status as the NFL’s first deaf offensive player prompted a major halftime commercial by Duracell batteries (the tie-in being Coleman’s use of battery-powered hearing aids).

Amy, a full time mum of three, said: 'After Abbi's hearing aid and cochlear implant were fitted, I was desperate to buy Abbi a toy that had them too.'When I found an affordable one online, I knew it would be too adorable not to film the moment on camera.