Dr Breda Carty wins the innaugural Des Power Memorial Award

20/09/13
Dr Breda Carty with her award.Teachers of the deaf and their students across Australia have benefited immensely from Breda's generosity and experience.

Dr Breda Carty of RIDBC Renwick Centre has won the Des Power Memorial Award for Significant Contribution to the Education and Well Being of Deaf Children.

The winner of the award was announced at the National Association of Australian Teachers of the Deaf in July. 

Dr Carty is a lecturer in the Master of Special Education Program at RIDBC Renwick Centre.

“My courses focus on the social and historical background to Deaf education, and on the theory and practice of the education of Deaf students who are bi-lingual.  These students communicate through Australian Sign Language (Auslan) and English,” said Dr Carty.

As one of only a handful of Deaf university lecturers in Australia, Breda sees part of her role as facilitating understanding between deaf and hearing cultures.

Deafness was unknown in her family until Breda gradually lost her hearing from the age of three. Despite her hearing loss she managed to continue her mainstream education through lip reading and using what little hearing residual hearing she had.

Only a few months after she started university, Breda became profoundly deaf.

"I had the experience of growing up in the hearing world, and now the experience of living in the Deaf world," she Dr Carty. "I think it offers me a great understanding of how one culture looks into the other. I use that experience to make my teaching as good as it can be."

Children who are Deaf have the best chance of succeeding at school and pursuing a rewarding career if they receive specialist assistance from trained teachers from an early age.

“Great teachers are the best investment we can make in the education of deaf students,” said Dr Carty. “I am very proud to be able to contribute to the field.”

Professor Greg Leigh Director of RIDBC Renwick Centre, congratulated Dr Carty saying she was a fitting first recipient of the Des Power Memorial Award

“The award is well-deserved,” said Professor Leigh. “So many teachers and students across Australia have benefited from Breda's generosity and experience. We are very fortunate to have her on staff at RIDBC Renwick Centre. It is particularly appropriate that she is the first recipient of an award named in honour of the late Des Power.” 

Emeritus Professor Des Power AM was one of Australia's leading educators of people who are deaf or have hearing loss across the age range. As Director of the Centre for Deafness Studies and Research at Griffith University in Brisbane, Professor Power pioneered innovative strategies that allowed many students with hearing loss to effectively access university education for the first time. Like Dr Carty, scores people who are deaf in Australia are alumni of Griffith University.