Making Rita Simons: My Daughter, Deafness and Me

Tuesday 20 March 2012, 10:37

Sophie Leonard Sophie Leonard Producer/Director

When we approached Rita about making Rita Simons: My Daughter, Deafness and Me, she was initially unsure about the amount of exposure it would bring her then five-year-old daughter Maiya.

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Rita visits the deaf school

The impact of seeing so many children like her daughter was very emotional for her and I think it hit home that Maiya is deaf and does have to overcome challenges on a daily basis because she can't hear like other people.

Rita and Theo are united in their approach to parenting Maiya, but they have very different personalities.

Theo is more reticent in making decisions whereas Rita is very decisive, but the balance between the two of them makes them a good partnership.

Rita and Theo have been together since they were teenagers and although having a deaf child inevitably makes parenting more stressful it hasn't put a strain on their marriage and they are very happy.

Rita wanted to find out about cochlear implants so she met eight-year-old Jack who has the same level of hearing loss as Maiya and was having a cochlear implant operation.

One of the most stressful parts for me was filming Jack's activation appointment.

Rita and Jack's parents were incredibly stoical about it but I absolutely hated it when Jack took a while to start hearing through his implant.

You may like to know that two months on Jack's parents Tracy and Mick have told me that he's getting on brilliantly and that he can hear all sorts of sounds that he couldn't hear before.

Sophie Leonard is the producer and director of Rita Simons: My Daughter, Deafness and Me.

Rita Simons: My Daughter, Deafness and Me is next on at 10.40pm on Tuesday, 20 March on BBC One and BBC One HD. It was first broadcast on Tuesday, 20 March at 12.35am on BBC One and BBC One HD with signing in British Sign Language.

For further programme times, please see the episode guide.

If you would like further information about deafness and the issues raised in the programme, please visit the information and support page.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    I want to start by saying what a lovely family Rita has and you can see how both Rita and her husband are both their for one another and Maiya, I observerd from watching the full bag of emotions and the day to day difficulties losing your hearing presents, yet for the most I saw a little girl aware of her difference but still making the most of each day and everything.. Brave somehow does not do justice, remarkable seems a little short of what I want to say.. The program raised awareness of the affects of loss of hearing and the many ways and the different help and support that exists today so that you can lead as normal a life as those of us fortunate to have full hearing.. I wish Rita and family all the best for the future, an uncertain future but one they know has options which will enhance little Maiya and her ability to hear and communicate.. Maiya is a credit to Rita and Husband

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    She very lucky girl to have support from her family, they will have options in front of them and Im sure they will pick the right 1..This is from a Acquired Totally Deaf person who has nothing to hear with at all, I had failed Cochlear Implant, but that was expected..And in future is it possible when show these clips that you can put sub titles up for people like me, who nothing to hear with at all.

    Good Luck and Im sure you will Ok :-) keep smiling everyday..

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    As a person who was profoundly deaf since birth, i have worn hearing aids all my life and have no problems using them nor have i had any detioration since wearing them. However i expect that i should deteriorate with old age but i reckon that in my opinion i would much rather be able to hear if i was already able to start in life to do so, therefore i would take any oportunity to be able to keep my hearing going. I am looking forward to watching the program and do hope that Rita and her family can overcome the obstacles and finally come to a conclusion that gives Maiya what she wants in life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    A really interesting programme on child hearing loss. My son Nathan who is 9yrs old has Alport's Syndrome so as well as hearing loss and currently having two hearing aids he will also need a kidney transplant. There will always be someone worse off than your own situation but also a great deal of hope in an ever changing world. Hearing loss affects many people in different ways and I think this programme has touched on that. Good luck from the Roberts family!

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    I really feel for Rita and her family and I appreciate the awareness from the program. I am hearing with 2 deaf grand parents and I agree with her point that with any chance to be hearing, take it. However there is no need to be ashamed at being deaf. My granddad is 93 and had a great life, a well respected carpenter in London and showed that being deaf does not change anything. I hope she sees this and that there is a large deaf community and support. Love the program. X


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