Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children
Annual Report 2016

Continue Footprint Expansion

RIDBC offers a range of vision and hearing services from 18 sites. We also support people living in regional and remote areas of Australia through high-quality video conference technology.

Throughout 2016, we continued to expand our footprint.

Port Macquarie, NSW

In 2016, we relocated our Port Macquarie site to larger premises after receiving funding from NSW Health. This has allowed for further expansion of services for people with vision or hearing loss in the area. A complete fit for purpose site with the addition of an audiometric sound booth and specialist clinical rooms will be completed in 2017.

Toowoomba, QLD

In line with our strategic plan to reach more people and meet nationwide demand for our services, we were delighted to announce a new state of the art RIDBC site in Toowoomba, Queensland in 2016.

With thanks to the generous support of local philanthropist, Clive Berghofer, who pledged $2.8 million to RIDBC towards the development of the new site, we look forward to supporting more people in this important area of Queensland.

The new facilities include an audiometric sound booth, telepractice facilities and purpose built vision and hearing clinical service areas. The site’s official opening is planned for 2017.

Children with vision loss and their
siblings enjoy playing sport and getting
to know each other during RIDBC
Teleschool’s Residential Braille Camp

Caption: Children with vision loss and their siblings enjoy playing sport and getting to know each other during RIDBC Teleschool’s Residential Braille Camp

The RIDBC Clive Berghofer Centre in Toowoomba will officially open in 2017

Caption: The RIDBC Clive Berghofer Centre in Toowoomba will officially open in 2017

Early Education Program (EEP), Victoria

Throughout 2016, RIDBC worked closely with the Early Education Program for children with hearing impairment (EEP), based in Brighton East, Victoria. A member of RIDBC’s organisational leadership team was seconded to EEP to assist with the management of the centre and to explore ways to expand upon its existing program of high-quality services. In time, RIDBC will acquire EEP, ensuring the future sustainability of this important Victorian service.

Services for Clients from Indigenous or Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Communities

In 2016, the RIDBC Indigenous Outreach Program provided hearing screening for 657 children, 217 (33%) of whom were referred for further medical treatment. The program focused on communities in Dubbo, Walgett, Lightning Ridge/Goodooga and Nambucca Heads/ Bowraville.

The number of children from CALD backgrounds receiving services from RIDBC continued to grow in 2016, comprising over 24% of all children enrolled in RIDBC services. Within the SCIC Cochlear Implant Program, 220 clients were known to be from CALD backgrounds

Kirsten’s Journey to Better Hearing

Kirsten from Canberra enjoys a new world of sound with her cochlear implant

Kirsten is one of many adults being supported
by SCIC Cochlear Implant Program, an
RIDBC service

Caption: Kirsten is one of many adults being supported by SCIC Cochlear Implant Program, an RIDBC service

In September 2016, RIDBC officially launched its new purpose-built centre in Canberra, located in the Equinox Business Park complex in Deakin. The Centre provides access to the full range of RIDBC services, including the SCIC Cochlear Implant Program. During the launch event, we heard from Kirsten, a local Canberra cochlear implant recipient.

Kirsten first made contact with SCIC Cochlear Implant Program in January 2015. Kirsten had normal hearing until her late 30s and then started to lose her hearing slowly. She received a cochlear implant in her left ear in May 2016. Since switch-on, Kirsten has been highly motivated to make her cochlear implant work.

Kirsten has exceeded all expectations, achieving 100% sentence and 80% word scores at her three month review. Before her cochlear implant she could only achieve 24% of sentences and 4% of words. The Centre is co-located with Canberra ENT (Dr Peter Chapman and Dr Tim Makeham), alongside RIDBC’s therapy, education and cochlear implant services for children and adults with vision or hearing loss.