Deaf toddler’s big ‘switch-on day’ snatched

A deaf toddler who was supposed to have received the gift of hearing for the first time yesterday could not have his Cochlear Implant switched on because thieves broke into his school and stole programming cables and computers containing the software for the procedure.

The break-in, which has delayed little Inothando Qalinto’s dream, took place at the Carel du Toit centre for deaf children in South Africa, where equipment worth 20000 Rand (South African currency) was stolen over the weekend.

Inothando, 2, underwent successful surgery on May 12 2018 preparing for what was supposed to be his big switch-on day yesterday. But that was not to be.

His distraught mother Noxolo Qalinto, 25, said they had waited a long time for the day.

“I had taken special leave from work to be here. I am very disappointed,” she said.

Cape Town audiologist Jenny Perold had flown to East London, South Africa to connect and switch on the implant.

“Today was the big day for him to be connected and start to hear and learn speech and that process has been interrupted because some horrible people came in and stole all the equipment,” she said.

Perold said the school would have to borrow a computer and improvise the procedure today.

Carel du Toit school principal Paula Kumm said Saturday’s break-in was the second incident in two weeks.

“The main thing they stole in the latest one is programming cables and these are the cables we use for our children with Cochlear Implants.

“The technology is very advanced so we need to work with an audiologist and Jenny Perold has come from Cape Town this week to work with the children and now this has happened.”

Kumm said the cables were useless to thieves because they were specifically designed for a Cochlear Implant.

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